Empire State wants to build pathway for 1,000 MW across New York State

Empire State Connector Corp. (ESC) said April 26 that it has filed an application with FERC for authority to negotiate agreements with customers for transmission service on a 260-mile long high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission line that would deliver 1,000 MW of energy and capacity directly into New York City from zero emission generating sources located in upstate New York. 

The project’s cables would be routed primarily underwater in the Erie Canal and Hudson River and underground, where necessary, so that the project would have no visual impact. ESC said it has assumed the full market risk for the $1.5bn construction cost resulting in no negative impact on ratepayers.

The company intends to file its Article VII application with the New York State Department of Public Service by year end and will also conduct a solicitation later this year for parties interested to subscribe for capacity on the line.

Because of the precise controllability of HVDC technology, the energy physically delivered will qualify as "in-city" generation by the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO), the company noted in an April 26 statement.

"Our strategic location and innovative, low impact route will ‘unlock’ upstate renewable and ‎zero emission generators helping New York State achieve its ambitious goal of 50 percent renewable generation by 2030," said John Douglas, Empire State Connector Chief Executive Officer. "The world is taking notice how serious New York is about climate change and economic development."

"The Empire State Connector project is an especially welcome proposal that I will be following closely because it promises to have very low environmental impact and virtually no visual impact, and would facilitate the transmission – from upstate to downstate – of ultra-clean and zero carbon emitting electricity, which is generated right here in New York," said Sen. Joe Griffoin in whose district the line originates.

It is anticipated the project will create more than 500 construction jobs and 1,200 indirect jobs during the three-to-four-year construction period. The target in-service date for the project is 2021.

The project would originate at a proposed converter station located next to the existing Marcy substation near Utica, New York. The HVDC cables will be buried underground until they reach the nearby Erie Canal. The project will then be routed primarily underwater via the existing right-of-way in the Erie Canal until reaching the Hudson River. The cables will then be placed approximately 3–9 feet under the Hudson riverbed using a jet plow tool, which will use high-pressure water to fluidize the river bed directly under the cable and allow the cable to then fall into the liquidized trench. The project will terminate at a converter station located near the Mott Haven substation in the Bronx, New York, or at the Gowanus substation in Brooklyn, New York. The final route and points of interconnection are subject to ongoing review.

Empire State Connector is a private company owned by oneGRID Corp. and Forum Equity Partners.

oneGRID is an independent electricity transmission developer that focuses on innovative routes that will "unlock" renewable generating sources by relieving transmission congestion with minimal environmental impact.

Forum Equity Partners is a privately owned alternative investment management and development firm with a focus on assets in renewable energy, infrastructure and real estate. Forum is headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, with additional offices in Vancouver and San Francisco, and has $1bn of assets under management.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.