NYPA completes $120m grid project to import more renewable power

The New York Power Authority (NYPA) and New York State Electric & Gas (NYSEG) said June 14 that they have completed a $120m infrastructure project that will enable more power from renewable sources to flow from upstate to meet energy demand in more-populated downstate regions.

The project, known as the Marcy South Series Compensation Project, is also central to the Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) strategy by the administration of Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D).  

A key goal of REV and New York State is ensuring 50% of all electricity used in the state comes from renewable sources by 2030. Cuomo has been looking to tap additional renewable sources while opposing 20-year license extensions for the two Entergy (NYSE:ETR) Indian Point nuclear units.

The Marcy South project, a joint venture of NYPA and NYSEG, is expected to provide up to 440 MW of additional transmission capacity, enough to power more than 400,000 homes, the organizations said in a news release.

It will help relieve transmission congestion, or bottlenecks, that affect the ability to deliver surplus upstate electricity—from predominantly cleaner renewable sources such as wind and hydropower—to the downstate region, which accounts for the majority of the state’s energy use.

The project involves the installation of three capacitor banks—small facilities each about 30 feet wide, 60 feet long and two stories high, which contain equipment that offers greater control of power movement. Series capacitors raise voltage and keep it at a constant level, which enhances transmission efficiency. Two capacitor banks were installed by NYPA, the other by NYSEG.

They are the first series capacitor banks to be installed in New York State. The project is estimated to increase power flow on parallel 345 kV transmission lines by as much as 440 MW, about the capacity of a medium-sized power plant.

The capacitors will enable operators to have more awareness of transmission conditions so power can be dispatched more effectively to areas where it’s needed most, the New York organizations said.

NYSEG plans to transfer its $61m portion of the Marcy South project—NYPA spent $59m–to New York Transco, a public-private partnership of investor-owned utilities in New York, at a future date.

New York Transco is building a portfolio of interconnected transmission lines and substations. That project will help fulfill the objectives of the Governor’s Energy Highway initiative, which includes modernizing the State’s energy infrastructure in anticipation of possible future electric reliability concerns due to increased demand and the retirement of aging power plants.

All three series capacitors will be located at the NYSEG Fraser substation in Delhi, Delaware County. NYPA’s capacitor banks will support 135 miles of lines that run from the town of Marcy in Oneida County, outside of Utica, to the town of Rockland, Sullivan County. This area has been identified as a bottleneck that impedes power flow to high-demand areas like New York City, Long Island and Westchester County.

 

The project, which began in late 2015, also involved replacing about 22 miles of conductors and upgrading some structures on NYSEG’s portion of the Marcy South transmission line.

Various officials praised the deployment.

“The Marcy-South project is an example of how technology can be used to increase the efficiency of existing transmission assets,” said Mike Howard, president and CEO of the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).

New York Senate Energy Committee Chairman Joseph Griffo said, “The Marcy South Series Compensation Project is consistent with the kind of upgrades to the State’s energy highway that we’ve been waiting for, so this is a welcome project to improve our in-state transmission and power-generation efficiency.”

About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.