New York PSC: Vermont Green Line application ‘in compliance’ with Public Service Law

The New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) on March 6 told Vermont Green Line Devco LLC that the company’s application for a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need in relation to the proposed Vermont Green Line transmission project “is filed or otherwise in compliance” with Public Service Law.

The PSC noted that the company was informed last June that a number of deficiencies were found in the documents that the company had submitted in May 2016. Subsequently, the company submitted supplements dated Oct. 21, 2016, Oct. 24, 2016, and Jan. 30 that cured the deficiencies. The documents submitted are in compliance with Public Service Law as of Jan. 30, the PSC added.

As TransmissionHub reported, Vermont Green Line Devco last May applied at the PSC for a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need authorizing it to build and operate the New York State portion of the project, which would allow for the transfer of up to 400 MW of power from New York to Vermont. The portion of the project proposed to be sited in New York includes four primary components:

  • A new high voltage direct current (HVDC) converter station, located in the Town of Beekmantown
  • A new approximately 0.7-mile, underground 230-kV alternating current (AC) transmission line that would connect existing New York Power Authority (NYPA) 230-kV transmission lines to the proposed new HVDC electric converter station
  • A new upland underground ±150 kV direct current (DC) transmission line, about 6.7 miles long, that would extend between the new HVDC converter station in Beekmantown to the shoreline of Lake Champlain at Point Au Roche State Park
  • A new underwater ±150 kV DC electric transmission line, extending from the shoreline of Lake Champlain in Beekmantown toward the shoreline in Ferrisburgh, Vermont, about 4.9 miles of which would be in New York waters

As noted on the project’s website, the approximately $600m Vermont Green Line is proposed by the Green Line Infrastructure Alliance, which is a collaboration of National Grid and Anbaric. Pending approvals, construction is anticipated to begin this year, and the project is anticipated to be in service in 2019/2020, according to the website.

The PSC in its June 2, 2016, document said, for instance, that regarding the provision of New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) Topographic Edition Mapping showing the proposed right of way (ROW) – with control points indicated – covering an area of at least five miles on either side of the proposed facility location is not adequately addressed.

In its Oct. 21, 2016 filing, the company said that according to regulation, the applicant is to submit NYSDOT 1:24,000 scale mapping showing “the proposed [(ROW)] … covering an area of at least five miles on either side of the proposed facility location.”

The company continued, “Figure 2-2 as filed is a NYSDOT 1:24,000 scale map showing the proposed [(ROW)] covering an area of at least five miles on either side of the proposed facility location in New York. The applicant acknowledges that the proposed facility centerline is very close to the New York/Vermont border and that minor deviations from the proposed centerline might result in more portions of the facility being located within New York State portions of the lakebed than the applicant proposes. Still, Figure 2-2 as filed is based on the proposed [(ROW)] and the proposed facility location, as required by the clear language of the regulation.”

The company attached a “Replacement Figure 2-2 that is the requested 1:24,000 scale mapping indicating the entire project underwater facility location wherever such location occurs within five miles of the New York/Vermont border.”

Among other things, the PSC had noted in its June 2016 document that the aerial photography provided does not show any temporary ROW or access routes for construction.

In its Oct. 21, 2016, filing, the company added that “Figure 2-3 as filed includes overlays that clearly identify the proposed [(ROW)] and show the location of those access and maintenance routes proposed by the applicant at the time of filing.”

All other construction access routes would be located exclusively on existing roads on the project route and on the 50-foot-wide temporary easement proposed to include both workspace and construction access, the company said.

In its Jan. 30 filing, the company noted, for instance, that it briefly reviewed the possibility of siting a switchyard on a site (Site A) immediately adjacent to the east side of the proposed site of the project’s converter station. The company said that it also briefly reviewed the possibility of siting the switchyard on a different site (Site B), approximately intermediate between Site A and the site proposed and preferred by the company for the switchyard – i.e., immediately west of an existing NYPA substation (Site C).

The company said that it has performed a high-level analysis and comparison of certain engineering and environmental aspects of siting the switchyard at Sites A, B or C, and that in light of certain data, it does not consider Sites A or B to be reasonable alternative locations for the proposed switchyard. Accordingly, the company said that it does not intend to supplement its application to add either site as an alternative site for the switchyard, and that it continues to propose and prefer Site C.

In its March 6 filing, the PSC said that it seeks further information in view of some of the responses provided by Vermont Green Line Devco, and that the company should file with the PSC secretary and serve its responses on the parties to the proceeding, as well as on the CEOs of the municipalities in which the upland portion of the proposed route and proposed converter station are located.

The PSC noted that the supplement indicated that preliminary design information for the proposed converter station and access road would not be provided until the “final design” is completed, presumably after project certification.

The company should provide the preliminary design information to supplement the application as soon as practicable due to its relation to assessing site suitability rather than final design conformity, the PSC said.

The converter station site involves a level of development and equipment that is more complex than a typical transmission facility and ROW or substation, the PSC said, noting that the station will involve large buildings and permanent lighting, among other things.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3063 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 15 years. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at clinares@endeavorb2b.com.