New York State Electric & Gas (NYSEG), in a March 23 notice filed with the New York State Public Service Commission, said that it intends to begin construction of two 115-kV tap lines and a 115/34.5-kV substation in the towns of Stockport and Ghent in Columbia County, N.Y.
The company noted that it has received all permits necessary for such construction.
The commission, in an order issued on Dec. 19, 2017, said that it issues a “negative declaration” under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) with respect to the environmental impacts associated with NYSEG’s proposal to build the two tap lines in Stockport, the new substation in Ghent, and two 34.5-kV feeder lines in Ghent.
As noted in the order, NYSEG in May 2012 filed an application for a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need that would authorize the construction and operation of 11.1 miles of a new 115-kV transmission line in the towns of Ghent, Chatham, and Stockport, a new switching station in Ghent, and the modification of an existing substation in Chatham, all in Columbia County.
During the pendency of that case (Case 12-T-0248), state Department of Public Service staff – designated to represent the public interest – proposed a 34.5-kV proposal (a non-Article VII alternative). In July 2015, the commission added in its order, the parties to Case 12-T-0248, including NYSEG and staff, filed a joint stipulation outlining the details of a reduced-scope variation of staff’s 34.5-kV proposal.
In October 2015, NYSEG requested that the commission hold in abeyance Case 12-T-0248, and in January 2016, the chief administrative law judge (ALJ) issued a ruling, stating that NYSEG’s motion is granted.
The scope of the proposed work for the non-Article VII alternative includes the construction of two 115-kV tap lines in Stockport and Ghent; a new 115/34.5-kV substation in Ghent; and two new or upgraded 34.5-kV feeder lines in Ghent, the commission added. That alternative proposal requires review under SEQRA, Article 8 of the New York Environmental Conservation Law (ECL).
As part of the joint stipulation in Case 12-T-0248, NYSEG agreed to file with the commission a “Part 102 Report” for its proposed construction of the two 115-kV tap lines, as well as to file a petition for a certificate of public convenience and necessity (CPCN) to build and operate the western approximately 1,250 feet of the two 115-kV tap lines, which is the only portion of the non-Article VII alternative 34.5-kV proposal that would be located in Stockport, the commission added.
NYSEG in August 2017 filed a report proposing to build two new 115-kV transmission lines, each about one mile long between the existing National Grid Line 14 115-kV transmission line in Stockport and the Falls Park substation in Ghent. The new 115-kV tap lines would begin at two new structures located at their tap to National Grid Line 14 and would be positioned between Structures 146 and 147 on the existing National Grid right of way (ROW), the commission added.
Both lines (730 and 731) will start at the existing National Grid 115-kV Line 14 in Stockport, and end at the Falls Park substation adjoining the Falls Industrial Park west of the NYS Route 9H in Ghent. There, the commission added, the current will be stepped down to 34.5 kV and connected to NYSEG’s distribution system via two upgraded circuits, totaling about 7.2 miles in length serving the western portion of Ghent.
Except for minor upgrades to an existing farm access lane, all distribution system work associated with the project will be done within existing ROW.
The commission also said that according to NYSEG, the project is needed to enhance safety and reliability of electricity service for about 9,900 NYSEG customers by bringing a new source of electricity into the Chatham area of NYSEG’s Mechanicville Division.
The commission said that having considered the proposed action and upon review of the information contained in NYSEG’s full EAF, the supporting information provided, and its review of the record, the commission determines that there will be no significant environmental impacts and that an environmental impact statement is not required.
The types of construction activities proposed by NYSEG are not expected to cause significant environmental impacts or changes to natural resources beyond the ordinary construction that is typical of the modern environment, the commission said.
The commission further noted that it is satisfied that the mitigation and avoidance measures proposed by NYSEG will result in no undue environmental impact, and will ensure that NYSEG follows those standards and practices through the normal course of supervising its operations.
The State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) confirmed that no archaeological impacts will result from the proposed project, the commission noted.
Among other things, the commission said that NYSEG does not require a new CPCN before building distribution or minor transmission infrastructure, absent any other legal requirement to obtain such. The commission said that it dismisses NYSEG’s request for a CPCN as being unnecessary.
The commission ordered NYSEG to submit notice to the commission secretary 10 days before it intends to begin construction, including a statement that it has received all necessary permits.
NYSEG is a subsidiary of AVANGRID (NYSE:AGR).