NYPA seeks New York regulatory approval of rebuild project

The New York Power Authority (NYPA) on April 5 said that it has filed an application with the New York State Department of Public Service (DPS) for the planned rebuild of the Moses to Adirondack transmission lines in northern New York.

The project is expected to further strengthen the reliability of the New York electric power grid, as well as enable more upstate renewable energy to connect to the power system for distribution throughout the state, NYPA said. The project would help accelerate the state’s progress in meeting New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Clean Energy Standard goal, which calls for 50% of New York’s consumed electricity to come from renewable energy sources by 2030, NYPA said.

NYPA’s proposed Moses-Adirondack Smart Path Reliability Project, which would use existing rights of way (ROWs) to rebuild 86 miles of transmission lines, including 78 miles that were built originally by the federal government in 1942, and acquired by NYPA in 1950. Running north to south through St. Lawrence and Lewis counties in the North Country, the lines connect economical, clean and renewable energy into the statewide power system, including hydropower from NYPA’s St. Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt Power Project, as well as power from newly built renewable energy sources, according to NYPA.

The rebuilt lines would be capable of transmitting up to 345 kV, but would be operated in the near-term at the current operating level of 230 kV, NYPA said, adding that together, the lines are currently rated to carry 900 MW during the winter months. That ability to increase the voltage when the demand requires it is a cost-effective way to add on more renewable power, especially from in-state renewable generation, anywhere along the transmission line, as New York continues to advance its clean energy goals, NYPA said.

As noted in the application, NYPA is petitioning the New York State Public Service Commission for a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need to authorize NYPA to rebuild its existing 230-kV Moses-Adirondack 1 & 2 (MA1&2) transmission lines, which extend about 86 miles from the St. Lawrence Power Project’s Robert Moses Power Dam switchyard in the Town of Massena, St. Lawrence County, N.Y., to the Adirondack substation in the Town of Croghan, Lewis County, N.Y.

In describing the project, NYPA said that the existing MA1&2 lines consist of about eight miles of double-circuit lattice structures and about 78 miles of single-circuit predominantly wood H-frame structures. The project proposes to rebuild the MA1&2 lines as two single-circuit, 345-kV lines on single-circuit steel monopoles, operated initially at 230 kV. NYPA added that the project also includes the construction of a new 345-kV switchyard at the existing Moses switchyard and a new 345-kV switchyard at the Adirondack substation. The project would be built entirely within the existing 250-foot-wide ROW maintained by NYPA with the exception of an approximate one-mile re-route on the State University of New York At Canton (SUNY Canton) campus.

NYPA also said that the MA1&2 lines are co-located for about 53% of their 86-mile length with the adjacent Massena-Marcy 765-kV (MSU-1) transmission line and are co-located for about 24% of their length with 115-kV transmission lines owned by Niagara Mohawk Power d/b/a National Grid.

NYPA noted that it would phase the construction of the project, with Phase One involving rebuilding the existing 78-mile, single-circuit, predominantly wood pole section of the MA1&2 lines with single-circuit, steel monopoles. Phase Two would involve rebuilding the existing eight-mile, double-circuit, steel lattice section with single-circuit, steel monopoles, rebuilding 0.4 miles of single-circuit, steel lattice structures into the Adirondack substation with single-circuit, steel monopoles, and building new 345-kV switchyards at the Moses switchyard and the Adirondack substation.

NYPA added that the project would involve replacing about 1,625 structures with about 860 monopole structures after the rebuild, resulting in about 765 less structures within the ROW.

“The Smart Path Reliability project is still in the design phase, but as per the application NYPA submitted to the PSC, we anticipate the project will cost approximately $483 million for the first phase (replacement of the wooden transmission poles along 76 miles of the lines) and approximately $185 million for the second phase [of] the project (replacement of the old steel transmission poles along 8 miles of the lines),” a NYPA spokesperson told TransmissionHub on April 9. “We anticipate concluding work [on] Phase 1 in 2023.”

NYPA noted in its application that the project’s proposed ROW traverses 12 towns from north to south: the towns of Massena, Louisville, Norfolk, Madrid, Potsdam, Canton, Russell, Hermon, Edwards, and Pitcairn in St. Lawrence County, as well as the towns of Diana and Croghan in Lewis County. NYPA added that the project also crosses the Village of Canton in St. Lawrence County, and that about 1.8 miles of the proposed ROW is located in the Adirondack State Park.

The project begins at the north end of the proposed ROW, where NYPA proposes a new 345-kV switchyard at the existing Moses switchyard in the Town of Massena. From there, NYPA added, the proposed ROW leaves the Moses switchyard and runs south, first crossing the St. Lawrence River, Barnhart Isle, and Wiley-Dondero Canal and later crossing the Massena Power Canal, the Grasse River, and the Sodom State Forest, as well as certain state highways and county and local roads. In that area, the ROW is co-located with National Grid 115 kV transmission lines for about 21 miles and begins its co-location with the MSU-1 line, for a total co-location of about 46 miles.

NYPA also said that after crossing the Grasse River in the Village of Canton, about one mile of new ROW begins where the rebuilt lines would be built at a new location at the perimeter of, and within, the SUNY Canton campus. While the existing MA1&2 lines traverse the center of the college campus, the project’s proposed ROW would route the rebuilt lines to the west to run along the western perimeter of the campus, at a location accepted by SUNY Canton, and then to the south, before reconnecting with the existing ROW south of campus, NYPA said. The easement for the existing ROW within the SUNY Canton campus would be exchanged for a new easement for the proposed ROW within the campus, all on state-owned land, NYPA said.

Following that proposed re-routed section, the proposed ROW continues to the southwest, crossing Bonnet Lake State Forest, Cold Spring Brook State Forest, the western edge of the Adirondack State Park, and Frank E. Jadwin Memorial State Forest, as well as county and local roads before entering into the Adirondack substation, where a new switchyard would be built adjacent to the existing substation, NYPA said.

Among other things, NYPA noted that its evaluation determined that the proposed ROW is the best alternative because it results in the least environmental impact and least impact on nearby residents, while maintaining the reliability of the New York transmission grid and providing needed blackstart capability as part of the New York ISO’s System Restoration Program.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3054 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.