The New York State Public Service Commission, in a March 15 order, granted a September 2018 motion filed by Deepwater Wind South Fork, LLC, involving a proposed electric transmission line that would connect the proposed South Fork Wind Farm to the Town of Easthampton in New York.
As noted in the order, Deepwater is seeking a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need for authority to build and operate the line, and if granted, the certificate would authorize Deepwater to build an approximately 3.5-mile, submarine export cable from the New York State Territorial Waters boundary to the South Shore of the Town of East Hampton in Suffolk County, as well as about 4.1 miles of 138-kV terrestrial export cable from the South Shore of the Town of East Hampton to an interconnection facility with an interconnection cable connecting to an existing East Hampton substation.
The project would connect the proposed South Fork Wind Farm, located in federal jurisdictional waters on the Outer Continental Shelf, to the existing mainland electric grid in the Town of Easthampton.
With its application, Deepwater submitted a motion requesting waivers of certain of the commission’s regulations governing the content of an application for a certificate that relate to the filing of certain maps and aerial imagery, the order added. Specifically, Deepwater seeks waivers of:
- 16 NYCRR §§86.3(a)(1), which requires Deepwater to provide New York Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) topographic maps at 1:24,000 scale showing the proposed right of way (ROW), covering an area of at least five miles on either side of the proposed facility location
- 16 NYCRR § 86.3(a)(2), which requires that Deepwater’s application include NYSDOT maps showing, for instance, the relationship of the proposed facility to its overall system with respect to the location, length, and capacity of the proposed facility and any existing facility related to the proposed facility
- 16 NYCRR § 86.3(b)(2), which requires that aerial photographs of “urban areas and urbanizing fringe areas” included with the application be taken “within six months of the date of filing,” which in this case would be no earlier than March 14, 2018
Further discussing 16 NYCRR §§86.3(a)(1), the order said that the specified NYSDOT topographic mapping is not available and that Deepwater provided in its application, for instance, topographic mapping published by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) at a scale of 1:69,500. In response to staff comments, Deepwater also provided USGS topographic base maps at the 1:24,000 scale, as required by the regulation, but only extending to one mile from the proposed facility centerline. According to staff, the order added, the area beyond one mile of the centerline is depicted in enough detail in the application.
The order said that taken together, the maps listed depict the information required by 16 NYCRR §§86.3(a)(1), and the requested waiver is granted.
Of 16 NYCRR § 86.3(a)(2), the order noted, for instance, that Deepwater maintains that the NYSDOT maps of the project area at 1:250,000 scale are not available and important facility components are not easily discernable at that scale. Alternatively, Deepwater submitted USGS topographic maps at a 1:40,000 scale. The order added that Deepwater states that the USGS maps provide the information required by section 86.3(a)(2) at an equivalent level of detail as the NYSDOT maps specified in the regulation.
With a certain revision, there are no objections to Deepwater’s waiver request with respect to section 86.3(a)(2), and the maps provided will show the information required by the regulation, the order said, adding that the requested waiver is granted.
Discussing 16 NYCRR § 86.3(b)(2), the order noted that Deepwater provided United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP) aerial imagery from August 2017, which it states is the most current aerial imagery available.
The order said that Deepwater’s requested waiver is unopposed and its proposal is reasonable. The commission grants the requested waiver, subject to a condition that, if any of the field conditions depicted in the aerial photographs change while the application is pending, Deepwater is to supplement its application to reflect such changed conditions, the order noted.