New York Transco files application for CECPN with New York regulators

As noted in the filing, the project cost estimate generated by SECO – the NYISO’s outside consultant during the underlying selection process – estimates the total project cost at almost $368.7m (2018 dollars)

New York Transco LLC (Transco) on Oct. 18 filed an application with the New York State Public Service Commission to secure a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need (CECPN) necessary to allow Transco to build, operate, and maintain the New York Energy Solution (NYES) project.

As noted in the application, the project would be located in an existing overhead electric transmission corridor and/or on adjacent land already owned by transmission operators in the Town of Schodack in Rensselaer County; the towns of Stuyvesant, Stockport, Ghent, Claverack, Livingston, Gallatin, and Clermont in Columbia County; and the towns of Milan, Clinton, and Pleasant Valley in Dutchess County.
The project includes:

  • The installation of a new 54.5-mile, 345-kV electric transmission line – to be known as the Transco #96 line – that would be co-located with existing 115-kV electric transmission lines – referred to collectively as the “new, 54.5-mile 345/115 kV double-circuit transmission line” – on new monopoles between the new 345-kV Knickerbocker switching station owned by Transco and located in the Town of Schodack, the rebuilt 115-kV Churchtown switching station owned by Transco and located in the Town of Claverack, Columbia County, and the existing 345-kV and 115-kV Pleasant Valley substations owned by Consolidated Edison Company of New York and Central Hudson Gas & Electric, respectively, and located in the Town of Pleasant Valley – together, the “345/115 kV Pleasant Valley Substation,” and individually, the “345 kV Pleasant Valley Substation” or “115 kV Pleasant Valley Substation
  • The replacement of 2.2 miles of 115-kV electric transmission line in an existing Niagara Mohawk Power d/b/a National Grid right of way (ROW) that extends from the existing 115-kV Blue Stores substation to a tap with the existing National Grid #8 115-kV Lafarge to Pleasant Valley line – referred to as the Blue Stores Tap
  • The installation of a 0.8-mile, double-circuit, 345-kV electric transmission line that would run from the existing 345-kV Pleasant Valley substation to and from the new 345-kV Van Wagner Capacitor Bank Station

Further describing the line, Transco said that the new Knickerbocker switching station would receive the existing New Scotland to Alps 345-kV line and house the project’s 50% series compensation equipment. In addition to the new Knickerbocker switching station and the 345/115-kV Pleasant Valley substation, when the new double-circuit, 345/115-kV line would terminate, the NYES Project also includes the installation of the new 345-kV Van Wagner Capacitor Bank Station in the Town of Pleasant Valley and an associated new, approximately 0.8-mile, 345-kV line that would run from the existing 345-kV Pleasant Valley substation to the new Van Wagner Capacitor Bank Station. Together, the 54.5-mile Knickerbocker to Pleasant Valley line and the 0.8-mile Pleasant Valley to Van Wagner line are referred to as the “345 kV Transmission Line” associated with the NYES Project.

The project also includes the removal and consolidation of about one mile of certain local 115-kV facilities between the new Knickerbocker switching station and existing Pleasant Valley substation, including circuits between the Greenbush substation and Pleasant Valley substation, Transco added.
The 115-kV circuits impacted by the project include (listed from north to south):

  • Fort Orange substation – replace existing conductor for one span (less than 100 feet)
  • Valkin substation – replace existing conductor for one span (about 450 feet)
  • Hudson substation – replace five existing structures and associated existing conductor (about 1,000 feet)
  • ADM Milling substation – replace existing conductor for one span (about 250 feet)
  • Churchtown substation – new connection to rebuilt Churchtown substation; includes two new structures and conductor (about 1,000 feet)
  • Lafarge substation – exit from rebuilt Churchtown substation; includes replacing two structures and associated conductor for three spans (about 1,200 feet)
  • North Catskill substation – exit from rebuilt Churchtown substation; includes replacing two structures and associated conductor for three spans (about 1,300 feet)
  • Milan substation – replace existing conductor for one span (about 550 feet)

Transco added that the project also entails the replacement of the existing H-frame structures and 115-kV conductor in the existing ROW that extends 2.2 miles from a tap to the National Grid 115-kV lines #8 and #13 to the Blue Stores substation – referred to as the “Blue Stores Tap.” Collectively, the 345-kV line and the Blue Stores Tap replacement are 57.5 miles long.
Transco also said that the project includes the retirement of the #15 Greenbush-Hudson 115-kV line between the Greenbush substation and Hudson substation.

Table: Design Voltage and Conductor       Source: EXHIBIT E-1

Noting that the project would retire, replace, or upgrade existing, aging electric transmission infrastructure, Transco said that the project would, for instance, reduce the overall quantity of transmission infrastructure in the project’s ROW, which is an existing transmission corridor, by replacing about 700 structures with about 470 self-supporting steel monopole structures in a modified delta configuration that eliminates the need for guys and anchors. That removal and replacement would reduce the footprint of structures in the project’s ROW between the existing 115-kV Churchtown switching station and the 345/115-kV Pleasant Valley substation. Further, Transco added, about 24 older, wood H-frame structures associated with the Blue Stores Tap would be replaced with about 24 tubular steel H-frame structures. The new structures would, for the most part, be similar in height to the existing structures, Transco noted.

Transco said that it is also working with Orange and Rockland Utilities and Central Hudson on a development schedule and implementation plan to permit, develop, and build certain commission-required transmission additions associated with the project – referred to in the commission’s underlying alternating current (AC) transmission proceedings as the “Segment B Additions,” which include performing terminal work at the existing 345-kV Coopers Corners and Rock Tavern substations to improve the thermal ratings on lines #34 and #42.
Discussing the need for the project, Transco noted that the commission initiated in November 2012 the “Examine Alternating Current Transmission Upgrades” proceeding (Case 12-T-0502) and identified the AC transmission corridor traversing the Mohawk Valley Region, the Lower Hudson Valley region, and the Capital Region as a source of persistent congestion. Those regions include facilities connected to Marcy, New Scotland, Leeds, and the Pleasant Valley substations, along with two major electrical interfaces referred to as “Central East” and “UPNY/SENY.”
Transco added that the commission ultimately determined that there was a transmission need “driven by Public Policy Requirements for new 345 kV major electric transmission facilities to move power from upstate to downstate” (the “AC Transmission PPTN”); the AC Transmission PPTN is divided into two segments – Segment A (Central East interface) and Segment B (UPNY/SENY interface).

After declaring the AC Transmission PPTN, the commission ordered the New York ISO (NYISO) to solicit solutions to the AC Transmission PPTN. Transco added that following the submission of 16 proposed solutions by six developers, the NYISO Board of Directors in April announced its selection of the NYES Project to satisfy Segment B of the AC Transmission PPTN. As part of its selection, the NYISO reiterated the requirement that the NYES Project be operational by the end of 2023.
As noted in the filing, the project cost estimate generated by SECO – the NYISO’s outside consultant during the underlying selection process – as outlined in the AC Transmission Project Technical Review Report, which is an appendix to the NYISO’s AC Transmission Public Policy Transmission Planning Report, estimates the total project cost at almost $368.7m (2018 dollars). The SECO estimate includes $209.2m attributable to new transmission lines, $66m attributable to station construction or upgrades, $61.5m in technical services costs, and $32m in network upgrade facilities, Transco added.

The planning and permitting phase of the project began this year and is anticipated to end in November 2021, while the construction phase is expected to begin in December 2021 and continue through December 2023. Construction would be relatively continuous during that time, starting at the northern end of the project area and moving south, Transco added. The new 345-kV Knickerbocker switching station would be completed over a two-year timeline, and the rebuilt 115-kV Churchtown switching station would be complete by the end of 2022. The new Van Wagner Capacitor Bank Station and upgrades to the existing 345-kV Pleasant Valley station would be complete by the end of 2023, which is also when the project is anticipated to be operational, Transco added.

Among other things, Transco said that the accompanying studies/report establish that the environmental impacts of the project’s construction and operation would be limited in scope and duration, and would occur primarily during the construction phase. Transco noted that since it has designed the project to be built and operated within an existing transmission line corridor and/or adjacent utility owned land, it is not anticipated that construction and operation of the project would have any significant adverse impacts on environmental resources.
As TransmissionHub reported, Transco has as its corporate members Consolidated Edison Transmission, LLC, Grid NY LLC, Avangrid Networks New York TransCo, LLC, and Central Hudson Electric Transmission LLC.