New York Gov. Cuomo: $341m to advance NYPA’s Moses-Adirondack Smart Path Reliability Project

According to the governor’s statement, the rebuilt lines are expected to be completed in 2023

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Feb. 3 announced $341m in funding to advance the New York Power Authority’s (NYPA) plan to rebuild the Moses-Adirondack transmission lines through the Moses-Adirondack Smart Path Reliability Project, as noted in a statement from the governor’s office.

The statement added that the NYPA Board of Trustees approved a five-year construction contract valued at $294m — as part of that funding — to Michels Power to build the new lines. The board previously approved $142.6m toward phase one of the project, which is expected to cost about $483.8m, the statement noted, adding that the contract approval will support construction of the new lines primarily on existing rights of way (ROWs) in order to minimize the impacts on the environment and adjacent landowners.

The first phase of the project involves rebuilding about 78 miles of the total 86-mile transmission artery that was built originally by the federal government in 1942 and acquired by NYPA in 1950, the statement noted. The lines, which run north to south through St. Lawrence and Lewis counties in the North Country, connect economical and renewable energy into the statewide power system, including low-cost hydropower from NYPA’s St. Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt Power Project, as well as power from newly built renewable energy sources, the statement added.

Construction is expected to begin this year following the state Public Service Commission’s approval of the project’s first environmental management and construction plan. The statement also noted that the rebuilt lines are expected to be completed in 2023.

The second phase of the project involves replacing the remaining length of the lines and upgrading the Moses switchyard and the Adirondack substation to operate at 345 kV, the statement noted, adding that while the rebuilt lines will be capable of transmitting up to 345 kV, they will be operated in the near term at the 230-kV level.

Together, the lines are currently rated to carry 900 MW during the winter months, the statement noted.

As TransmissionHub reported, the commission in November 2019 said that it has approved the project. As noted in the commission’s order, NYPA in April 2018 filed an application for a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need under Public Service Law (PSL) Article VII granting it authority to rebuild and operate the existing lines — which extend from the St. Lawrence Power Project’s Robert Moses Power Dam Switchyard in the Town of Massena, St. Lawrence County, to the Adirondack substation in the Town of Croghan, Lewis County — as well as to build certain upgrades to the switchyard and substation.

The commission noted that the existing lines consist of about eight miles of double-circuit lattice structures and 78 miles of single-circuit predominantly wood H-frame structures operating at 230 kV. The M-A 1&2 lines occupy a 250-foot ROW and travel through 12 towns from north to south: Massena, Louisville, Norfolk, Madrid, Potsdam, Canton, Russell, Hermon, Edwards, and Pitcairn in St. Lawrence County, as well as Diana and Croghan in Lewis County. The commission added that about 1.8 miles of the ROW is located in the Adirondack State Park.

The commission noted that NYPA in September 2019 filed a joint proposal that it signed, along with New York State Department of Public Service (DPS) staff, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), and the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets (DAM).

Under that joint proposal, the project would be rebuilt in two phases, with the first phase involving rebuilding about 78 miles of single-circuit, predominantly wood pole H-frame structures, originally installed in 1942, with two sets of single-circuit steel monopoles. The commission added that NYPA also would replace the existing shield wire on the first eight miles of the M-A 1&2 lines with optical ground wire cable. Those facilities would be designed to operate at 345 kV but would be operated at 230 kV until completion of the second phase of the project. The commission added that except for the approximately one-mile portion of the lines located on the State University of New York at Canton (SUNY Canton) campus, the project would be built entirely within the existing 250-foot right of way (ROW).

On the SUNY Canton campus, the project would be rerouted to the west, between the western side of the campus and the existing Messina-Marcy line ROW, the commission said, adding that SUNY Canton owns the land required for the routing change and has agreed to provide NYPA with an ROW across that state-owned land in exchange for NYPA’s release of its existing ROW through the center of the campus.

Under the joint proposal, the second phase of the project would involve rebuilding eight miles of existing double-circuit steel lattice structures into the Adirondack substation with single-circuit steel monopoles, as well as the construction of new 345-kV switchyards at the Moses switchyard and the Adirondack substation. The commission added that upon completion of the second phase, which would be coordinated with a similar upgrade of National Grid’s Adirondack to Porter 230-kV line to 345 kV, and assuming NYPA requests and is granted an appropriate amendment to the certificate issued in this proceeding, the M-A 1&2 lines would operate at 345 kV.