(originally published Summer 2016)
After several years of active engagement (summarized here), we have now spent the first half of 2016 waiting for an update on the AC Transmission proceeding that has been a focus for many Hudson Valley residents since 2013.
This past December, the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) ruled that there is a need, driven by “Public Policy Requirements,” for new 345 kV major electric transmission lines to move power from upstate New York to downstate. The PSC determined that lines should be built in two segments: Segment A running from Western New York to the Albany area; and Segment B extending from the Albany area to Pleasant Valley within existing corridors. In response to public pressure surrounding the project, the PSC mandated that there be no creation of new rights-of-way and no new crossings of the Hudson River.
A few days ago, the first bits of news on the next phase of the operation became available. In response to the PSC’s ruling, the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO), the operator of New York’s power grid, solicited a brand new round of submissions for transmission and non-transmission proposals within the segments defined by the PSC. While detailed information on each proposal is not yet available, we do have a summary of the proposals below.
The quick takeaway: three of the original applicants have submitted proposals, and there are submissions from three new developers, including one that has proposed a non-transmission alternative. Here is what we know so far about them:
- National Grid/Transco submitted two AC transmission projects, one for Segment A (the Western New York segment) and one for Segment B (the Hudson Valley segment).
- NextEra submitted three AC transmission projects, one for Segment A and two alternatives for Segment B.
- North America Transmission submitted six AC transmission projects: four alternatives for Segment A and two alternatives for Segment B.
- A new developer, ITC New York Development, submitted two AC transmission projects, one for Segment A and one for Segment B.
- Another new developer, AvanGrid (a subsidiary of Iberdrola) submitted two alternative HVDC transmission projects. Since these are designated as DC projects, they are likely proposed to run underground.
- Finally, Glidepath, a company that appears to do mostly battery-storage projects, submitted a non-transmission project consisting of a Distributed Generation Portfolio. The size indicated for this project is only 112 MW, which raises a question as to whether it’s intended to be a standalone project or to complement other projects.
As we have mentioned in the past, the NYISO process is focused exclusively on the viability and sufficiency of projects, their cost-effectiveness and whether they meet the criteria set out by the PSC, and it does not allow for any formal public input. State agencies and officials also do not have any jurisdiction over the NYISO process. However, the NYISO does not make any final decision as to what (if anything) will actually be built—it will make a recommendation to the PSC, which will accept or reject it, and if a transmission alternative is chosen, it will then begin a full Article VII review (“Part B”), which will determine whether a certificate for the selected transmission proposal is granted.
Our legal team plans to monitor the NYISO’s June 7th meeting regarding this project. Once we have a better idea of what the proposals look like, we will share whatever updated information we have, and advise whether there is any action we plan to take before the NYISO makes its recommendation back to the PSC.
Regarding the final in-service date for a potential project, the PSC said in its December ruling, “Ideally, the new facilities would be in service prior to the summer capability period of 2019.”
Potential timeline moving forward (speculative and subject to change):