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Cheaper, greener and more reliable: How transmission projects promise a brighter future for New York and the Hudson Valley
Powering New York » Central Hudson » Powering New York

Investments in the state's transmission infrastructure will provide economic, environmental and reliability benefits to Central Hudson customers and all New Yorkers by addressing known bottlenecks in the statewide electric grid. This approach will enable lower cost energy and renewable power located upstate, particularly wind power, to flow more readily throughout New York. To address the problems caused by system congestion and support the state's Energy Highway Blueprint, Central Hudson and other utility companies jointly created New York Transco and proposed statewide transmission improvement projects in New York.

1. It Will Reduce Hefty Congestion Costs

Congestion in New York's electric transmission system adds hundreds of millions of dollars to New Yorkers' energy costs each year — including $8.5 billion over the last 10 years — by limiting the available supply of electricity for purchase and use. In addition to addressing congestion costs, transmission line upgrades proposed by NY Transco could reduce the impact of or even eliminate the Lower Hudson Valley capacity zone, which alone is adding 6-10% in costs to Central Hudson customer energy bills. These projects could also help reduce energy supply price volatility, which has led to bouts of higher than expected utility bills for customers at times in recent years.

8.5 billion dollars
The cost added to New York state customer electric bills by transmission congestion over the last 10 years is $8.5 billion, including more than $1 billion in both 2013 and 2014.

The cost of transmission congestion across New York state each year from 2004 through 2014

New Capacity Zone
Congestion on the transmission system led the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to create the Lower Hudson Valley capacity zone in 2014.

A map showing the Lower Hudson Valley Capacity Zone

$230 million
The new capacity zone is adding $230 million to energy costs, per year, in lower New York, including $55 million for the Hudson Valley.
$230 million
The new capacity zone is increasing residential customer bills by 6 percent and industrial customer bills by 10 percent.

Supply Price Volatility

A map showing the price volatility and higher prices in southeastern NY caused by transmission constraints.

Electricity prices can vary greatly across New York due to constraints in the transmission system, particularly when energy demands are high. This map, a snapshot from the NYISO website, shows energy prices for the various zones for the day-ahead market on March 4, 2015, with prices highest for areas east of the constraints. In some instances, prices listed here for the Capital District and Hudson Valley are more than two times as high as for some other regions in New York.

2. It Will Grow Green Energy

The transmission projects proposed by NY Transco would help advance renewable energy development in New York, which would help drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the state.

A map showing upstate NY clean energy projects active and on hold Regulators: Transmission proposals complement renewable energy goals
"Achieving the objectives of the REV proceeding will not, at any time in the foreseeable future, eliminate the need for more robust and flexible transmission infrastructure linking the upstate regions to downstate through the Mohawk and Hudson Valleys. At the same time, improving the existing infrastructure will support some of the REV goals. ... It will facilitate the development of new renewable resources, such as wind, most of which will be sited upstate on the constrained side of the congested interfaces.”
- NYS Public Service Commission
Order Establishing Modified Procedures for Comparative Evaluation, Dec. 16, 2014

3. It Will Improve Reliability
Improving the ability of electricity to circulate more freely throughout the state now will help address capacity shortfalls in lower New York at a time when much of the state's transmission system already needs replacement and as older generating facilities near retirement.

Transmission Line Replacements
Anticipated time frames
Map showing the anticipated retirement dates for several transmission lines in New York state

Aging System: By the Numbers
of the state's transmission system needs to be replaced within 30 years
of NYS generating plants are more than 40 years old
of NYS transmission lines were built before 1980

New York Transco submitted enhanced and innovative transmission line proposals to the New York Public Service Commission (PSC). The proposals address the state’s long-term energy needs while using existing rights of way while reducing the visual impact.

A photo of an existing transmission line running between Columbia County and Pleasant Valley and a simulated view of the same section of line showing a reduced visual impact under one of the projects proposed by New York Transco.
A visual simulation depicting the right-of-way and what it might look like between (National Grid’s) Churchtown Switching Station (in Columbia County) and the Pleasant Valley substation under one of the alternative projects proposed by New York Transco.

Local Concerns Addressed

  • Plans rely on existing rights of way: Projects are designed to be constructed within the existing rights of way or properties currently owned by the utilities.
  • Fewer structures than exist now: Proposed alternatives optimize the use of existing rights-of-way. In the Hudson Valley, where some proposals include the construction of new circuits to replace existing circuits, the total number of structures on rights-of- way will be fewer than what exists today.
  • Reduced visual impact: New structure heights will be comparable – some slightly higher, some lower – but overall less intrusive visually than existing structures.
  • Greater reliability: In most of the alternatives, transmission facilities that are, in some cases, more than 80 years old will be replaced with new, more modern structures. This will not only improve the visual impact but it will augment the transmission lines’ resiliency against severe weather, and replaces lines that must be eventually rebuilt regardless.
  • Investing in region's future: An enhanced electric system provides greater system operating flexibility and capacity to meet the region’s transmission needs for the decades to come.
  • Costs reduced: The proposals improve the UPNY/SENY interface transfers and provide greater than 1,000 MW of increased transfer capacity. These will significantly reduce system congestion and congestion costs to New York consumers.

Projects Summarized

  • Knickerbocker to Pleasant Valley 345 kV Transmission line
    » Project summary: A new, 345 kV transmission line from Knickerbocker (Rensselaer County) to Pleasant Valley (Dutchess County), placed within an existing transmission corridor on a monopole structure of approximately the same height as the existing towers it will replace.
    » Transmission System Benefits: Reduces congestion, replaces aging infrastructure, storm resiliency.

  • Edic to New Scotland 345 kV Transmission Line
    » Project summary: A new, 345 kV transmission line from Edic to New Scotland, placed within an existing transmission and replacing existing towers.
    » Transmission System Benefits: Reduces congestion, replaces aging infrastructure, storm resiliency.

The New York State Department of Public Service presented their AC Transmission Trial Staff Final Report on Sept. 22, 2015, summarizing their findings and recommending three proposals submitted by New York Transco and other developers (two of which were proposed by New York Transco). On Dec. 16, 2015, The Public Service Commission approved Staff’s recommendation, requesting three developers, including New York Transco, submit new proposals on these recommended projects. These will be reviewed and developers selected during 2016.

To view Staff’s report and recommendations, go to: http://www3.dps.ny.gov/W/PSCWeb.nsf/All/F0CA55256932ED7085257C380068D910?OpenDocument. To view the PSC’s Order, go to: http://documents.dps.ny.gov/public/MatterManagement/CaseMaster.aspx?MatterCaseNo=13-E-0488