Congestion occurs on the nation’s electric transmission grids when flows of electricity are constrained below desired levels. In New York, congestion is often times the result of outdated infrastructure.
While there is an ample supply of inexpensive power available in upstate New York, transmission constraints limit the amount of electricity that can be delivered into the areas where demand is high. Thus, the power purchasers must buy more often from higher-cost suppliers, and the result is higher electricity costs for consumers.
Current transmission constraints reduce the diversity of available electricity supplies, such as green energy. Also, while it has not occurred, constraints may impair grid reliability and make the area more vulnerable to unanticipated outages of major generators or transmission lines.
There are three ways to reduce congestion, often used in combination: Build more generation close to where the demand is high; decrease end-user demand for electricity; add new transmission infrastructure.
While National Grid owns no generation facilities along the proposed route and therefore has no ability to influence the first method of congestion relief, it does own the existing rights-of-way (ROW) to be utilized for this project. The objective is to reduce the transmission constraints through upgrades to the transmission system. Investments in the transmission system can lower electricity costs for ratepayers, help retain jobs at upstate power plants, facilitate the development and connection of green energy projects to the grid, and create construction jobs.