What is congestion?
Who asked for this project?
The proposed project is in response to the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) call for AC Transmission upgrades and to relieve the significant congestion in transferring electricity across the existing transmission lines in New York. In the PSC's own words: "The initiative is designed to ensure that New York's electric system meets New York's demands for secure, cost-effective, cleaner energy. Ensuring the efficient transmission of power by reducing congestion improves overall electric system operation and optimizes the use of existing assets in New York by allowing lower-cost and cleaner power to reach consumers. Investments in the transmission and distribution systems can reduce customer costs over the long-term, improve safety and reliability, and protect the environment while immediately creating jobs and economic development." For more information, please visit the New York State Public Service Commission website.
Can the public participate in the approval process?
The people of New York have numerous opportunities and time to participate in the approval process. The project is being permitted through the PSC "Article VII" process, which allows for public review, input and testimony of all facets of the project.
What is the Article VII Process?
Any proposed electric line of 115,000 volts (115kV) which is 10 miles long or greater, or 345kV which is one mile long or greater, must submit an application to the New York State Public Services Commission (PSC) for a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need. The application for this project was submitted under an entirely new process, where the Article VII application is bifurcated and there are two filings: Part A and Part B.
Part A was filed with the PSC on Oct. 1, 2013. The Part A filing includes an overview of the proposed route and scoping documents for inclusions in the Part B filing.
In January and March 2015, National Grid, Central Hudson Gas & Electric, and New York State Electric & Gas, all members of the New York Transco, filed a revised Part A application with the PSC. This application describes nine innovative transmission line proposals that would enhance the transmission system, upgrade aging infrastructure, and promote access to renewable energy statewide. These proposals substantially improve upon the transmission line proposal submitted in October 2013.
In September 2015, the New York State Department of Public Service (DPS) Trial Staff submitted a Final Report and Motion, outlining recommendations for two projects that would be bid on by developers, including National Grid, under the New York Independent System Operator's (NYISO) Public Policy Transmission Planning Process. The two projects include:
Segment A: A new 345kV transmission line running from the Town of Marcy in Oneida County to the Town of New Scotland in Albany County.
Segment B: A new 345kV transmission line running from the Town of Schodack in Rensselaer County to the Town of Pleasant Valley in Dutchess County, with ancillary work on a transmission line and substation in Orange County.
DPS recommendations have not been yet been adopted by the PSC. This is expected to happen in December 2015 or later.
What is Transco?
In support of the Energy Highway Blueprint to power economic growth by modernizing the state's electric grid, the state's investor-owned utility companies (Central Hudson, Con Edison, National Grid, New York State Electric & Gas, Orange and Rockland Utilities and Rochester Gas and Electric) jointly created New York Transco LLC to develop statewide electric transmission improvement projects in New York.
There was a joint submission to the PSC on Oct. 1, 2013, and it is a preliminary step by the state's transmission owners toward establishing New York Transco, a proposed public-private partnership that will develop, own and operate transmission facilities throughout New York State.
The projects proposed by New York Transco are designed to meet the state's long term power needs and improve service reliability, provide economic benefits, reduce power plant emissions, facilitate development and access to renewable resources, and relieve constraints in the bulk transmission system that serves all New York residents and businesses.
Will you need new ROW?
All of the National Grid-sponsored projects are designed to remain within existing, fee-owned corridors. No expansion of the existing corridors is necessary to construct the proposed transmission lines.
What is EMF? Are there health risks?
Electric and magnetic fields can be generated from a wide variety of sources, including transmission lines. We recognize that there is scientific uncertainty as to whether EMF have an effect on health or not, but we design our lines to adhere to New York State guidelines.
In the meantime, the World Health Organization (or WHO) provides great detail and study regarding the relationship between humans and EMF. The WHO is an independent, non-governmental organization which has collected data from hundreds of studies regarding EMF, and has compiled its data on its website: www.who.int.
How tall will the structures be?
At this time, we are working with local communities to incorporate their concerns in the final engineering design. The engineering for this project has not been finalized. Structure heights are a function of a number of factors, including available right of way, width and visual impacts.
The proposed structure types and heights vary along different segments of the proposed line. Please see the Community sections for more information.
How will this project benefit my community?
New transmission construction for congestion relief will benefit all areas of New York State. Benefits include reduced air emissions, more diverse access for renewables, job creation and increased tax revenues from new infrastructure development.
Will underground construction be considered?
There is a different set of considerations with undergrounding transmission lines, including environmental, engineering, maintenance and cost. However, we intend to fully study underground alternatives and assess their feasibility in the NYES project.
Does the Commission's REV proceeding negate the need for the AC transmission proceeding?
No, it does not. The REV proceeding is not designed to resolve congestion problems of this magnitude on the high voltage transmission system; it is designed to improve the efficiency of the distribution system. Both proceedings need to move forward in order for New York's electric grid to become more efficient and resilient.
How will impacts to farmers be addressed?
Coordination with farmers will start well before the start of construction. We will work to mitigate impacts to farmland and livestock throughout the project, and this includes coordination with the Department of Agriculture and Markets and special provisions for farmland during construction.
How much will this cost? Will my rate go up?
Generally, the cost allocation of construction on a line like this is a function of who benefits from the line. Nothing has been determined as far as cost recovery and its impact to customers; we do not have an answer for that at this time.
When will the project be completed?
We expect the project to be completed by the end of 2019.However, shifts in the permitting process may change the completion date.
What is the Public Policy Transmission Planning Process?
The Public Policy Transmission Planning Process ("Process") is a component of the New York Independent System Operator's (NYISO) Comprehensive System Planning Process (CSPP). NYISO is the entity charged with operating the state's bulk electric grid, and they are responsible for adhering to the CSPP as part of federal energy requirements.
In the Process, the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) identifies transmission needs driven by Public Policy Requirements, and interested developers submit proposed solutions to those needs for evaluation by NYISO. The NYISO then selects the more efficient or cost-effective transmission solution for the transmission need. This decision is reviewed by NYISO stakeholders and approved by the NYISO board.
In this proceeding, after the NYISO Process is complete, the selected solution(s) and developer(s) will be referred back to the PSC to continue with the Article VII process.