NYPA Board Approves $294 Million Contract for Rebuild of Major North-South Transmission Artery that will Modernize New York State’s Power Grid and Advance Governor’s Clean Energy Goals
Watch Video of NYPA’s Moses-Adirondack Smart Path Reliability Project Here
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced $341 million in funding to advance the New York Power Authority’s plan to rebuild and strengthen the Moses-Adirondack transmission lines - a vital 86-mile stretch of New York’s North-South power transmission system. The Governor also announced a $294 million contract, as part of that funding, for project construction that was approved this week by the New York Power Authority Board of Trustees. The project, known as the Moses-Adirondack Smart Path Reliability Project, supports the Governor’s recent State-of-the-State proposal to modernize New York’s energy system to help carry renewable energy from Northern New York to other parts of the state and will help meet New York’s clean energy goals set forth in the New York Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, signed into law in July 2019. “The rebuilding of our North to South transmission lines is a major infrastructure investment and vital piece of our clean energy future that will boost upstate economies and create jobs,” said Governor Cuomo. “This project provides a critical link for the delivery of new clean energy sources being developed in Northern New York to the population centers that need their power, furthering our nation-leading efforts to build a carbon-free energy system by 2040.”
The $341 million funding was authorized at the NYPA Board of Trustees December meeting. The NYPA board approved a five-year construction contract valued at $294 million from that previously approved funding to Michels Power to construct the new transmission lines. NYPA’s Trustees previously approved $142.6 million toward phase one of the project, which is expected to cost approximately $483.8 million. The contract approval will support construction of the new lines primarily on existing rights of way in order to minimize the impacts on the environment and adjacent landowners.
Smart Path’s first phase involves rebuilding approximately 78 miles of the total 86-mile transmission artery that was constructed originally by the federal government in 1942 and acquired by the Power Authority in 1950. Running north to south through St. Lawrence and Lewis counties in the North Country, the lines connect economical, clean 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 constructed renewable energy sources. The project is expected to support hundreds of jobs during its construction. Construction is expected to begin this year following the Public Service Commission’s approval of the project’s first Environmental
Management and Construction Plan. The rebuilt transmission lines are expected to be completed in 2023.
The second phase of the project involves replacing the remaining length of the transmission lines and upgrading the Moses Switchyard and the Adirondack Substation to operate at 345 kV.
NYPA Vice Chairman Eugene L. Nicandri said, “As a long-time resident of the North Country, I am thrilled to see this project reach this seminal stage. With the Power Authority's construction investments announced today, we are now ready to realize a more robust transmission system for NYPA’s customers in the North Country and across New York State.”
The rebuilt lines will be capable of transmitting up to 345 kilovolts (kV), but will be operated in the near-term at the 230 kV level. Together the lines are currently rated to carry 900 megawatts during the winter months--enough clean electricity to power up to 900,000 averaged-sized homes. This ability to increase the voltage when the demand requires it is a cost-effective way to add on more renewable power, especially from in-state renewable generation, anywhere along the transmission line, as New York continues to advance its clean energy goals.
NYPA President and CEO Gil C. Quiniones said, “Rebuilding and modernizing our major transmission lines is vital so that we can advance the Governor’s and New York State’s clean energy policies and goals. These Smart Path upgrades will enable us to have a reliable, resilient transmission pathway from north to south.” The New York State Public Service Commission recently granted NYPA a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need for the Smart Path project. The certificate will require an amendment prior to operation at 345 kV.
Governor Cuomo first announced the Smart Path upgrade project in July 2017 as part of the state’s comprehensive Energy Highway Blueprint. With the completion of several previously announced transmission projects and the construction of Smart Path soon to be underway, realization of New York’s Energy Highway Blueprint, is showing demonstrable progress. Launched by Governor Cuomo in 2012, the Energy Highway Blueprint was created to accelerate the construction and repair of several sections of New York’s transmission system in order to add additional electric generation and transmission capacity and clean power generation into New York’s power grid. See attached map for New York Clean Energy Highway transmission projects that have recently been completed or are in progress. Visit www.nypa.gov/smartpath for up-to-date information about the Moses-Adirondack Smart Path Reliability Project.
New York State's Green New Deal
Governor Cuomo's Green New Deal is the most aggressive climate change program in the nation and puts the state on a path to being entirely carbon-neutral across all sectors of the economy, including power generation, transportation, buildings, industry and agriculture. The Governor's program also establishes a goal to achieve a zero-carbon emissions electricity sector by 2040, faster than any state in the nation. The recently passed Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act mandates several of the Governor's ambitious Green New Deal clean energy targets: installing nine gigawatts of offshore wind by 2035; six gigawatts of distributed solar by 2025 and three gigawatts of energy storage by 2030.
The CLCPA also calls for an orderly and just transition to clean energy, creating jobs while spurring a green economy. It builds on New York's unprecedented ramp-up of clean energy including a $2.9 billion investment in 46 large-scale renewable projects across the state, the creation of more than 150,000 jobs in New York's clean energy sector and 1,700% growth in the distributed solar sector since 2012. The CLCPA also directs New York State's agencies and authorities to work collaboratively with stakeholders to develop a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85% from 1990 levels by 2050, and to work toward a goal of investing 40% of clean energy and energy efficiency resources to benefit disadvantaged communities.