In an effort to strengthen the reliability of New York’s electric power grid and enable more upstate renewables to connect to the statewide power system, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, D-N.Y., has announced plans to rebuild 78 miles of power transmission infrastructure in the North Country (the counties in the extreme north of the state).
According to the governor, the newly rebuilt transmission line, called the Moses-Adirondack Smart Path Reliability project, would help the state meet his Clean Energy Standard, mandating that 50% of New York’s consumed electricity comes from renewable energy sources by 2030. Transmission projects like these can play a critical role in channeling power produced upstate – where increasing amounts of renewable energy is coming online – to areas where it is needed downstate, Cuomo says.
“This critical upgrade will help strengthen our clean energy economy in every corner of the state and help New York reach its nation-leading clean energy standard,” the governor states in a press release. “By investing in the long-term sustainability of our state’s energy infrastructure today, we are helping to ensure New Yorkers will have access to a cleaner, greener future for years to come.”
The governor expects the Smart Path project to create approximately 2,000 full-time, well paying jobs during development and construction. All construction is expected to take place on existing rights-of-way in order to minimize the impact on the environment and adjacent property and landowners. Construction is estimated to take four years and is slated to begin in 2019.
The project, when completed, will run north to south through St. Lawrence and Lewis counties. It will carry renewable energy – including hydropower from the New York Power Authority’s St. Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt Power Project, as well as power from newly constructed wind farms, solar projects and other large-scale renewable energy sources – from upstate to high-energy-demand areas downstate.
“This Smart Path project supports the pioneering approach under Governor Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision to spur investments into a more innovative transmission system and infrastructure modernization to modernize the grid,” comments Richard L. Kauffman, New York State’s chairman of energy and finance. “These investments also help us add more distributed resources like wind and solar to the grid as we build a cleaner, more resilient and affordable energy system, supporting good jobs and economic development across New York.”
“A robust transmission network is essential for New York’s efforts to scale up and deploy renewable energy,” adds Rory Christian, director of New York clean energy at the Environmental Defense Fund. “This will increase opportunities to develop clean energy sources throughout the state and connect the downstate region to existing affordable electricity generated in upstate New York.”