New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has received the Energy Highway Task Force's blueprint, a comprehensive plan that will invest up to $5.7 billion to add up to 3.2 GW of additional electric generation and transmission capacity and clean energy generation.
The Energy Highway initiative, which Cuomo introduced in his State of the State address in January, is designed to bolster the state's energy infrastructure and also reinstates Article X, a siting law intended to fast-track renewable energy projects.
Now, more details of that plan are available with the release of this blueprint, including plans to do the following:
- Invest $1 billion to develop 1 GW of new electric transmission capacity;
- Initiate $250 million in new renewable energy projects, leveraging $425 million in private investment and creating 270 MW of new power;
- Modernize and repower existing inefficient, high-emissions plants to create 750 MW of power, enabled by approximately $1.5 billion in investment;
- Generate 1.2 GW of additional capacity through approximately $1 billion in investment to help meet reliability needs to address retiring power plants across the state;
- Accelerate $1.3 billion of investment in existing transmission and distribution projects to enhance reliability, improve safety, reduce costs to customers and reduce emissions;
- Invest $250 million to develop smart grid technologies and create an advanced energy-management control center; and
- Initiate field studies of Atlantic Ocean offshore wind development potential.
According to the governor's office, these steps will reduce the time required for the development of energy infrastructure.
In Northern New York, strategic investments in transmission system upgrades will facilitate access for renewable energy projects to electricity markets. Western New York will undergo an immediate review of the viability of repowering options for power plants that have announced retirement plans and could benefit from a new community-support plan in the event that the plants are closed.
Repowering, reducing transmission congestion and launching offshore wind initiatives in the downstate region will help to green the power-plant fleet supplying the highest-energy-demand area of the state, the blueprint says, and upgrades throughout the state will support regional job growth and economic development.
The Energy Highway Task Force created the blueprint after reviewing 130 responses provided by 85 entities – including investor-owned utilities, private developers and investors – in response to its request for information (RFI), issued in April. Public comments submitted to the RFI responses were also considered in the development of the plan, as were publicly available reports and analyses.