Cuomo thinks renewables with $440m transmission upgrade

The New York governor described the project as ‘critical’ to meeting the state’s clean energy targets.

Plans for a $440 million transmission project that will strengthen New York State’s electric grid and help it accommodate new generation from renewable energy sources have been published by Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Cuomo described the transmission upgrade as “critical” to meeting New York’s Clean Energy Standard of generating 50 percent of the state’s electricity from renewables by 2030.

Called the Moses-Adirondack Smart Path Reliability project, Cuomo said 78 miles on two transmission lines will be rebuilt to deliver clean power produced in the northern part of the state to densely populated portions in the south. The upgraded lines will carry energy generated at a nearby hydroelectric plant operated by the New York Power Authority and from newly constructed wind and solar projects.

They will be capable of transmitting up to 345kV but will operate – at least for now – at the current level of 230kV.

The ability to ramp up voltage when demand requires is an efficient way to unlock more renewable power, the governor’s office said, adding that construction will take place where transmission lines already exist to minimise environmental impact. The project should begin development in 2018 and is expected to take four years to complete.

“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,” Cuomo said.

While the state of New York is developing this project, Cuomo has previously said the private sector has a role to play in meeting the state’s future energy needs.

In January, he committed $360 million to leverage close to $1 billion from private investors to build 11 large-scale renewables projects. Two of those include wind facilities generating 105.8MW and 101.2MW planned for upstate New York.

The pledge came after Cuomo launched the 10-year, $5 billion Clean Energy Fund to encourage private-sector investments in renewables last year.