PSC: GOVERNOR’S ENERGY HIGHWAY GAINS MOMENTUM

STATE OF NEW YORK
Public Service Commission
PRESS RELEASE dps.ny.gov
 
GOVERNOR’S ENERGY HIGHWAY GAINS MOMENTUM
New Transmission Projects, Power Plant Planning & Gas Distribution Expansion
 
Albany, NY—The New York State Public Service Commission (Commission) today
took action on three items highlighted in Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Energy Highway
Blueprint issued by the Energy Highway Task Force in October. The actions taken are designed
examine plans and alternatives to ease transmission congestion to meet current and future power
needs by providing downstate New York access to lower-cost power; plan for possible major
power plant retirements; and study the expansion of natural gas delivery to homeowners and
businesses in New York State.
 
The Energy Highway initiative, introduced in the 2012 State of the State address, is a centerpiece
of the Governor's Power NY agenda, designed to ensure that New York's energy grid is the most
advanced in the nation and promotes increased business investment in the state.
 
“A growing, vibrant economy requires an energy production and delivery system that provides
the stable foundation companies need to invest in their facilities and workforce, to expand
operations and hire new workers,” said Commission Chairman Garry Brown. “In addition to
strengthening the economy, the Energy Highway will enhance New York State’s investment in
clean energy production.”
 
In light of the catastrophic devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy, improvements envisioned by
the Governor’s Energy Highway initiative will help create a stronger, more resilient energy
infrastructure network that is better able to deal with the possible impact of future storms.
Following recommendations set forth in the Energy Highway Blueprint, the Commission today
commenced a first-of-its-kind proceeding to review specific proposals from utilities and private
developers for new transmission lines and upgrades to existing facilities that will address
congestion on the transmission system between Utica and New York City.
 
The transmission system program contemplated in the Blueprint would expand and strengthen
the state’s high voltage transmission system in this corridor by building roughly $1 billion worth
of transmission projects, providing over 1,000 MW of additional transmission capacity. This
could support both environmental goals and economic development by providing access by
upstate power generators, including new clean energy projects, to downstate markets, from
where they are currently constrained due to bottlenecks in the transmission system. New
transmission capacity will also serve to benefit of downstate businesses and consumers because
they would have access to lower wholesale energy prices from upstate.
 
The Blueprint recognized that the development of plans to address reliability concerns in the
event of generator retirements is an important initiative. The Blueprint also recognized the
potential retirement or unavailability of a major facility in New York’s generating and
transmission infrastructure requires the state to plan well advance.
 
Therefore, the Commission commenced a proceeding today to develop a contingency plan in the
event of a closing of Indian Point, two nuclear power plants located in Westchester County,
approximately 30 miles north of Manhattan. The Commission directed Consolidated Edison to
work with the New York Power Authority to develop and file a contingency plan to address the
needs that would arise in the event the Indian Point units shut down.
 
The Blueprint also calls for an examination of existing barriers to the expanded use of natural gas
service by residential and businesses customers in the state and appropriate measures to reduce
or eliminate potential barriers.
 
The Commission will review regulations and policies that may unduly constrain the availability
of natural gas and/or other factors influencing customer conversions. Given the very substantial
price difference between natural gas and oil, many residential, commercial and industrial
customers could potentially benefit from conversion from oil to natural gas.
 
The Commission’s decisions today, when issued, may be obtained by going to the Commission
Documents section of the Commission’s Web site at www.dps.ny.gov and entering case numbers
12-T-0502 [Alternating Current Transmission Upgrades]; 12-E-0503 [Review of Generation
Retirement Contingency Plans]; or 12-G-0297 [Expansion of Natural Gas Service] in the input
box labeled "Search for Case/Matter Number". Many libraries offer free Internet access.
 
Commission orders may also be obtained from the Commission’s Files Office, 14th floor, Three
Empire State Plaza, Albany, NY 12223 (518-474-2500).
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