Large power transmission lines are in the works to relieve congestion in southeastern New York, but, to cut costs, state officials may scrap one of the projects—a previously accepted, $1.2-billion proposal—and seek new submissions from losing bidders.
The New York Public Service Commission selected a proposal by the New York Transmission Owners, which comprises six state utilities, to resolve constraints between upstate and downstate power flows. The project would increase regional flows by 1,000 MW with a new 345-kV line, running from outside Utica to Dutchess County, the utilities say. The approach was selected in a competition that begain in January 2013 and involved 22 proposals.
Commission staff wants the project divided into two segments—one on the east side and one on the west side of the Hudson River—with unsuccessful proposers NextEra Energy and North American Transmission allowed to submit bids.
But the utilities say the recommendation is inconsistent with the commission’s clear direction and undermines the selection process’s integrity. “It changes the rules of the bidding process in the middle of the proceeding and violates its [entire] spirit,” says John Maserjian, a spokesman for the group. He says if the staff recommendation is accepted, it would have “a significant chilling effect” on future project development in New York state.
Separately, developer PPL has filed a request with the New York grid operator to connect a 95-mile project across Pennsylvania, valued at $500 million to $600 million, to New York’s transmission system. Its project is part of a larger plan to build a 475-mile, 345-kV transmission line that would link western Pennsylvania to southeastern New York. PPL expects construction of the first link to start by 2021.