For Immediate Release: April 22, 2015
Boundless Energy Proposal Delivers on Governor’s Vision for Energy Highway with Minimal Impact to Hudson Valley
Hudson Valley, NY – In a report to the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC), Boundless Energy today laid out its plan to deliver needed upgrades to the state’s energy infrastructure with minimal impact to residents of the Hudson Valley. Among four proposals under consideration, the Leeds Path West Project is the only one that delivers on the Governor’s vision for an energy highway within the existing right of way. The project uses innovative technologies consistent with the state’s new Reforming the Energy Vision concept to resolve severe congestion problems at a low cost and without massive new construction.
The Leeds Path West Project would create more than 1,200 MW of transfer capability on the UPNY/SENY interface and more than 700 MW on the Central East interface. It would not alter land use or require new land.
“The Boundless Leeds Path West Project delivers on the Governor’s vision for an Energy Highway at a fraction of the cost of our leading competitor and with minimal impact to Hudson Valley residents,” said Boundless Energy CEO E. John Tompkins. “Our plan meets the state’s goals for easing the transmission congestion in the energy pipeline and modernizes New York’s energy infrastructure in a way that is responsive to the needs of local communities and preserves residents’ quality of life.”
Boundless Energy identified the substantial differences of the four proposed projects based upon the initiatives’ identified goals. The three other proposals would all require massive construction projects that raise quality of life concerns for residents, including the incumbent transmission owners’ proposal to build scores of miles of new transmission lines at a high cost. In addition, the other proposals would have customers pay twice – first to build new transmission lines, and then once again to address to the $30 billion aging infrastructure problem.
The submission is publicly available on the Public Service Commission’s website.
Boundless’ Leeds Path West Project stands out for its highly innovative approach to meet the Commission’s goals. Here are some of the most important differences:
- Leeds Path West is one of the two lowest priced projects for New York ratepayers, both on an overall basis and a dollar per megawatt of transfer capability increase. In fact, at just over $600 million it is less than half the ratepayer cost being proposed by the National Grids and Con Edisons of the world.
- Leeds Path West addresses the Energy Highway goal of rebuilding the existing AC grid, rather than simply erecting a new transmission line. Only 8 miles of new construction is required to complete the Boundless project, all of which is underground. Combined, the other developers propose construction of long new transmission lines along over 550 miles of land. That is an average project length of 183 miles.
- Leeds Path West uses the existing transmission right-of-way (ROW) for both the overhead and the underground portions of the project, and does not take additional ROW. As a result, it has no effect on property values.
- Leeds Path West uses innovative technology, including composite conductors and less intrusive installation techniques such as horizontal directional drilling.
- Leeds Path West will be built within the ROW envelope, meaning neither the ROW nor tower heights will expand or change
- Leeds Path West ties the electric grid on the west side of the Hudson to the east side. This is potentially a strategic connection for grid flexibility and resiliency.
- Leeds Path West offers a significant upgrade to existing conductors which are critical to the state’s electric grid by rebuilding the circuits to meet current ice and wind resiliency standards.
- Leeds Path West has no impact on agricultural lands.
In 2012, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the goal of building an energy highway from northern New York to downstate to allow excess power generation upstate, including the tremendous potential for additional renewable energy generation upstate, to reach downstate customers. The State, he announced, would seek proposals from private companies to finance and build the electric transmission infrastructure needed for the future. In 2014, Governor Cuomo built on his earlier announcement by making clear that the State’s energy highway had to be responsive to the needs of local communities to preserve their residents’ quality of life. The new energy highway should be constructed on existing ROWs.
The reasons underlying the Governor’s goals have not disappeared. In particular, the operator of New York’s electric grid, the NYISO, has announced that significant transmission congestion exists as a barrier to the flow of electric power from upstate New York to downstate, and that transmission congestion is bottling upstate power to such a degree that the NYISO has imposed an effective surcharge on customers in the mid and lower Hudson Valley. This is a disincentive for power generators generally, and for renewable resource producers in particular, to build new plants on the “low price side” of the constraint.
Boundless’ Leeds Path West Project meets the State’s goals for the Energy Highway – and at a fraction of the cost of the incumbent transmission owners’ proposed project. Boundless does not propose to build entirely new transmission lines which overwhelm the communities adjacent to the power lines, nor does Boundless propose to construct modern-day industrial gauntlet of utility towers along the New York Thruway nor a new power cable hung over the Hudson River. On the contrary, Boundless uses proven, innovative technology, which has not been used in New York previously, to create more capability out of the existing system and extend its useful life. Boundless’ Project will increase transmission capability across the important UPNY – SENY interface by more than 1,200 MW and across the Central East interface by more than 700 MW. Boundless’ project will replace aging, out of date conductors with new technology conductors on existing towers. Boundless will create a new intertie under the Hudson River, joining electric transmission west of the Hudson to existing power facilities on the east side, all without creating a new overhead crossing of the Hudson River. Boundless also will eliminate a long-term problem as New York faces a changing climate, with the potential for the existing lines to collapse under ice build-up. Remarkably, Boundless’ project will do all of this and cost no more than the other projects and significantly less than two developers’ projects.
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Posted on Wed, April 22, 2015
by John Tompkins