New York turns to transmission expansion to meet clean energy goals, as NextEra energizes 3.7-GW line

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The Empire State Line is New York’s first competitively-bid transmission project, and will help the state reach an intermediate goal of consuming 70% renewable electricity by 2030, state officials said.

The new line “will save, over the lifespan of this project, over $950 million in reduced demand and congestion and production cost savings,” Hochul said. “And that goes back into the pockets of our consumers.”

The Empire State Line will “improve system reliability and deliver additional clean resources to consumers,” New York Independent System Operator President and CEO Rich Dewey said in a statement. “This project brings us that much closer to realizing a reliable grid of the future, while providing cost savings and reaching the state’s emissions goals.”

The project includes a pair of new 345-kV switchyards located in the towns of Royalton and Elma and utilizes a type of transformer known as a phase-angle regulator to control power flows across the line. The “innovative” transformer, developed by the NextEra subsidiary, will allow the new Royalton switchyard to serve as a connection to seven 345-kV lines, “creating a new transmission hub in Western New York that enables renewable energy,” Hochul’s office said in a statement.

New York is moving forward with other transmission projects to move additional clean electricity from upstate generation sources and Canada into the state’s largest demand center of New York City. Hochul pointed to the Clean Path NY project as well as the Champlain Hudson Power Express.

The New York Public Service Commission in April approved contracts necessary to advance the two transmission projects. The Clean Path NY project is expected online in 2027, and will access resources in the upstate and western regions of the state. The Champlain Hudson project, developed by Blackstone Group’s Transmission Developers Inc., is expected to begin delivering power from Canada in 2025. Officials say that by 2030, the two projects will halve New York City’s need for fossil fuel generation.

“People thought those were almost too bold in their scale, too ambitious,” Hochul said, vowing to continue working to decarbonize the state’s economy.

“We’re going to continue our bold efforts,” she said. The now-operational Empire line is “an important cornerstone in our efforts to literally save and protect our planet, power homes and businesses, lower cost to our consumers and creating jobs in the process.”

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