New York selects NextEra for US$181 million project that will utilize hydropower

The New York Independent System Operator’s (NYISO) Board of Directors today selected a proposal from NextEra Energy Transmission New York (NextEra) for the new Empire State Line transmission project in Western New York.

According to a New York public policy transmission planning report, Independent consultant Substation Engineering Co. estimates the project would take 40 to 49 months to build and cost about US$181 million. If approved, according to NYISO, the system could be in place by June 2022.

NYISO said the Empire State Line transmission project components include two new 345 kV substations near Dysinger and Elma, a 20-mile-long 345 kV line connecting the new substations, as well as a phase angle regulator to control power flows. All facilities will predominantly utilize existing rights-of-way. The Dysinger substation will become the new transmission hub in Western New York, connecting a total of seven 345 kV lines.

“The cleaner, greener grid of the future will depend on a modernized, upgraded, and expanded transmission system,” said NYISO President and Chief Executive Officer, Brad Jones. “Well-planned transmission investments and upgraded transmission capability are vital to meeting the state’s renewable public policy goals and to efficiently move power to address regional needs. We sincerely appreciate the hard work that all of the developers put into their proposals, which made for a robust competitive process.”

In 2015, the New York Public Service Commission issued an order identifying Western New York’s power need. NYISO issued a solicitation for proposals and developers submitted 12 proposed projects. NYISO identified 10 viable and sufficient projects from five developers. From the 10 identified proposals, NYISO selected NextEra’s Empire State Line.

NextEra must now submit its project to the appropriate governmental agencies and authorities to obtain approvals and permits to site, construct and operate the project.

NYISO said it will work with NextEra to enter into agreements for the development and operation of the transmission project, including a schedule for siting, permitting, interconnection, construction and other milestones.

The project is designed to more fully utilize renewable energy from the 2,525-MW Robert Moses Niagara Hydroelectric Power Station, the main generating facility of the 2,755-MW Niagara power project.

The NextEra Empire State Line transmission will also use hydropower imports from Ontario’s 174-MW Sir Adam Beck Pump Generation Station, 437-MW Sir Adam Beck I and 1,499-MW Sir Adam Beck II stations.

The New York Power Authority owns and operates the Robert Moses Niagara Hydroelectric Power Station, located in Lewiston, N.Y., 4.5 miles downstream from Niagara Falls. The plant diverts water from the Niagara River above Niagara Falls and returns the water into the lower portion of the river near Lake Ontario.

The Robert Moses facility has a gravity dam that impounds the Moses Niagara power plant forebay, creating Lewiston Reservoir, two intake structures, two underground conduits and associated pump stations, the Lewiston Pump Generating Plant and the Niagara Switchyard.

In 2007, NYPA completed a $298 million, 15-year program to upgrade the Robert Moses Niagara power plant, which involved replacing turbines and retrofitting other components in all 13 generating units of Robert Moses Niagara power plant, Work began in 1991, and the last of the units was returned to service Dec. 21.

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Gregory B. Poindexter formerly was an associate editor for

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