Wind, solar energy tied in to rebuild of power transmission infrastructure

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MASSENA — Wind and solar energy will play a key role when 78 miles of power transmission infrastructure are rebuilt in the north country.

The newly rebuilt transmission line, called the Moses-Adirondack Smart Path Reliability project, will strengthen the reliability of the state’s electric power grid and help move power that’s produced upstate — including the increasing amounts of wind and solar energy — to areas where it’s needed downstate.

“The project will allow for future expandability of the line in anticipation of additional renewables, including wind resources, in the north country,” New York Power Authority officials said in a statement.

It will help the state meet the governor’s clean energy standard, which mandates that 50 percent of the state’s consumed electricity come from renewable energy sources by 2030.

“The project improves the reliability of the overall grid and is being built to allow for the expansion of the line in the future to accommodate more renewables and low cost generation. The project is anticipated to improve the reliability and reduce maintenance on the Moses to Adirondack Lines,” Power Authority officials said.

“Investing in new transmission to allow more renewable energy to flow where it’s needed is both forward thinking and smart for New York,” Anne Reynolds, executive director of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York said in a statement. “The fact that this project is moving forward is welcome news for the renewable energy industry.”

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced last week that, as part of the $440 million rebuild of the Moses-Adirondack transmission artery, 78 of the 86 miles on each of two transmission lines will be replaced.

They were built by the federal government in 1942 and acquired by the Power Authority in 1953. The transmission lines, the Power Authority’s oldest in the state, run from Massena to a substation in the town of Croghan.

When completed, the Smart Path project will run through St. Lawrence and Lewis counties and provide renewable energy, including low-cost hydropower from the Power Authority’s St. Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt Power Project in Massena and power from newly built wind farms, solar power projects and other large-scale renewable energy sources.

Power Authority President and CEO Gil C. Quiniones said in a statement that the new modernized transmission lines “will ensure the continued reliability of New York’s power system and help make Governor Cuomo’s Clean Energy Highway vision a reality, by linking more new renewable energy sources to the grid.”

All construction is expected to take place on existing rights-of-way in order to minimize the impact on the environment and adjacent property and landowners. The project will also pursue an expedited permitting approach available to upgrades that do not expand rights-of-way.

Officials say construction is expected to begin in 2019 and take four years to complete.

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