FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

  • Who is North America Transmission?
  • Who is LS Power?
  • Why is new transmission needed?
  • What is the Governor Cuomo’s Energy Highway Initiative?
  • Will the project result in higher electricity rates upstate?
  • Isn’t the Edic to Fraser proposal the same as the NYRI Project?
  • What is the project route?
  • Who will pay for this project?
  • Where is the power coming from?
  • Won’t this only benefit New York City?
  • What approvals are needed?
  • How can I participate?
  • Why don’t you put it underground?
  • What is the schedule?
  • How will the project impact landowners?
  • Will the project create electromagnetic fields (EMF)?
  • What will the economic impacts of the project be?
  •  

Who is North America Transmission?

North America Transmission is a company formed specifically to develop, construct, own and operate independent transmission projects. New high-voltage transmission facilities in New York State is our primary focus. North America Transmission is a member of the LS Power Group of companies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who is LS Power?

Founded in 1990, LS Power is an employee-owned, independent power company with offices in New York, New Jersey, Missouri and California. We are a developer, owner, operator and investor in power generation and electric transmission infrastructure throughout the United States. Since our inception, we have developed, constructed, managed or acquired more than 27,000 MW of competitive power generation and 470 miles of transmission infrastructure, for which we have raised over $22 billion in debt and equity financing. For more information, please visit our website at www.lspower.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why is new transmission needed?

The existing transmission grid in New York State has been designed in recognition of the relative balance of power generation and power demand in the state. Upstate New York is home to hydro, coal, and other generation resources in excess of the local demand, making Upstate New York a net exporter of electricity. Downstate New York is a net importer of electricity. The existing transmission grid in New York State has not been significantly upgraded or expanded in 25 years. The result is the current significant congestion in the state, where electricity prices downstate are consistently significantly higher than electricity prices to the north and to the west. The bottleneck on the power grid occurs at the Marcy/Edic substations in the Utica area. The New York Independent System Operator forecasts that this congestion will persist in the future. This congestion has negative consequences for all areas of New York. Citizens south and east of Utica pay higher prices for electricity than they would otherwise. Upstate electric generation facilities operate less than they would otherwise, which results in lower revenue for those generators. These electric generators are important resources for upstate as significant employers and major taxpayers. In addition, without sufficient transmission capacity, additional upstate generation, such as new clean renewable energy, cannot be developed. North America Transmission identified its proposal in an effort to identify the best plan for congestion relief.

 

New transmission facilities also increase the reliability of the transmission grid for the benefit of all areas of New York State, and provide flexibility for the grid to deliver all types of existing and new resources. New transmission construction provides local area benefits including employment opportunities and tax revenue.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is the Governor Cuomo’s Energy Highway Initiative?

Governor Cuomo’s Energy Highway Initiative is a comprehensive plan that includes 13 different actions to achieve four goals: Expand and Strengthen the Energy Highway; Accelerate Construction and Repair; Support Clean Energy; and Drive Technology Innovation. One of these actions is to “Initiate Alternating Current transmission upgrades to increase the capacity to move excess power from upstate to downstate.” North America Transmission is participating in this process and hopes that its projects are included in the final plan. For more information, please visit http://www.nyenergyhighway.com/.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Will the project result in higher electricity rates upstate?

Retail electricity sales in New York State is deregulated, and the retail price charged by an energy service company for electricity is a function of many different factors including the wholesale electricity price, the transmission and delivery charge, overhead and sales costs, profit, and other factors. Any change in the wholesale price of electricity upstate as a result of the project will be negligible, and would not be expected to impact the retail price charged by energy services companies in upstate areas.

 

Wholesale prices (which are different than retail prices) upstate would likely increase in the near term from the current artificially low prices due to congestion relief. However, in the analysis conducted by North America Transmission, the increase in rates would be a minimal amount. Furthermore, maintaining the existing transmission grid bottleneck in order to benefit upstate ratepayers is not in the best interest of New York State. An analogy would be arguing that New York State should have a law that requires all milk produced in New York State to be consumed in the County of origin. While this would benefit milk consumers in Counties with a surplus of milk, it would harm consumers in Counties that import milk, and would irreparably harm milk producers. While this analogy is not perfect, the point is that perpetuating an imbalance in a market has an overall damaging economic impact.

 

In addition, congestion relief from the project can lead to long term lower prices for the upstate region if new, low-cost generation can be built upstate. Enabling new low-cost generation could have a net long-term impact of reducing wholesale prices upstate.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Isn’t the Edic to Fraser proposal the same as the NYRI Project?

No. Edic to Fraser is distinct from the past project known as NYRI in most respects. NYRI was a 190 mile Direct Current (DC) line, generally paralleling a railroad from the Edic substation to the Rock Tavern substation, with an estimated cost of $1.8 billion to $2.1 billion. Edic to Fraser is an Alternating Current (AC) line, which will become an integrated element of the existing transmission grid, and improve the performance of the existing system. Edic to Fraser is estimated to be less than half the length of NYRI, since it terminates at Fraser rather than Rock Tavern. Edic to Fraser will generally parallel existing transmission lines, which has much lower impacts than having a transmission line parallel a railroad as proposed by NYRI. As a shorter AC line, the estimated cost of Edic to Fraser is a fraction of the estimated cost of NYRI.

Most importantly, due to the different approaches of the two projects, it is clear that the relative impacts of the Edic to Fraser 2 proposal are much lower than the potential impacts of the NYRI project, as summarized below.

 

Edic to Fraser and NYRI

 

What is the project route?

The final route will be what is approved by the Public Service Commission during the Article VII process described below. In its initial Article VII application, North America Transmission identified a preliminary preferred route, which was developing based on investigations of existing routing constraints and existing facilities. Some of the route segments under consideration are identified under the Project portion of this website. More detailed field reconnaissance and outreach will be required prior to refining these candidate routes and identifying the preferred route for the project. In its final Article VII application, North America Transmission will identify route alternatives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who will pay for this project?

The Public Service Commission is having a proceeding to identify the cost allocation and cost recovery methods for Alternative Current upgrades approved under the New York Energy Highway initiative. The underlying philosophy of the cost allocation proposal is that the beneficiaries of the project should pay the costs of the project. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Where is the power coming from?

The existing transmission grid in New York State has been designed in recognition of the relative balance of power generation and power demand in the state. Upstate New York is home to hydro, coal, and other generation resources in excess of the local demand, making Upstate New York a net exporter of electricity. The project will help to more efficiently deliver this existing surplus from upstate to downstate. It also could promote new generation upstate. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Won’t this only benefit New York City?

New transmission construction for congestion relief will benefit all areas of New York State. The area south and east of Utica should benefit from lower wholesale electricity prices. Upstate generators will benefit from more operations. The local project area will benefit from construction by creating construction jobs and sales and use tax revenue. During operations, Counties, Townships, and School Districts along the project route will benefit from property tax revenue. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What approvals are needed?

The primary approval is Article VII siting approval from the New York Public Service Commission. More information on the Article VII siting process can be found under the Article VII Process portion of this website. After the Article VII application is approved, the approval of the project’s Environmental Management and Construction Plan, which includes all of the methods that will be used to ensure compliance with all of the conditions of the Article VII approval, is required from the New York Public Service Commission. Other state and federal approvals that may be required prior to the commencement of construction are the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Section 404 and Section 10 permits, New York State Canal Corporation approval, New York State Department of Environmental Compliance Construction State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System approval, New York State Department of Transportation Highway Permits, and Federal Aviation Administration No-Hazard Determination. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How can I participate?

The Article VII process provides many opportunities for the public to participate. A good summary is provided in the Article VII Process Guide at the Department of Public Service website: Article VII Process Guide

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why don’t you put it underground? 

It is not feasible to put long-distance, high-voltage Alternating Current transmission facilities underground. There are examples of relatively short high-voltage facilities placed in ductwork below streets in urban areas, and relatively short high-voltage cables installed submarine under the ocean or in riverbeds. However, this approach is not feasible for the project due to its distance and electrical capacity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is the schedule?

 

The current estimated schedule can be found under the Projects portion of this website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How will the project affect landowners?

The project will require easements from landowners. North America Transmission will work with landowners to attempt to identify a mutually agreeable easement for the project. For example, Landowners will receive easement payments for the easement, and will be able to continue to hold the rights to the land, subject to the easement. North America Transmission has budgeted approximately $10,000 per acre for one-time easement payments to impacted landowners. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Will the project create electromagnetic fields (EMF)?

The flow of alternating current electricity creates EMF. Measures will be taken to reduce the exposure to EMF from the project.

 

A great deal of data has now been accumulated on the effects of electromagnetic field emissions. The good news is that the science of electric transmission has advanced tremendously and modern power lines are designed to limit EMF. In fact, for the type of line we are proposing, EMF emissions are almost completely diminished 200’ from the line.

 

The State of New York is one of the few states in the country that provides electric and magnetic field limits at the edge of transmission ROWs. There are many household appliances with emission levels that are of much greater concern due the proximity of the user to the source. In June 2002, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Institutes of Health published a report (EMF - Electric and Magnetic Fields Associated with the Use of Electric Power, Questions and Answers) that compiled a list of available studies and summarizes their findings.

 

At North America Transmission we consider the protection of human health and the environment in every aspect of transmission line development.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What will the economic impacts of the project be?

An economic impact study was completed for Edic to Fraser. Appleseed Report for Edic-Fraser The study identifies impacts during construction as well as during operations. The impacts of the project during construction include:

 

  • $138 million in direct and indirect expenditures
  • $90 million in employee compensation
  • $15 million in payments to landowners
  • $9.7 million in local and state taxes
  • $4.3 million in local mitigation payments
  • 650 person-years of employment during construction

 

During the first 20 years of operations, the study identifies $99.3 million in property tax payments to schools, towns, counties.

 

The $4.3 million in local mitigation payments is an allocation in the overall project budget to fund local projects which can mitigate potential negative impacts of the project in the local area. The actual amount of local mitigation payments which result from the project may be lower or higher than this amount.

 

While a study has not been completed to date for the New Scotland to Leeds to Pleasant Valley segment, results are expected to be similar in the local area.