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?
  • 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?
  •  

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 a development, investment and operating company focused on power generation, energy infrastructure and related investments. We are employee-owned, with offices in New York, New Jersey, Missouri, California and Texas. Since our inception, we have developed, constructed, managed and acquired more than 38,000 MW of competitive power generation and over 565 miles of transmission infrastructure, for which we have raised over $36 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. This congestion is projected to become even worse with the Clean Energy Standard, when clean energy resources such as wind, solar, and even additional use of existing hydro resources such as at Niagara become trapped behind this bottleneck.

To address this problem, the New York Public Service Commission issued an order identifying a Public Policy Transmission Need for AC Transmission upgrades of the Central East and UPNY-SENY interfaces DOCUMENT 20171217 ORDER 13-E-0488.  In response to this order, the New York Independent System Operator is conducting a selection process for transmission upgrades.  North America, jointly with the New York Power Authority, submitted proposals under this process.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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. The currently proposed routes are all within existing rights-of-way, generally rebuilding an existing line.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who will pay for this project?

The Public Service Commission proposed a cost allocation methodology where 75% of the project costs will be allocated to the beneficiaries, based on a calculation of load payment savings over 10 years, and 25% of the project costs will be allocated based on load ratio share.  This will result in approximately 90% of the cost being paid by downstate consumers.  This allocation was filed and accepted at FERC. DOCUMENT 20171116-3043(32535750)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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. 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 length, voltage, 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 has been sited within existing rights-of-way.  North America may attempt to obtain additional easements from landowners to reduce construction costs, for example to obtain better access or to store materials and equipment.  In such cases, North America will work with landowners to attempt to identify a mutually agreeable arrangement.