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NYSEG seeks approval in New York transmission, distribution upgrades

By: Corina Rivera Linares |

New York State Electric & Gas filed with the New York State Public Service Commission a petition requesting a certificate of public convenience and necessity for an electric project to be built in the towns of Stockport and Ghent, Columbia County, N.Y., as well as a motion requesting expedited treatment of the petition.

As noted in the petition, NYSEG proposes to build the project, which consists of three principal components:

  • A new 115/34.5-kV substation – the Falls Park substation – in Ghent
  • Two 115-kV tap lines running from an existing high voltage transmission line in Stockport to the Falls Park substation (115-kV Tap Lines)
  • Two 34.5-kV feeder lines in Ghent (34.5-kV Feeders)

The company said that since Stockport is outside of its existing electric franchise service territory, the company submits the petition for a “Section 68 certificate” to authorize construction of the western about one quarter mile of the 115-kV tap lines that would be located in Stockport (Stockport 115-kV Tap Lines).

The Stockport 115-kV Tap Lines are the only portion of the project that would be located in Stockport, NYSEG said, adding that all other portions of the project would be located in Ghent, which is within NYSEG’s existing electric service franchise territory.

Since no portion of the Stockport 115-kV Tap Lines is proposed to be built on or through lands owned by the town of Stockport, NYSEG said that it will require no franchise rights from that town.

According to the Part 102 Report filed with the PSC for the two new 115-kV Tap Lines, the project is needed to enhance safety and reliability of electric service by bringing a new source of electricity to the Chatham area of NYSEG’s Mechanicville Division.

One of the sources to the Chatham area, the Craryville substation, which has a thermal capability of 25 MVA, is fed from NYSEG’s Churchtown-Craryville-Klinekill Circuit 984, the report noted. Another source to the Chatham area is the Stephentown substation, with a thermal capability of 37 MVA, fed from NYSEG’s 115-kV line #993 (Greenbush-Stephentown).

Under peak load conditions, the report added, an outage of the Churchtown-Craryville line or an outage of the 115-kV Line 993 between Greenbush and Stephentown will require load shedding to avert system voltage collapse in NYSEG’s 34.5-kV network.

Assuming that the system is operating under contingency conditions, the exposure to either thermal or voltage constraint violations is 4,500 hours – out of a total of 8,760 hours – per year.

Presently, in order to eliminate the thermal and voltage constraint violations under those contingency conditions, as many as 9,900 customers – corresponding to 26 MVA during winter and 31 MVA during summer – would need to be dropped under peak load conditions, the report added.

Construction and operation of the three components of the project would bring a new source into the Chatham area of NYSEG’s Mechanicville Division and would eliminate the need to drop load upon loss of the Churchtown-Craryville 115-kV line, the report said.

In its petition, the company noted that it filed with the PSC in May 2012 an application for a certificate of environmental compatibility and public need to allow it to build a new 115-kV electric transmission line in Columbia County. NYSEG said that it identified the proposed Article VII project as the Columbia County Transmission Project.

The state Department of Public Service (DPS) staff and other parties to the Article VII proceeding in October 2013 filed proposed alternatives to the CCTP, with DPS staff proposing an alternative project comprised of four 34.5-kV electric feeders that would be a combination of new and rebuilt lines over a total distance of about 27 miles, a set of new parallel 115-kV electric transmission lines on a total right of way (ROW) length of about one mile, and a new 115/34.5-kV substation.

The company added that it informed the presiding administrative law judge and the other parties in April 2014 that it was agreeable to engaging in settlement negotiations focused on that DPS staff alternative.

Settlement negotiations concluded in July 2015 with a joint stipulation signed by many of the parties to the Article VII proceeding stating their desire to cooperatively focus their joint efforts to develop and refine a reduced-scope variation of the DPS staff alternative. That variation, as developed and refined to date, is the project that is the subject of the petition, the company said.

The joint stipulation was signed by NYSEG, DPS staff, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, Town of Ghent, Protect Ghent, Columbia Land Conservancy, Inc., and an individual, the company added. The signatory parties to the joint stipulation agreed that NYSEG should pursue development of the project, the company said.

Project construction is planned to begin as soon as is practicable following NYSEG’s receipt of all necessary governmental approvals, the company said, adding that the proposed in-service date for the project is Aug. 30, 2018.

Further describing the project, NYSEG said that it proposes to build the Falls Park substation on an approximately three-acre portion of an approximately 28-acre NYSEG-owned parcel in Ghent. The substation would consist of this primary electrical equipment: a 115-kV ring bus; a 115/34.5-kV 30/40/50 MVA transformer; circuit breakers and ancillary substation equipment to provide for two 34.5-kV feeders; as well as a control and operations building.

The 115-kV Tap Lines would run in a parallel in/out configuration and in a generally east/northeast direction for a distance of about one mile from the existing National Grid 115-kV high voltage transmission Trunk Line 14, located in Stockport, to the Falls Park substation, NYSEG added.

The Stockport 115-kV Tap Lines, which are the western approximately one quarter mile of the 115-kV Tap Lines, is the portion of the project that is the subject of the petition, NYSEG said.

All of the proposed 115-kV Tap Line structures are expected to be single-circuit galvanized steel monopole structures with “Bluebird” 2156 84/19 ACSR conductors on three galvanized steel arms. Subject to final design, tangent structures are expected to range in height from about 70 feet to 93 feet above grade, NYSEG added, noting that corner and dead-end structures would range in height from about 75 feet to 105 feet above grade.

To build and operate that component of the project, NYSEG proposes to acquire a 150-foot-wide easement corridor, all on private land, and would enter into an agreement with National Grid regarding the tapping of its transmission line, including facilities upgrades and points of demarcation.

The 34.5-kV Feeders would run from the Falls Park substation, NYSEG added.

The new and rebuilt feeder lines would be a mix of single and double circuit wood poles, the company said, noting that new poles would typically be 40 feet to 50 feet tall, and in some cases taller to adhere to safety clearance requirements. NYSEG said that it has or would obtain easements for portions of the 34.5-kV Feeder routes on private land, as necessary.

The estimated total cost that NYSEG would incur to build the project is redacted in the petition. The company noted that the project would be included in its utility rate base. The project’s total cost would be included in NYSEG’s cost-of-service rates set by the PSC and would be financed from NYSEG’s operating revenues, the company said.

NYSEG said that it requests an expedited hearing for the petition, noting that the project, as proposed, is the result of a nearly15-month-long settlement negotiation between stakeholders participating in the Article VII proceeding, and as such, issues of contention between the signatory parties to the joint stipulation have been resolved. NYSEG said that it believes its request for a Section 68 certificate will be uncontested.

NYSEG is a unit of Avangrid Networks, Inc., which in turn is a wholly owned subsidiary of Avangrid, Inc., a U.S. diversified energy and utility company created through the merger of Iberdrola USA, Inc., and UIL Holdings Corp., in December 2015, according to the petition. Avangrid, Inc., is an affiliate of Iberdrola, S.A.