The Grid Optimization Blog

New York Taking Action on Power Issues

Hopefully these developments will move New York forward in terms of electric supply infrastructure and produce significant benefits for consumers and the state economy.

New York’s electricity grid should be the envy of the nation, but right now in many respects it is a traffic nightmare comparable to the Cross Bronx Expressway during rush hour.  

Surplus power produced in upstate and Western New York is unable to reach densely populated parts of downstate New York because of traffic bottlenecks. The losers, unfortunately, are homeowners and businesses who end up paying more for electricity than is necessary because of congestion few can comprehend.  

There is, however, good news on the horizon. In October the New York State Public Service Commission green-lighted significant improvements to the state’s electrical infrastructure when it approved more than $500 million worth of new power lines and transmission upgrades.

Historically, this move is long overdue. The Ramapo line just approved was originally proposed for expansion more than 30 years ago. While some say things can move slowly in New York, the important thing is that this project is moving ahead now.

And – if you’re in favor of markets and efficiencies – then this project is ideal.

The development of new infrastructure will send clear price signals to energy investors that New York’s markets can be price competitive and  will benefit ratepayers across the state with improved electrical reliability.

The PSC estimates that the new transmissions lines would create $260 million in economic benefits to consumers over the course of 15 years and an astonishing $640 million over 40 years.

Another development is the creation of a new power capacity zone in New York, as ordered by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The zone will incentivize owners of idle and under-utilized plants to ramp up production. This could have a positive economic impact and create a more reliable electric system, while countering the export of jobs and dollars from New York.

Hopefully these developments will move New York forward in terms of electric supply infrastructure and produce significant benefits for consumers and the state economy.

Discuss this Blog Entry 3

on Nov 6, 2013

Timely article and good example for a number of big cities that have access to adequate power but don't have the means to distribute it at transmission/sub-transmission levels.

I assume there's even more pressure to underground with water tolerant switchgear etc. as much as you can after Hurricane Sandy??

Anonymous (not verified)
on Nov 25, 2013

The work is most likely needed and long overdue. However, why is $260M in economic benefits over 15 years so incredible and $640M over 40 years so "astonishing" when the initial contruction costs will be $500M? That is $17.3M per year of benefits at 15 years and $12.5 million in benefits per year over 40 years. At 40 years it is much less "astonishing" than at 15 years. In addition, nothing is said about the cost to maintain the lines up to 15 and 40 years. Please come up with some better examples.

"The PSC estimates that the new transmissions lines would create $260 million in economic benefits to consumers over the course of 15 years and an astonishing $640 million over 40 years."

Jean Jacques Ahounou, PE (not verified)
on Nov 26, 2013

It will be important to verify that the upgrades of the NY power distribution will be implemented.
They should a committee that will verify the designs and implementation and all the new transmission power lines and substations.
Learning from Hurricane Sandy, the committee has to make sure the power networks are backing up each other and that the failure of one power network does not leave neigborhoods, cities and states in the dark.

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