The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the New York Independent System Operator, the nonprofit operator of the state’s transmission grid, are looking to implement a new capacity zone in May, creating a separate energy market for Westchester County and the lower Hudson Valley. The goal is to address reliability needs by stimulating investment of private capital for the development of new energy resources, resulting in significant economic benefits for the region.
The new capacity zone, as well as the continued operation of Indian Point, would reduce the need for new transmission lines. Unfortunately, the state Public Service Commission is opposing the new capacity zone while championing the significant expansion of transmission infrastructure. And the state continues to legally oppose the license renewal of Indian Point, which generates 10 percent of the state’s power, even though the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has given the plant its highest safety rating for nine years.
While some transmission improvements are necessary, they are not the full answer to the challenges being faced. Simply put: the continued operation of Indian Point and new investment in power plants in downstate New York lessens the need for new power lines in Dutchess County and surrounding regions.