New York Regional Interconnect Inc. has filed rebuttal testimony with the New York Public Service Commission in direct response to testimony submitted last January by various parties to the case regarding NYRI's proposed transmission line project. NYRI has proposed, under the PSC's Article VII process for the "Siting of Major Utility Transmission Facilities," a 190-mile transmission line to run from Oneida to Orange County in New York State.
NYRI's rebuttal testimony comprises the professional opinions of more than two dozen witnesses who are experts in the fields of electric system operations, economics, engineering and environmental science.
NYRI's testimony demonstrated that:
- The NYRI project is needed to meet the economic and energy goals of the Obama Administration federally and the Paterson Administration in New York State by enabling increased usage of renewable resources for electric generation while reducing dependence on foreign oil.
- The NYRI project is part of the solution for economic recovery. It will provide an investment of approximately $2 billion from private capital to improve and modernize electric system infrastructure, creating jobs and providing substantial additional tax revenue to local communities.
- The project will further benefit the economy by reducing electric costs in New York in both the short- and long-term by making the operation of the electric system more efficient with improved reliability.
- The project has taken into account concerns expressed by residents and has proposed alternative routes that avoid the most populated areas and that ensure there is no adverse impact on the planned Marcy Nanotech site. Specifically, the testimony reiterates that the alternate route paralleling the existing Marcy South line is acceptable, should it be certified by the PSC.
- The project minimizes impacts to sensitive environmental resources.
NYRI's proposed transmission line will help relieve existing transmission constraints and allow additional power to move more reliably from upstate New York where energy is abundant to areas downstate with high-energy demand. NYRI is the first upstate-to-downstate transmission infrastructure project to be proposed in 20 years.
"NYRI's rebuttal testimony shows that NYRI is needed, that it will benefit New Yorkers by providing more reliable energy often from renewable sources and by offering several economic benefits such as lower electricity rates, jobs and tax payments," said Chris Thompson, president of NYRI. "The NYRI project is consistent with the energy goals outlined by President Obama and with New York State's renewable portfolio standards. We are more confident than ever that the NYRI project will be widely seen as beneficial for New Yorkers and for our collective energy future."
According to comprehensive economic studies by Charles River Associates (CRA) that are included in NYRI's Article VII application, the project will lower wholesale electricity costs throughout New York State, which currently has the third-highest rates in the country. The CRA studies show that, by 2018, the NYRI power line will relieve costly electrical congestion in the state, thereby lowering wholesale rates by 5.7 percent. That translates to an annual savings for New Yorkers of nearly $684 million.
NYRI will also bring significant economic advantages to host communities in the form of reduced electricity rates, some 300 jobs during the construction phase of the project, the local sourcing of goods and materials and the payment of property taxes. NYRI's tax payments to host municipalities and school districts alone are estimated to total more than $30 million annually.
NYRI has gained the official public support of Unions for Jobs and the Environment (UJAE), whose member unions represent more than 3.2 million workers in electric power, transportation, construction and other industries, as well as the National Disabled Veterans Business Council and NYAREA, a New York City-based group.
NYRI's evidentiary hearings with the PSC will begin in Albany on March 16.