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New York Power Authority OKs initial funding for transmission upgrade

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New York Power Authority OKs initial funding for transmission upgrade

The New York Power Authority has approved $9.1 million in funding for the initial engineering, permitting and licensing of replacement power lines for the planned reconstruction of a key north-south transmission artery.

At a Sept. 26 board meeting, the state public power organization's trustees determined the amount of the first phase of financing for the Moses-Adirondack Smart Path Reliability Project, which seeks to strengthen the reliability of the statewide power grid, facilitate the southbound flow of hydropower from New York Power Authority's, or NYPA's, Robert Moses Power Dam (St Lawrence F.D.Roosevelt) and integrate more upstate renewable energy into the grid.

As part of New York's Reforming the Energy Vision strategy to modernize the state grid, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced in July the estimated $440 million project to rebuild a 78-mile stretch of two transmission lines that run from Massena in St. Lawrence County to a substation in the town of Croghan in Lewis County. The wooden poles supporting the lines were first built in 1942 by the federal government before being acquired in 1953 by NYPA.

"While NYPA’s crews have done a great job maintaining them over the years to keep the electricity flowing, it is now time for replacement and modernization," NYPA Chairman John Koelmel said in a news release. "With this ambitious effort, we are investing in New York's transmission health."

The outdated poles will be replaced by new steel monopole structures, while upgrades will boost the lines' transmission capability from 230 kV to up to 345 kV. NYPA's trustees previously approved $9.4 million for earlier phases of the project. At the time of the project's unveiling in July, NYPA expected construction to begin in 2019 on existing rights-of-way in order to minimize impact on the environment and adjacent properties.