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NYISO picks NextEra transmission project to ease congestion in western New York

New York ISO's Board of Directors have selected a NextEra Energy Inc. transmission proposal in Erie County to increase access to hydroelectricity, Canadian imports and address new transmission needs in western New York. The statewide grid operator announced on Oct. 17 the Empire State Line project, proposed by NextEra subsidiary NextEra Energy Transmission New York, as the winning bid.

The project seeks to unlock and boost the flow of renewable and hydroelectricity from the Robert Moses Niagara hydroelectric power station and from sources in Ontario, Canada. The board also approved accompanying recommendations by NYISO staff that were summarized in a planning report on transmission policy in western New York.

The Empire State Line proposal includes building a new 345-kV substation in Dysinger, a new 345-kV switchyard in East Stolle and a 345-kV power line connecting Dysinger and East Stolle substations. The proposed Dysinger substation would connect a total of seven 345-kV lines, including two existing lines from Niagara, two existing lines to Rochester, two existing lines to Somerset and the new line to East Stolle Road. The new East Stolle switchyard would be built next to the existing 345-kV Stolle Road substation.

The NYISO staff report explained that the proposed Dysinger substation would become the new 345-kV hub in western New York thanks to the seven 345-kV lines. In addition, the substation would shorten the distance for the existing Niagara-to-Rochester 345-kV transmission corridor.

"The cleaner, greener grid of the future will depend on a modernized, upgraded, and expanded transmission system," said NYISO President and CEO Brad Jones in a news release. "Well planned transmission investments and upgraded transmission capability are vital to meeting the state's renewable public policy goals and to efficiently move power to address regional needs."

NYISO used the Public Policy Transmission Planning Process, which was created by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission under Order No. 1000, to select the project as the more cost-effective transmission solution. The NextEra project came in response to a solicitation for proposals spurred by an October 2016 directive from the New York State Public Service Commission. A previous July 2015 order from the PSC had identified the need to reduce congestion in western New York and facilitate access to 2,700 MW from the Niagara hydroelectric facility and additional imports of renewable energy from Ontario.

The transmission project has a required in-service date of June 2022.

Other submitted transmission projects included four proposals from LS Power Group subsidiary North America Transmission, two from National Grid Gas plc, one joint proposal from the New York Power Authority and New York State Electric & Gas Corp., and one from Exelon Corp. subsidiary Exelon Transmission Co.