A few days before its official opening, NY1 got a first look at a new electrical facility by the East River in Astoria.

A nearby highly polluting power plant used when electricity demand spikes in the hottest days of summer will be closing next week, and Consolidated Edison's president and CEO says this new facility will help ensure reliability.

What You Need To Know

  • A new substation will connect with a transmission line, bringing hydropower from Canada to New York in a few years

  • "We are really shaping the future of New York,” Bobby Kennedy, a project manager at Con Edison, said

  • The city's grid is still mostly powered by fossil fuels

“This allows us to more effectively and more flexibly move the power throughout the city,” Tim Cawley said.

Cawley is in charge of meeting his company’s goal of delivering 100% clean power to all customers by 2040.

This new substation is one of the many steps to take to get there.

“It might just look like moving dirt, putting equipments in, but we are really shaping the future of New York,” Bobby Kennedy, project manager at Con Edison, said.

With the ability to carry 300 megawatts of power, this facility took two years to build and cost $275 million. Cawley admits customers are the ones paying for green infrastructure projects like this one.

“You can think about it as a mortgage. This equipment will serve this area and the customers for 40 or 50 years, so the ConEd customer will pay for one-fiftieth a year as they enjoy the benefits of this infrastructure,” Cawley said.

Demand for electricity is set to increase in the next few decades as the real estate and transportation sectors progressively electrify.

This type of infrastructure will be required to meet those needs. 

But for now, 89% of the city’s electricity comes from burning fossil fuels until new renewable sources of energy reach New York City.

Last year, Gov. Kathy Hochul approved a plan to import electricity coming from hydropower plants in Canada. This substation will be ready to carry that energy into Queens homes from Astoria to Corona.

The Champlain Hudson Power Express project is now under construction and is expected to be in operation by the spring of 2026.

The city will also be getting wind power from Long Island in the near future.

And ConEd just received approval to build another substation in Brooklyn to facilitate the arrival of that energy.