An upgrade of transmission lines between Oneida County and Albany County, known as the Central East Energy Connect transmission project, has been completed, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Wednesday.
The $600 million 93-mile transmission line project, between Marcy and New Scotland, had 650 new steel transmission monopoles installed, and two new state-of-the-art transmission substations built at Gordon Road and in Princetown, both in Schenectady County. The upgrades aim to allow for increased power transfer capacity and more reliable transmission. They also relieve congestion and enable integration of more renewable energy into the state power grid.
Paul Segal, the CEO of LS Power, said the transmission line from the Mohawk Valley to the Capital Region was congested for decades, affecting how electricity was sent across the state.
“When we build more transmission, we relieve that congestion," Segal said. "We allow those cheapest electrons that are available on the grid to get to the customer and thereby reducing costs."
Those costs are our electricity bills. Justin Driscoll, the president of the New York Power Authority, couldn’t say how much New Yorkers could potentially save on their utility bills moving forward but acknowledged transmission was heavily congested. The project also makes the energy system more resilient, which is important when extreme weather events hit New York.
“For example, lose because of a storm, a different transmission line, or if a power plant can’t operate, or if solar panels are obstructed by snow, we can move power from different locations in the state so that we’ll continue to have a reliable and resilient energy system," he said.
Hochul's office said the newly rebuilt transmission corridor can carry nearly five times the amount of electricity as the old lines.
"Upgrading New York's transmission system is key to building our clean energy future," Hochul said in a statement. “This upgraded line from Marcy to Albany was built on time and within budget and will enable more renewables to power New York's homes and businesses. New Yorkers will benefit from this investment in the state’s power grid today and into the future.”
Construction started in 2021 and the upgrades are part of meeting the clean energy goals under the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act that was signed into law in 2019, which includes a zero-emissions electricity sector by 2040, 70% renewable energy generation by 2030 and economy-wide carbon neutrality.
“And the ability to unlock renewable resources that exist in this area that we can then bring onto the grid," said Segal. "Where before this project existed congestion on the transmission grid would not have allowed those projects to get built.”
According to a report by consulting firm Grid Strategies the cost to consumers on the U.S. Power Grid was more than $20 billion in 2022.