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PSC releases guidelines for transmission lines

Aug 30, 2014 12:03 am
Adam Clayton in the Register-Star reports that some local activists have problems with the new state Public Service Commission guidelines for submitting proposals to upgrade existing transmission lines as part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Energy Highway initiative. Released Aug. 13, the PSC wants resubmitted proposals to be examined on six criteria:
• The amount of increased transfer capability that each proposal offers;
• The cost of the proposal(s) to ratepayers;
• Electric system impacts, emissions reductions, and production cost impacts;
• The extent of any additional rights of way needed;
• The application of innovative technologies to enhance transfer capability or reduce the physical footprint of the project (for example, undergrounding); and
• An initial assessment of environmental compatibility, including visual impacts.
New proposals will be decided by a trial staff, separate from the judges who had preceded over the case until this time, which is where the updated plan gets its name. Now, 90 percent of the costs will be covered by downstate customers, including those in Dutchess County, and about 10 percent to upstate customers, including those in Columbia County. The Hudson Valley Smart Energy Commission, which includes Scenic Hudson, Farmers and Families for Claverack, Farmers and Families for Livingston oppose the current power line expansion proposals, and released a reaction to the PSC’s updated filing. Ian Solomon, head of Farmers and Families of Claverack said, “To date, there has been no independent study taking into account trends in electricity usage, technological innovation, parallel generation and advances in demand side management,” he said. “Instead, the process starts from an assumption of need.... there are currently a multitude of electricity-related projects and applications proceeding simultaneously in New York, each within its own ‘silo,’none being considered in the context of others. To avoid duplicative, inefficient or unnecessary development, there should be a comprehensive state energy policy taking into account all of these initiatives.” The new Advisory Staff Proposal can be found on the PSC’s website, www.dps.ny.gov. Read the full story in the Register-Star.
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