Clean, renewable energy for New Yorkers via the Empire State Connector

Written By: Jen Neville
November 26, 2018

New York Clean Energy

Empire State Connector Corp. recently announced it had secured a Letter of Interest from a major customer for capacity on its proposed 1,000MW high voltage transmission line from Utica to Brooklyn, NY. This LOI provided the needed momentum for ESC to complete Stage Two of its Open Solicitation process.

The Stage Two process would confirm and allow participants to update or submit new non-binding indicative renewable energy supply offers and would also serve as the final opportunity for additional customers interested in procuring physical delivery of renewable energy sources from upstate New York to New York City through the Open Solicitation process.

Confirmation or updated terms for the non-binding indicative renewable energy supply offers received from upstate developers who participated in Stage One of the Open Solicitation would be due by 5 p.m. Friday, December 21, 2018. New transmission service customers interested in procuring clean, renewable energy from upstate New York for physical delivery into New York City via the Empire State Connector would also have until the same time to submit non-binding letters of interest to reserve space on the proposed HVDC line.

Completion of the Open Solicitation represents a major step in the development of the ESC, following the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's order authorizing Empire State Connector to sell transmission rights and services for this project at negotiated rates. ESC anticipates finalizing the binding agreements in the first half of 2019.

The ESC would support New York State's Clean Energy Standard, which outlined aggressive low carbon power goals for the state's power suppliers. Bypassing the major congested transmission interfaces and delivering directly into the heart of New York City, ESC would provide a key piece in the State's energy and environmental solution and would ensure that the full value of the CES is realized by reducing reliance on carbon-emitting resources in the downstate regions. This power would displace older, more polluting local generating resources, leading to cleaner air in New York City.

"Signing an LOI with a potential anchor customer represents a major breakthrough for the ESC. Given the passage of time, we want to give developers who submitted non-binding renewable supply offers in Stage One of our Open Solicitation the opportunity to confirm or revise their offers," stated ESC CEO, John Douglas.

"Additionally, we want to give new customers, including load serving entities, energy service companies, community choice aggregators or other major customers in the greater New York metro area, the opportunity to secure space on the line," added Douglas. "With New York's increasing emphasis on low-carbon and renewable energy resources, this line represents a low-cost solution for many organizations that need to add significant renewables to their portfolios."

The Empire State Connector would create significant upstate economic growth, spur the development and use of clean, renewable energy, benefit New York's electric grid with highly-controllable transmission technology and deliver low carbon energy into downstate regions. ESC's unique underwater route through the Erie Canal and Hudson River would have no visual impact and low environmental impact. It is estimated the project would create more than 2,600 jobs during the three-to-four-year construction period. As a participant-funded transmission project, costs would not be borne by electricity customers, but rather financed through long-term contracts with shippers.

The project holds New York Independent System Operator interconnection queue position #506 and has completed the NYISO interconnection feasibility study. Preliminary engineering, environmental pre-feasibility study, route surveys and routing assessments have all been completed. A public outreach program is underway, and the company plans to file its Article VII application with the PSC by the end of 2019 with a target in-service date of 2023.

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