Monday, April 6, 2015

Generation AND Transmission

From Joseph Henry's discovery of magnetic induction to Thomas Edison's Pearl Street station and Nicola Tesla's alternating current and George Westinghouse's promise to harness the power of Niagara Falls, New York has a long standing legacy of leadership in the electric industry. The Empire State was home to the first electrical grid and as such, has some of the oldest transmission infrastructure in the country.

Unfortunately, New York is not building enough new generation and the transmission infrastructure has been greatly neglected. More than 80% of New York's high-voltage transmission lines went into service before 1980 and more than 4,700 circuit miles will require replacement within the next 30 years. Upstate New York has a diverse set of generation resources that includes natural gas, nuclear, wind and hydro resources and due to constraints on the existing transmission system, are limited in their ability to satisfy downstate demand.

According to the New York Independent System Operator's 2012 CARIS report, transmission congestion has cost New Yorkers an additional $9.2 billion since 2004. Upgrading New York's aging transmission infrastructure will bolster the reliability of the system, tap upstate's diversified generation resources and allow cheaper, cleaner, more efficient resources to satisfy downstate demand.

Of course NIMBY and professional environmentalist opposition will have to be overcome because they oppose almost all development project proposals.

Within the context of generation and transmission issues, Central Hudson Gas and Electric Corp. was notified Thursday that it lost an appeal in its battle against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission regarding capacity zones.  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second District upheld FERC's capacity zone, which is located in the Hudson Valley swinging down into New York City. The agency regulates the interstate transmission of natural gas, oil and electricity, according to its website.  The changes for Central Hudson customers resulted in a 6-percent increase in residential utility bills and as much as 10 percent for its large industrial customers

New York doesn't have enough capacity, or backup, in its system, FERC argues. If a transmission line goes down there isn't enough energy in the grid to cover it.  More backup is needed, according to FERC, and prices were raised as a result to attract generating plants and create more energy within the system.   (Buffalo News, 3/21/2015)Poughkeepsie Journal, 4/2/2015)

No comments: