Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that the New York Power Authority’s Smart Path transmission project in the North Country is two-thirds complete. Smart Path, an upgrade of 78 miles of transmission lines which span from Massena in St. Lawrence County to Croghan in Lewis County, is one of New York State’s leading transmission projects designed to strengthen transmission lines against weather events and enable the reliable transmission of clean energy from northern New York into the state’s electric power grid. The project will help advance New York’s clean energy goals, as outlined in New York’s nation-leading Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. Construction on Smart Path upgrades began in early 2020 and are on track to be completed next year.
“By reinforcing the backbone of our energy system, New York is helping ensure a clean energy future for our children and grandchildren,” Governor Hochul said. “Smart Path is a leading project in a comprehensive buildout of our transmission system across the state that will deliver clean energy to New Yorkers across the state, advance our climate goals, and supercharge our economy by creating green jobs.”
“NYPA’s Smart Path transmission project in the North Country will provide more clean energy for the state’s power grid, furthering our nation-leading clean energy goals,” Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado said. “Clean energy is the smart path to powering New York’s future and projects like this one will help us achieve a cleaner tomorrow for our children.”
In addition to the Smart Path Project, under Governor Hochul’s leadership, the rebuilding of several other large transmission projects are in progress across New York State including NYPA and LS Power New York’s Central East Energy Connect project which project which involves the rebuild and expansion of more than 100 miles of historically heavily congested transmission lines in the Utica/Albany corridor; New York Transco’s New York Energy Solution which which involves the rebuild of approximately 54 miles of transmission lines in the Hudson Valley and NextEra Energy Transmission New York’s Empire State Line Project which recently completed approximately 20 miles of transmission lines in Western New York.
Several other New York State transmission line rebuild projects, as well as new transmission projects, are on deck for construction and in various stages of the permitting process. These include two new major transmission line projects selected by Governor Hochul last year to help transport clean energy to New York City: Clean Path New York, a project developed through a collaboration between NYPA and Forward Power (a joint venture of Invenergy and EnergyRe) and the Champlain Hudson Power Express Transmission Project developed by Transmission Developers Inc
NYPA and National Grid are collaborating on another North Country transmission project known as Smart Path Connect which will run East-West from Clinton to Massena and North-South from Croghan to Marcy. When completed, the two segments of Smart Path Connect will join the Smart Path project, creating one continuous upgraded transmission line from Clinton to Marcy. The Smart Path Connect project is currently under environmental review with the New York Public Service Commission (PSC). Together these transmission projects total nearly 1,000 miles of new and upgraded New York State transmission lines that will help advance New York’s goal of obtaining 70% of the state’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030 and realizing a zero-emission energy grid by 2040.
NYPA Trustee Eugene L. Nicandri said, “The Smart Path project is a prime example of the important work taking place in the North Country that will strengthen our transmission system for the benefit of all New Yorkers. I commend all the workers who have kept this project on track through the challenges of the pandemic, and I am extremely proud of NYPA’s leadership for the development of this line and its continued stewardship of one-third of the state’s transmission system.”
NYPA Interim President and CEO Justin E. Driscoll said, “I’m proud of the work the Power Authority has undertaken to help reinforce New York’s energy grid including our pioneering work on the Smart Path project. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic and supply chain issues, work on NYPA’s Smart Path line has stayed on track and is now two-thirds complete. This critically important north-south transmission link makes our transmission system more reliable and efficient and I look forward to the project’s completion next year.”
Smart Path Specs
Phase one of the Smart Path project involves rebuilding approximately 78 miles of the total 86-mile transmission artery that was constructed originally by the federal government in 1942. Phase two of the Smart Path project will be completed as part of Smart Path Connect which will upgrade an additional six miles of 230kV transmission lines to 345kV voltage. The Smart Path line was the first asset acquired by the Power Authority in 1950. Running north to south through St. Lawrence and Lewis counties in the North Country, the newly rebuilt lines will connect economical, clean and renewable energy into the statewide power system, including low-cost hydropower from NYPA’s St. Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt Power Project as well as power from newly constructed renewable energy sources such as wind and solar.
Construction of the Smart Path project involves the replacement of the original H-frame wood poles, some of which are more than 80 years old with single steel monopoles in the existing right of way. The project has created hundreds of jobs during construction.
The rebuilt lines will be capable of transmitting up to 345 kilovolts (kV). They will be operated in the near-term at the 230 kV level until the completion of the Smart Path Connect project. This ability to increase the voltage when the demand requires it is a cost-effective way to add on more renewable power, especially from in-state renewable generation, anywhere along the transmission line, as New York continues to advance its clean energy goals.
New York State Senate Energy Chair Kevin Parker said, “The Smart Path Transmission Project complements several other NYPA major transmission efforts in New York. Replacing old infrastructure and reinforcing this part of the transmission system in the North Country will bring us one step closer to achieving the state’s important climate goals.”
New York State Assembly Energy Chair Michael J. Cusick said, “While we focus much of our attention on generating renewable energy and building renewable generation projects across the state, it is important that we remember the crucial role that transmission plays in achieving our state’s energy goals. Without sufficient transmission, renewable energy generation cannot meet its full potential. Today’s announcement demonstrates our continuing progress on large scale transmission projects which will ensure that we have sufficient transmission capacity to reach our goals by providing clean and renewable energy across our state.”
New York State’s Nation-Leading Climate Plan
New York State’s nation-leading climate agenda is the most aggressive climate and clean energy initiative in the nation, calling for an orderly and just transition to clean energy that creates jobs and continues fostering a green economy as New York State recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Enshrined into law through the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, New York is on a path to achieve its mandated goal of a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040, including 70 percent renewable energy generation by 2030, and to reach economy wide carbon neutrality.
It builds on New York’s unprecedented investments to ramp-up clean energy including over $35 billion in 120 large-scale renewable and transmission projects across the state, $6.8 billion to reduce buildings emissions, $1.8 billion to scale up solar, more than $1 billion for clean transportation initiatives, and over $1.6 billion in NY Green Bank commitments. Combined, these investments are supporting nearly 158,000 jobs in New York’s clean energy sector in 2020, a 2,100 percent growth in the distributed solar sector since 2011 and a commitment to develop 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035.
Under the Climate Act, New York will build on this progress and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent from 1990 levels by 2050, while ensuring that at least 35 percent with a goal of 40 percent of the benefits of clean energy investments are directed to disadvantaged communities, and advance progress towards the state’s 2025 energy efficiency target of reducing on-site energy consumption by 185 trillion BTUs of end-use energy savings.
NYPA is the largest state public power organization in the nation, operating 16 generating facilities and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines. More than 80 percent of the electricity NYPA produces is clean renewable hydropower. NYPA owns and operates approximately one third of New York’s high voltage power lines. These lines transmit power from NYPA’s three large hydroelectric generation facilities and independent wind power generation facilities, connecting nearly 7,000 megawatts of renewable energy to New York State’s power grid. This includes connecting more than 6,300 megawatts of hydroelectric power and about 700 megawatts, or more than a third, of New York State generated wind energy to the grid. NYPA uses no state tax money or state credit. It finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity. For more information visit www.nypa.gov and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagra