For the last five years, in an unprecedented undertaking, the State’s transmission owners, including Long Island Power Authority and New York Power Authority, teamed up to produce a long-range plan to identify the infrastructure investments that are essential for New York to adapt to the energy demands of the 21st century. The forward thinking Statewide Transmission Assessment and Reliability Study (STARS) represents a roadmap to a clean energy future through the mass integration of efficiency measures, renewable power, energy storage and modern smart grid technologies.
The STARS report was hugely influential in the development of Governor Cuomo’s Energy Highway Blueprint, which last week, in a little noticed move, began to move forward. The state’s Public Service Commission set the wheels in motion on plans that, once complete, promises to redesign the state’s antiquated electric transmission and distribution system. This once in a generation multi-billion dollar undertaking by the state’s utilities will modernize our power grid and position New York as a global leader in the clean energy economy.
Upgrades to the half-century old transmission system would make better use of New York’s resources, including opportunities for creating significantly more clean renewable energy and addressing transmission bottlenecks – one of the biggest problems of the deregulated energy market. Tackling these challenges represents one of the most effective ways to lower consumer costs, improve air quality, reduce climate pollution and strengthen New York’s energy security.
Here some of the key findings from the STARS report that will be addressed as a result of last week’s decision:
- Bottlenecks in the state’s transmission system impacted consumers by $1.1 billion in 2010 alone;
- 85 percent of New York’s major transmission lines were built before 1980;
- Of the 12,000 miles of transmission lines in New York State, 4,700 miles should be replaced during the next 30 years;
- Approximately $25 billion must be spent during the next 30 years to replace portions of the existing bulk power system throughout the state;
- Approximately $2.5 billion in incremental upgrades and new projects were identified which could be constructed on or with minor expansion of existing rights of way; and
- Of that $2.5 billion, an initial group of $400 million in new projects clearly provide economic benefits and continued reliable service as existing sources of energy phase out due to physical condition, economics or public policy, including a contingency plan for the potential retirement of the Indian Point nuclear plant. Potential to create 12,000 jobs.
Statewide Transmission Assessment and Reliability Study (STARS) [pdf]