Underwater line would take power to New York – The Globe and Mail

Toronto company’s plan for underwater transmission line to take Canada hydropower to NYC.

TDI’s key project is a $3.8-billion underwater power transmission line that would run 570 kilometres, bringing electricity from Quebec – and possibly Labrador – to New York City. A 100-km spur would run up Long Island Sound to Connecticut. For most of the route, the cable would be buried along the bottom of Lake Champlain, then down the Hudson River, with small portions buried along railway lines to avoid disturbing PCB-laden underwater sections.

via Underwater line would take power to New York – The Globe and Mail.

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Blogger now on National Grid’s smart[er] grid

[Update 9/12/2009] With the help of tenacious Schenectady Daily Gazette reporter Ameerah Cetawayo, this chagrined blogger has learned he’s actually got a not-so-dumb meter at his house, which keeps track of, apparently, only time of use. It’s a step in the right direction, I still think, as it should motivate my household to use electricity during off-peak times. But, no bells and whistles appear to be in store. I won’t be able to watch real time displays of my usage.

August 18

This blogger has been chronicling his attempts to hop aboard the “smart grid” bandwagon. Well it finally happened August 12, after my July 20 inquiry for a status update of my request. On that date, National Grid appears to have installed a new “smart meter” on my house. (I say “appears” only because no one told me it was going to be installed; I found out only because I received a signed agreement from National Grid in the mail and went and checked the meter.)

It took some time to get-r-done, but I do realize that National Grid is attempting to roll out a wider program in the upstate New York area and beyond.

While more updates will follow, I note that as a consumer I do find it frustrating that I am not aware -yet at least- of any way to obtain usage information other than by going outside my house and looking at the meter. This analog solution to a seemingly digital issue seems a bit archaic.

As of March 2009 the SC1C rate program entails the following hours:

RATE PERIODS: Summer (June, July, August) Winter (December, January, February) Off-Season (March, April, May, September, October, November)
On Peak
  • 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., weekdays
  • 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., weekdays
  • N/A
Shoulder Peak
  • 8:00 a.m., to 11:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., to 8:00 p.m., weekdays
  • 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., weekdays
  • N/A
Off Peak
  • 8:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m., weekdays
  • All hours, weekends
  • Independence Day
  • 8:00 p.m. to 9:00 a.m., weekdays
  • All hours, weekends
  • Christmas and New Year’s
  • N/A
Off Season
  • N/A
  • N/A
  • All hours of all days

So it would appear that I (well, my family is engaged in this process as well) have a few days left of experiencing smart grid benefits (or pain) before moving to the off-season.

While I do understand that fall and spring traditionally experience less energy use than summer and winter, why would it not be compelling, if incenting consumer behavior is necessary to help control load requirements, to continue peak, shoulder peak and off-peak hours in these “off” months?

[Updated 8/18:  See related 8/18 Times Union article about public details of National Grid’s smart grid plan: “National Grid told to reveal details : PSC says utility cannot withhold financial info regarding “smart grid” plan”]

NYISO interconnection queue wind projects

As of April 8, 2009, seventy wind projects are in the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) interconnection queue, accounting for (summer) nameplate generation capacity of nearly 9,200 megawatts (1400 of which result from the offshore LIPA project). Of these projects:

  • 11 are in service (See NYISO press release of 4/22 indicating that over 1200 MW are in operation, having grown by 300% over the last year)
  • the average size is 131.4 megawatts
  • the smallest is 9 MW; the largest (besides the LIPA offshore project) stands at 601 MW.
  • Electricity market zone A (West) has the most projects (21), including those in Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Niagara and Wyoming counties (wondering where New York’s load zones are? Look no further.)

The projects in the queue, sorted by county location, are:

Project & county (Owner/developer) [Summer MW] {Planned in-service}

  • Ashford Wind in Cattaraugus, NY (Ashford Wind Farm, LLC) [19.9] {2009/12}
  • Allegany Wind in Cattaraugus, NY (Allegany Wind, LLC) [79] {2010/10}
  • Machias I in Cattaraugus, NY (Machias Wind Farm, LLC) [79.2] {2010/12}
  • Allegany Windpark in Cattaraugus, NY (Noble Allegany Windpark, LLC) [100.5] {2009/12}
  • Farmersville Windpark in Cattaraugus, NY-PA (Noble Environmental Power, LLC) [100] {2010/12}
  • Pomfret in Chautauqua, NY (Horizon Wind Energy, LLC) [73.5] {2010/12}
  • Arkwright Summit Wind Farm in Chautauqua, NY (New Grange Wind Farm, LLC) [79.2] {2010}
  • Ball Hill Windpark in Chautauqua, NY (Noble Environmental Power, LLC) [90] {2009/Q3}
  • Concord Wind in Chautauqua, NY (Babcock & Brown LP) [101.2] {2011/09}
  • Ripley-Westfield Wind in Chautauqua, NY (Babcock & Brown LP) [124.8] {2009/12}
  • State Line Wind in Chautauqua, NY (Babcock & Brown LP) [124.8] {2010/12}
  • State Line Wind II in Chautauqua, NY (Babcock & Brown LP) [124.8] {2011/12}
  • Windhorse Beekmantown in Clinton, NY (Windhorse Power LLC) [19.5] {2009/02}
  • Ellenburg II Windfield in Clinton, NY (Noble Environmental Power, LLC) [21] {2009}
  • Clinton II Windfield in Clinton, NY (Noble Environmental Power, LLC) [21] {I/S}
  • Clinton Windfield in Clinton, NY (Noble Environmental Power, LLC) [79.5] {I/S}
  • Ellenburg Windfield in Clinton, NY (Noble Environmental Power, LLC) [79.5] {I/S}
  • Marble River Wind Farm in Clinton, NY (Marble River, LLC) [84] {2009/Q3}
  • Altona Windfield in Clinton, NY (Noble Environmental Power, LLC) [99] {I/S}
  • Marble River II Wind Farm in Clinton, NY (Marble River, LLC) [132.3] {2009/Q3}
  • Harrigan Hill Wind in Clinton-Ellenburg, NY (Noble Environmental Power, LLC) [100.5] {2011/09}
  • Crown City Wind Farm in Cortlant, NY (Air Energie TCI, Inc.) [90] {2011/12}
  • Moresville Energy Center in Delaware, NY (Moresville Energy LLC) [99] {2009/12}
  • Steel Winds II in Erie, NY (Steel Winds, LLC) [45] {2009/12}
  • Chateaugay II Windpark in Franklin, NY (Noble Chateaugay Windpark II, LLC) [19.5] {2009/10}
  • Jericho Rise Wind Farm in Franklin, NY (Jericho Rise Wind Farm, LLC) [79.2] {2009-2011}
  • Chateaugay Windpark in Franklin-Clinton, NY (Noble Chateaugay Windpark, LLC) [106.5] {I/S}
  • Tonawanda Creek Wind in Genesee, NY (Tonawanda Creek Wind, LLC) [75] {2010/11}
  • Alabama Ledge Wind Farm in Genesee, NY (Alabama Ledge Wind Farm, LLC) [79.2] {2009-2011}
  • GenWy Wind Farm in Genesee, NY (GenWy Wind, LLC) [478.5] {2009/12}
  • Jordanville Wind in Herkimer, NY (Jordanville Wind, LLC) [80] {2009/12}
  • Orion Energy NY I in Herkimer, NY (BP Alternative Energy NA, Inc.) [100] {None}
  • Fairfield Wind Project in Herkimer, NY (PPM Energy/Atlantic Renewable) [120] {2009/12}
  • Clayton Wind in Jefferson, NY (PPM Energy, Inc.) [126] {2010/12}
  • St. Lawrence Wind Farm in Jefferson, NY (AES-Acciona Energy NY, LLC) [130] {2009/12}
  • Cape Vincent in Jefferson, NY (BP Alternative Energy NA, Inc.) [210] {2009/Q4}
  • Dutch Gap Wind in Jefferson, NY (PPM Energy, Inc) [250] {2010/12}
  • Hounsfield Wind in Jefferson, NY (Babcock & Brown LP) [268.8] {2010/09}
  • Tug Hill in Lewis, NY (PPM Roaring Brook, LLC / PPM) [78] {2009/12}
  • Flat Rock Wind Power in Lewis, NY (Flat Rock Wind Power, LLC) [321] {I/S}
  • Leicester Wind in Livingston, NY (Air Energie TCI, Inc.) [57] {2011/12}
  • Cody Rd in Madison, NY (Green Power) [9] {None}
  • West Hill Windfarm in Madison, NY (NY Windpower, LLC) [37.5] {2009/11}
  • Munnsville in Madison, NY (Airtricity Munnsville Wind Farm, LLC) [40] {2012/10}
  • Madison Wind II in Madison, NY (Horizon Wind Energy, LLC) [79.2] {2012/12}
  • Hamlin Wind Farm in Monroe, NY (Hamlin Wind, LLC) [80] {2011/12}
  • Winergy NYC Wind Farm in New York, NY (Winergy Power, LLC) [601] {2015/01}
  • Niagara Shore Wind in Niagara, NY (Niagara Shore Winds, LLC) [70.5] {2010/11}
  • Offshore Wind in NY – Suffolk, NY (Con Edison/LIPA) [1400] {2020/01}
  • Cherry Valley Wind Power in Otsego, NY (Reunion Power, LLC) [70] {2009/Q4}
  • SII Rotterdam Junction in Rotterdam, NY (Schenectady International, Inc.) [9.3] {TBD}
  • Schoharie Highlands in Schoharie, NY (RP Wind NY, LLC) [70] {2010/01}
  • Stone Church Wind in St. Lawrence, NY (Atlantic Wind, LLC) [150] {2011/12}
  • Canandaigua II in Steuben, NY (UPC Wind Management, LLC) [42.5] {I/S}
  • Steuben Wind in Steuben, NY (EC&R Northeast, LLC) [50] {2010/11}
  • Howard Wind in Steuben, NY (Howard Wind, LLC) [62.5] {2009}
  • Canandaigua Wind Farm in Steuben, NY (UPC Wind Management, LLC) [82.5] {I/S}
  • Canisteo Hills Windfarm in Steuben, NY (Invenergy NY, LLC) [148.5] {2009/12}
  • LI Cable – Phase 2a in Suffolk, NY (Long Island Cable, LLC) [220] {2015/01}
  • LI Cable – Phase 1 in Suffolk, NY (Long Island Cable, LLC) [440] {2014/01}
  • Dean Wind in Tioga – Schuyler, NY (Gamesa Energy USA, LLC) [150] {2009/12}
  • Bliss II Windfield in Wyoming, NY (Noble Environmental Power, LLC) [28.5] {I/S}
  • Bliss Windfield in Wyoming, NY (Noble Environmental Power, LLC) [72] {I/S}
  • High Sheldon Windfarm in Wyoming, NY (Sheldon Energy, LLC) [112.5] {2009/02}
  • Dairy Hills Wind Farm in Wyoming, NY (Dairy Hills Wind Farm, LLC) [120] {2009/11}
  • Wethersfield 230kV in Wyoming, NY (Noble Wethersfield Windpark, LLC) [126] {I/S}
  • Stony Creek Wind Farm in Wyoming, NY (Stony Creek Wind Farm, LLC) [142.5] {2010/01}
  • Prattsburgh Wind Park in Yates, NY (Windfarm Prattsburgh, LLC) [55.5] {2009/11}
  • Prattsburgh Wind Farm in Yates, NY (ECOGEN, LLC) [79.5] {None}
  • Western Door Wind in Yates, NY (Western Door Wind, LLC) [100] {2010/10}

At least 38 wind projects have been withdrawn from the queue.

Source: NYISO 4/8. More on New York’s wind parks may be found here.

New York wind power updates

First Wind secures loan for Cohocton Wind project.

First Wind, an independent North American wind power developer, today announced that it has secured a non-recourse term loan from HSH Nordbank AG and NORD/LB for its 125 megawatt (MW) Cohocton Wind power project in Cohocton, NY [in operation since January 2009]. This is the first non-recourse term loan extended for a project utilizing wind turbine power generators produced by Clipper Windpower. First Wind, 4/1

The New York Regional Interconnect (NYRI) suspends NY Public Service Commission (PSC) transmission line application, citing Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) decision not to review its recent decision approving the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) transmission tariff. Per NYRI, that decision made making and operating the proposed 190-mile line uneconomic. Letter from NYRI CEO

GE capital infusion to Noble Environmental Power, per the two companies:

[Noble]  has received long-term capital for its 330-megawatt wind power projects in western and northern New York state. GE Energy Financial Services, a unit of GE (NYSE: GE), invested more than $200 million in the portfolio, which includes the Noble Altona, Chateaugay and Wethersfield Windparks. A syndicate of banks and financial institutions provided long-term debt, including letters of credit, totaling approximately $440 million. GE 4/6

North Harmony looking at wind law. Post Journal 4/5

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar touts offshore wind‘s potential:

“More than three-fourths of the nation’s electricity demand comes from coastal states and the wind potential off the coasts of the lower 48 states actually exceeds our entire U.S. electricity demand,” Salazar told a summit meeting of 25X’25 America’s Energy Future, a group working to lower America’s carbon emissions. DOI 4/2 See also http://www.doi.gov/ocs.

This blogger attended last week’s terrifically interesting MIT offshore wind technology workshop and left a believer in the potential of offshore wind to contribute to the nation’s energy mix.  Whether the turbines are anchored to the ocean floor or suspended in the water with buoyancy, offshore offers some significant advantages over on-shore projects including proximity to coastal load centers and NIMBY avoidance. If DOI and FERC can learn to work together, costs can be reduced some, and (especially in the case of monopile turbines) construction vessels built, we may be poised for an explosion of offshore wind activity. Nice write up of the workshop at RenewableEnergyWorld.com; and a video here.

Wind energy developments in NYS and the USA

New York wind developments

Proposed Fresh Kills (Staten Island) wind farm update. Staten Island Advance 3/16

Consolidated Edison and Long Island Power Authority announce plan to take 350-700 MW offshore project planning the next step. LIPA and Con Edison will work with the state, the New York Power Authority, New York City, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and the Port Authority to issue a request for expressions of interest (RFEI) for off-shore wind development.  Con-Ed 3/23

NYISO, New York’s electric grid operator, asks Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to allow Limited Energy Storage Resources (LESR) – which includes battery and flywheel technologies – to provide the “regulation” service needed to balance electrical supply and demand on the grid. NYISO is requesting FERC to approve changes in the NYISO tariff to permit LESRs to provide regulation service by mid-May 2009. NYISO 3/24

More on Governor Paterson’s apparent interest in scaling back the 10-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) to reduce carbon emissions. Albany Times Union 3/23 More on RGGI here at NYSERDA’s website.

State has mixed success making goal of having renewables (the Renewable Portfolio Standard or RPS) be substantial part of energy consumption mix. Associated Press in Newsday 3/22

Schenectady-based GE shoots for five-fold increase in European turbine sales in 2009. Reuters 3/16

USA wind developments

Acting FERC chair favors enhanced national transmission line system. Wall Street Journal 3/19

With a hyperbolic headline about hypobaric trauma, this article discusses how research from Iberdrola Renewables suggests cutting off turbines at low wind speeds may result in fewer bat deaths. Washington Times 3/23

New report released by the Ernest Orlando Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and National Renewable Energy Laboratory for wind developers.

The purpose of this report is to both quantitatively and qualitatively analyze, from the project developer/owner perspective, the choice between the PTC and the ITC (or equivalent cash grant) for a number of different renewable power technologies.

LBNL and NREL (by Mark Bolinger, Ryan Wiser, Karlynn Cory and Ted James), March 2009

U.S. Appeals Court reins in FERC on transmission siting

In a case consolidated from four actions initiated in the Second, D.C. and Fourth Circuits, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit issued a ruling that scales back the asserted authority of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to issue permits for the construction or modification of electric transmission facilities in areas designated as “national interest corridors”.

Under Section 216 of the Federal Power Act (FPA), as modified by the 2005 Energy Policy Act, FERC has permitting jurisdiction when a state commission has “withheld approval [of a permit application] for more than 1 year.” FERC passed a regulation implementing section 216 of the FPA whereby it asserted permitting jurisdiction  where state regulators deny permits within a year of receiving an application. That rule was challenged as too broad.

The decision boiled down to one’s (well really to three federal judges’) view of the meaning of the word “withheld”. In a decision sure to please the good people at the oft-cited Merriam Webster’s, two of three judges believed that “withheld approval for more than 1 year” could not possibly be considered to mean “denied within one year”. The dissenting judge believed just as forcefully that such an interpretation was possible. But he lost.

(Federal environmental issues discussed and decided in the case are left for other observers.)

The case has acute relevance in New York, as the New York Regional Interconnect (NYRI), a proposed 190-mile upstate-to-down transmission line in a “national interest corridor”, is currently under review at the New York Public Service Commission (PSC). If the PSC fails to approve (and does not deny) the application by August 7, 2009 (mark your calendars!), the FERC can assert its permitting jurisdiction. Under the appeals court decision, if the PSC denies the application within one year of submission  for legitimate reasons, the denial ostensibly stands, and will not be subject to FERC’s claiming jurisdiction because of the denial.

This Albany-located blogger does not know whether FERC will appeal to the Supreme Court. Considering the Obama Administration’s apparent emphasis on renewable energy, and the absolute necessity of bolstering the nation’s electricity grids if renewables are to be added in substantial measure to the power mix, an appeal seems possible. Or, if Congress’ intent was actually to give FERC this wide latitude (or better, if the current Congress’ intent is to do that), a change to the underlying federal legislation seems possible as well.

The February 18, 2009 decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit consolidates the following cases: Piedmont Environmental Council v. FERC (No. 07-1651), Public Service Commission of New York v. FERC (No. 07-1864), Minnesota Public Utilities Commission v. FERC, (No. 07-1865), and Communities Against Regional Interconnect v. FERC (No. 07-1866)

New York state wind energy updates

[you lose power for a few days and look what happens while you’re away!]

From recent press reports and the blogosphere:

Town of Charlotte (Chautauqua County) plans for First Wind project to advance. The Post-Journal, 12/11

Horizon Wind delays Marble River wind farm project (Town of Ellenburg and Hamlet of Churubusco, Clinton County) construction until 2010, due to state, local and market issues.  PressRepublican.com, 12/17

Newly-formed Town of Clayton (Jefferson County) Wind Law Review Committee intends currently exclusively to have closed meetings. Watertown Daily Times, 12/11

Sullivan County Community College (Loch Sheldrake, Town of Fallsburg) proposed turbine challenged in court by neighbor. Times Herald-Record, 12/11

Galloo Island (Jefferson County) wind farm transmission line route proposed to be changed.  Watertown Daily Times, 12/16. Information from developer Upstate NY Power here.

Town of Holland (Erie County) adopts six-month wind energy facilities siting moratorium. Buffalo News, 12/12

Town of Pomfret (Chautauqua County) schedules 1/14/2009 hearing to review Horizon Wind meteorological (met) tower applications. ObserverToday.com 12/13

Balloon tests, showing approximate height of proposed turbines in Town of Westfield (Chautauqua County), postponed. Westfield Republican, 12/11

Wyoming County wind farms advance despite credit crunch. Daily News, 12/13