Zeltmann, NYPA President, Calls for Strengthened
June 26, 2003
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NEW YORK—New York Power Authority (NYPA) President
and Chief Executive Officer Eugene W. Zeltmann called Thursday for
bolstering the power transmission system as part of a varied effort to
assure reliable, low-cost electricity for the state’s homes and
“Without a strong interregional transmission system, we cannot have a
truly reliable power supply,” Zeltmann said in remarks at a forum on New
York power issues. “We cannot have a truly diverse power supply. And
we cannot have a truly competitive power supply.”
Zeltmann said potential options for overcoming
bottlenecks on the state’s transmission network include upgrades to
existing lines, construction of new lines and use of new technologies.
In certain circumstances, he said, building clean new power plants near
areas of heavy electricity use could ease transmission congestion and
eliminate the need for new lines.
He said transmission improvements, along with clean
new plants and aggressive initiatives to promote energy efficiency,
should be part of a three-part strategy for meeting power needs.
“Clearly, we must focus on providing the regulatory
certainty, the investment incentives and the cost-recovery mechanisms
that will be needed if we are to upgrade and expand our transmission
network,” Zeltmann told the audience at the Marriott Eastside Hotel.
Zeltmann said the coming of competition to the power
industry in New York and other parts of the country has put new demands
on a transmission system that was largely designed in the last century
to meet relatively limited, localized needs.
“Today, we’re asking the network to serve as an
open-access interstate highway for wholesale power transactions,” he
said. “Yet most new transmission currently is being built to serve
local load and to connect new generation to the grid, instead of
bolstering the transfer capacity of regional electricity markets.”
In New York, Zeltmann said, 10 applications to build
major new transmission lines have been filed under the state Public
Service Commission’s Article VII siting process since early in 2000.
While four of the applications have been approved, only one project, an
underwater cable from New Haven, Conn., to Shoreham on Long Island, has
been completed, and it has been prevented from operating by Connecticut
Several of the lines would be local facilities,
linked to individual power plants.
Zeltmann noted that the New York Independent System
Operator, which runs the state’s transmission system, is evaluating
several potential upgrades to existing lines on the most congested
power-supply corridor—between Marcy, near Utica, and Pleasant Valley,
near Poughkeepsie. He also cited potential merchant projects that would
carry power underwater from New Jersey to New York City and Long Island
and along railroad rights-of-way from near Albany to the city.
Meanwhile, Zeltmann said, the Power Authority is
completing work on the world’s most advanced device for controlling
voltage and power flows on existing lines. The convertible static
compensator at NYPA’s Marcy Substation has boosted capacity on the
statewide system by nearly 200 megawatts by strengthening voltage
support. When completed later this year, it will permit operators
for the first time to transfer power from a heavily used line to one
with spare capacity.
Zeltmann said six small, clean power plants that
NYPA installed in New York City two years ago have shown that “new
strategically placed generation on even a modest scale can strengthen
system reliability and save money for consumers.”
He noted that all of the plants are located on the
138-kilovolt transmission system, which is often heavily congested.
But, because they are beyond the bottlenecks, they can send power
directly on to the system for use in a local area, averting power
shortages and reducing costs to consumers that result from transmission
“These plants also provide important environmental
benefits,” Zeltmann said. “They’re the cleanest power plants in New
York City and generally displace generation from older, less efficient
plants in their areas.”