Story at a glance
- New York state approved contracts for two massive infrastructure projects that will enable the state to power its electric grid with clean, renewable energy.
- It includes a highly anticipated transmission line that will bring clean energy from Canada into New York.
- The state is trying to phase out its existing fossil fuel-burning power plant which provides nearly 90 percent of New York’s total electricity.
New York state has made a big step in cutting off its reliance on fossil fuels, announcing contracts for projects that will channel clean, renewable solar, wind and hydroelectric power from upstate New York to New York City.
Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) announced on Thursday that the State Public Service Commission approved contracts for the Clean Path NY project and the Champlain Hudson Power Express project. Both are expected to reduce the city’s reliance on fossil fuels by more than 50 percent in 2030, pushing towards the goal of having 70 percent of the state’s electricity fueled by renewable sources by 2030.
New York hopes to have a zero-emission electricity grid by 2040.
Hochul’s office said both projects are expected to deliver $5.8 billion in overall societal benefits statewide and $8.2 billion in economic developments across the state.
By establishing a contract for Clean Path NY, the state is moving forward on an infrastructure plan that’s comprised of more than 20 wind and solar generation projects, including a 175-mile underground transmission line. It’s supposed to enable New York to deliver more than 7.5 million megawatt-hours of emissions-free energy every year.
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The Champlain Hudson Power Express project is a highly anticipated transmission line that will connect New York State to Hydro-Québec, a Canadian electric company that generates close to 100 percent of its energy from renewable resources — meaning there are few or no greenhouse gas emissions.
The project will establish a dependable, all-season source for clean, renewable hydropower and help New York phase out existing fossil fuel-burning power plants which currently provide nearly 90 percent of the state’s total electricity.
Within the first ten years of the Champlain Hudson Power Express project, 37 million metric tons of carbon emissions reductions are expected statewide — equivalent to taking more than half a million cars off New York’s roads.
“Today’s vote is a win for New York and moves forward a project that will create thousands of in-state jobs, reduce harmful pollutants, and invest nearly $189 million in protecting our environment, our neighborhoods, and our planet – all while delivering renewable, reliable, power,” said Donald Jessome, CEO of Transmission Developers, one of the companies involved in the project, in a statement.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) says getting approval to establish new transmission lines is one of the biggest challenges facing the country’s power grid. Many of the existing transmission and distribution lines were constructed in the early 1900’s and now must be replaced or upgraded.
New power lines are not only needed to maintain electric grids but also to provide links to new renewable energy generation resources — like wind and solar power, which are often located far from where electricity demand is concentrated.
In January, EIA announced that it expected solar power to account for nearly half of new U.S. electricity generating capacity this year alone. Most planned solar additions expected in 2022 will be in Texas at 28 percent of the national total, followed by California.
Wind power is also expected to grow this year, with EIA noting about half of 2022’s wind capacity additions will be in Texas. Last month, Oklahoma announced one of the largest wind farms built in North America was up and running, providing wind power to customers in the state and to neighboring Arkansas and Louisiana.
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