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Task force announces update on progress of N.Y. Energy Highway

by jmaloni

Press release

Tue, Apr 30th 2013 03:30 pm

Task force: All actions on or ahead of schedule; will provide up to 3,200 MW in electric generation and transmission, spur $5.7 billion in investment and help ensure clean, reliable, affordable power

The New York Energy Highway Task Force has announced the availability of a progress report - the New York Energy Highway Blueprint Update - affirming that all of the actions called for in the comprehensive blueprint plan to upgrade and modernize the state's energy infrastructure are underway and moving forward on or ahead of the aggressive schedules set for them.

The New York Energy Highway Blueprint, submitted to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo in October 2012 by the task force, includes a wide range of measures to provide up to 3,200 megawatts of additional electric generation and transmission capacity and clean power generation - enough to serve about 3 million homes - through up to $5.7 billion in private- and public-sector investments. The blueprint update reflects the progress to date on each of the blueprint's 13 recommended measures.

"We believe constructing electric transmission and generation, developing renewable energy sources and upgrading electric and natural gas infrastructure can effectively advance the governor's far-reaching initiative to modernize New York's statewide energy system," the Energy Highway Task Force said in a joint statement. "It has been a privilege to serve on the task force, and we look forward to continuing to work with Gov. Cuomo, potential project developers and others, through our respective agencies and authorities, to bring this critical public-private initiative to fruition and ensure that New York stands as a leader in energy development and reliability."

The energy highway initiative, which the governor introduced in the 2012 state of the state address, is a centerpiece of his Power NY agenda, which was put in place to ensure that New York's energy grid is the most advanced in the nation and promotes increased business investment in the state.

The Energy Highway Blueprint proposed 13 specific actions, divided among four major categories:

•Expand and Strengthen the Energy Highway

•Accelerate Construction and Repair

•Support Clean Energy

•Drive Technology Innovation

The announcement of the blueprint update was made as part of a morning panel discussion on the recent progress of several key actions recommended in the Energy Highway Blueprint, at the Advanced Energy Conference taking place in the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan. The panel was moderated by Gil C. Quiniones, co-chairman of the task force, and president and CEO of the New York Power Authority, and included a representative from each task force entity.

Among the highlights on the actions included in the blueprint update:

•The New York State Public Service Commission earlier this month took actions designed to ease transmission congestion, which will help lower electricity prices in downstate New York and support the development of clean energy projects throughout the state; plan for possible major power plant retirements to maintain a reliable power grid; and expand natural gas utility service to homeowners and businesses in New York state to lower energy costs.

•The New York Power Authority board of trustees approved a life extension and modernization program for NYPA's decades-old transmission system in Western, Central and Northern New York.

•The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority issued a $250 million renewable portfolio standard solicitation targeting electric generation projects that will use clean-energy resources to help the state diversify its overall electric energy portfolio.

With these and other actions initiated, the task force's role is complete. The agencies, authorities, utilities, transmission owners and other active participants will now proceed with the assigned specific tasks. Information on these tasks will be available on the websites of the public and private entities designated as partners for each recommendation in the blueprint.

After providing his vision for the Energy Highway, Cuomo named Quiniones NYPA president and CEO, and Joseph Martens, commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, as co-chairmen of the task force to oversee the initiative. Joining them on the task force were Kenneth Adams, president, CEO and commissioner of Empire State Development; Garry A. Brown, chairman of the New York State Public Service Commission; and Francis J. Murray Jr., president and CEO of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

The Energy Highway Task Force created the blueprint after reviewing 130 responses from 85 entities, including investor-owned utilities, private developers and investors in response to its request for information, issued in April 2012. Public comments submitted on the RFI responses were also considered in the development of the blueprint, as were publicly available reports and analyses, and public comment. In April, along with the issuance of the RFI, the task force convened two conferences - an Energy Highway summit at which power industry leaders explored the state's energy issues and challenges, and a conference of RFI respondents and interested parties to present the RFI and answer preliminary questions by potential respondents.

To view the Energy Highway Blueprint and the blueprint update, visit www.NYEnergyHighway.com.

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