Editor’s note: As the country turns from fossil fuel to renewable energy with an emphasis on electricity, the capacity of the power grid is a growing concern. In short, the grid is …
Editor’s note: As the country turns from fossil fuel to renewable energy with an emphasis on electricity, the capacity of the power grid is a growing concern. In short, the grid is congested.
“It’s like opening up arteries,” said Amy Varghese, Clean Path NY vice president for external affairs. “Energy is sitting in traffic. The grid was built in the ‘70s and ‘80s, it was not designed to handle the demand.”
The $11 billion project, part of the implementation of New York State’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), is a public-private partnership between The New York Power Authority (NYPA), energyRe and Invenergy. It is currently moving through the approval process with the New York Public Service Commission.
Working with communities, the project includes renewable energy generation, delivering it underground through existing rights-of-way, and workforce development initiatives, particularly in communities noted in the 2020 census as distressed. (See sidebar.)
It is a statewide project unfolding that is fundamentally designed to be in conversation about how this energy infrastructure investment can be beneficial to the host or frontline communities. The route through Sullivan County will run underground in the Marcy South right-of-way. Designed with two conduits, the line will have the capacity to deliver electricity to the city and to bring electricity upstate, as offshore wind projects get developed. Below, Varghese explains why Clean Path NY believes this project will be a big win for sustainability in the state.
The New York State Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act has set the global bar for climate action, establishing an ambitious and urgent requirement for 70 percent of the state’s electricity to be generated by renewable energy by 2030.
This framework creates a generational opportunity—and a generational challenge—for New York to transition rapidly away from fossil fuels. At the same time, the state will invest in the health, resiliency and economic growth of communities across New York that currently experience the most acute impacts of climate change.
Clean Path NY is our state’s “All Renewable, All New York” answer to that challenge.
Clean Path NY is one of the largest renewable energy projects in the country—combining clean-energy generation, energy storage and state-of-the art transmission to comprehensively decarbonize and fortify New York’s electric grid for the future.
Upon completion, Clean Path will deliver 7.9 megawatt-hours of emissions-free energy annually and reduce fossil fuel-fired electric generation from New York’s electric sector by 20 to 22 percent per year on average.
By 2040, CPNY will have avoided 49 million tons of CO2 emissions—the equivalent of nine million cars taken off the road. Those benefits include significant reductions in the pollutants that have plagued environmental justice communities—nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and particulate matter emissions.
This landmark project represents a comprehensive, statewide approach to decarbonization. It addresses long-standing congestion in our electric grid that has blocked clean power from reaching areas of the state that are currently powered by 90 percent fossil fuel-fired electricity.
The project combines 3,800 megawatts of new wind and solar power with 175 miles of new transmission to significantly decongest and expand New York’s grid capacity and reliability.
By utilizing existing rights of way already used by roads and other infrastructure, the project responsibly minimizes environmental and land-use impacts.
The underground transmission link will be resilient in the face of extreme weather and shielded from security threats—ensuring that our homes, families and businesses have power when it is needed most.
As a public-private collaboration between the New York Power Authority, Invenergy and energyRe, Clean Path NY is a core example of how private- and public-sector investments can come together to tackle the most complex and pressing issues of our time.
Clean Path NY will catalyze $4.7 billion in in-state economic development, create 8,300 well-paying, in-state jobs, save New Yorkers up to $9.9 billion in avoided system costs, and create opportunities for local supply chains to support the fast-growing green economy.
The project will also create a $270 million Community Investment Fund dedicated to advancing workforce and economic pathways into the green economy. It will expand access to public health and deliver solutions in energy efficiency, electrification retrofits, decarbonization and conservation with a focus on disadvantaged and lower-income communities across the state.
By creating and keeping these jobs and investments in New York, we can build an accessible and sustainable economy for generations of New Yorkers.
Meaningful ongoing community engagement is core to Clean Path NY’s ethos and development. The project is committed to working with stakeholders and communities at every stage of the project to ensure that local voices are sought and heard at every stage of the project, for the well-being of communities and the surrounding ecosystems.
New York is on the frontlines of the climate crisis. From increasingly unpredictable growing seasons to ever-more-frequent storms and flooding to worsening air quality—all New Yorkers experience the costs of inaction.
That is exactly why New York’s climate leadership is vital—and why New York’s position as a first mover on bold climate action is as common-sense as it is urgent.
Clean Path NY is an investment in healthy, resilient, economically vibrant communities across the state—for our present and our future.
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