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Ground Broken on Smart Path Connect Transmission Project in Northern NY

Dec 19, 2022 - 12:01 PM


Upstate NY

Clean Energy




The ceremonial groundbreaking for Smart Path Connect took place recently near Massena. Pictured from left to right are: St. Lawrence County Legislature Chair William Sheridan, NYPA Northern New York Regional Manager Bryant Bullard, NYPA President of Development Phil Toia, NYISO President Rich Dewey, NYPA Interim President and CEO Justin Driscoll, National Grid Chief Operating Officer – Electric  Brian Gemmell, Jefferson County Legislator and Assemblyman-elect Scott Gray, Massena Town Supervisor Sue Bellor.

Earthmovers turned over the first piles of dirt on the Tug Hill plateau in early November, marking the beginning of construction on one of the most important clean energy projects in New York state. Smart Path Connect, co-developed by National Grid and the New York Power Authority (NYPA), will increase the availability and usage of clean renewable energy across the Empire State while reducing costly system congestion for customers.

The end result of the project will be a continuous 345 kV transmission network that improves deliverability of renewable energy across our New York service area and further hardens against the harsh weather typically felt in this area of the state.

Speaking at the recent groundbreaking ceremony for Smart Path Connect, National Grid Chief Operating Officer for New York Electric Brian Gemmell said: “This project is at the core of our goal to deliver a safe, resilient, affordable and equitable transition to a clean energy future for our customers. It is a step forward toward our goals of decarbonizing the electric grid, reducing our use of electricity generated by burning fossil fuels and tapping into the power of natural resources like hydroelectricity, solar power and wind generation.”

Representatives from National Grid, the New York Independent Service Operator and New York Power Authority gather before the groundbreaking. Pictured from left to right: From left: Brian Gemmell, National Grid COO for New York Electric; Justin Driscoll, NYPA Interim President and Chief Executive Officer; Richard Dewey, NY-ISO President & CEO; Mark Harbaugh National Grid Vice President NY Project Management and Construction; Andrew Byrne, National Grid Commercial Development Director, Clean Energy Development.

Smart Path Connect is a multi-phase portfolio of projects that include the rebuild of more than 100 miles of transmission lines. National Grid is responsible for a 55-mile section of the project between Croghan in Lewis county and the Oneida county town of Marcy, known as the Southern Alignment. NYPA crews are focused on the Northern Alignment, a 45-mile segment of transmission between Massena in St. Lawrence county and the town of Clinton in Clinton county. The 86-mile Moses-Adirondack transmission line, which will be completed in mid-2023, will connect the two. Several substations along the way will either be rebuilt or replaced.

Construction on Smart Path Connect is scheduled to run until December 2025, when the final 345kV line is energized. The project is estimated to cost more than $1 billion, split between National Grid and NYPA.

The primary advantage of the project is increasing renewable energy usage. The Smart Path Connect project will deliver 1,000 megawatts of low-cost hydropower generated along the St. Lawrence River, as well as solar and wind generation in northern New York, further reducing the reliance of carbon-emitting plants. Its environmental impact includes annual reductions of carbon dioxide emissions by 1.16 million tons and nitrogen oxide emissions by 160 tons. Transmitting low-cost renewable energy from the northernmost areas of the state to the more populous areas of our service area during peak periods is often congested due to capacity. Smart Path Connect addresses these concerns and is expected to provide nearly a half-billion in savings annually.

Construction efforts on the Smart Path Connect transmission line includes use of this drill rig.

Smart Path Connect supports the clean energy goals outlined in New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act – calling for zero-emissions electricity sector by 2040, 70 percent renewable energy generation by 2030 – and aligns with National Grid’s Fossil Fuel Free Vision.

“All of this will help bring NYPA, National Grid and our communities closer to delivering on the commitments within New York’s nation-leading Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which establishes ambitious but attainable goals to position the Empire State as a clean energy leader domestically and globally,” Gemmell said.

Steel monopoles will replace wooden H-frame structures. Taller monopole structures create a longer span between poles, meaning less land usage. The high-capacity lines strung along these structures will address congestion issues, while maintaining reliable electric service.

Smart Path Connect will also have a direct benefit to local economies. Nearly 60 individuals were on hand to begin work on the Southern Alignment alone and with more than 300 people expected to work on this segment at its peak, spending money at local restaurants, hotels, gas stations and grocery stores.  Additionally, the steel used for the transmission line towers was sourced domestically in the United States of America.

About National Grid

National Grid (NYSE: NGG) is an electricity, natural gas, and clean energy delivery company serving more than 20 million people through our networks in New York and Massachusetts. National Grid is focused on building a path to a more affordable, reliable clean energy future through our fossil-free vision. National Grid is transforming our electricity and natural gas networks with smarter, cleaner, and more resilient energy solutions to meet the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. 
For more information, please visit our website, follow us on Twitter, watch us on YouTube, like us on Facebook and find our photos on Instagram.

Media Contacts

Jared Paventi

Syracuse (Central NY)

(315) 427-1092

Send an email to Contact 1

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