By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Energy Weekly News -- Empire State Connector Corp. (ESC) announced it has secured a Letter of Interest (LOI) from a major customer for capacity on its proposed 1,000MW high voltage transmission line from Utica to Brooklyn, NY. This LOI provides the needed momentum for ESC to complete Stage Two of its Open Solicitation process.
The Stage Two process will confirm and allow participants to update or submit new non-binding indicative renewable energy supply offers. Stage Two will also serve as the final opportunity for additional customers interested in procuring physical delivery of renewable energy sources from upstate New York to New York City through the Open Solicitation process.
Confirmation or updated terms for the non-binding indicative renewable energy supply offers received from upstate developers who participated in Stage One of the Open Solicitation will be due by 5 p.m. Friday, December 21, 2018.
New transmission service customers interested in procuring clean, renewable energy from upstate New York for physical delivery into New York City via the Empire State Connector (ESC) will also have until Friday, December 21, 2018 to submit non-binding letters of interest (LOI) to reserve space on the proposed HVDC line.
Completion of the Open Solicitation represents a major step in the development of the ESC, following the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC) order authorizing Empire State Connector to sell transmission rights and services for this project at negotiated rates. ESC anticipates finalizing the binding agreements in the first half of 2019.
London Economics International is serving as the independent solicitation manager for the Open Solicitation. Non-binding Expressions of Interest were accepted through December 22, 2017. Specific information about the process can be accessed at: www.ESCsolicitation.com.
The ESC will support New York State's Clean Energy Standard (CES), which outlines aggressive low carbon power goals for the state's power suppliers. Bypassing the major congested transmission interfaces and delivering directly into the heart of New York City, ESC provides a key piece in the State's energy and environmental solution and ensures the full value of the CES is realized by reducing reliance on carbon-emitting resources in the downstate regions. This power will displace older, more polluting local generating resources, leading to cleaner air in New York City.
"Signing an LOI with a potential anchor customer represents a major breakthrough for the ESC. Given the passage of time, we want to give developers who submitted non-binding renewable supply offers in Stage One of our Open Solicitation the opportunity to confirm or revise their offers," said ESC CEO, John Douglas.
"Additionally, we want to give new customers, including load serving entities, energy service companies (ESCOS), community choice aggregators (CCAs) or other major customers in the greater New York metro area, the opportunity to secure space on the line," said Douglas. "With New York's increasing emphasis on low-carbon and renewable energy resources, this line represents a low-cost solution for many organizations that need to add significant renewables to their portfolios."
The Empire State Connector will create significant upstate economic growth, spur the development and use of clean, renewable energy, benefit New York's electric grid with highly-controllable transmission technology and deliver low carbon energy into downstate regions. ESC's unique underwater route through the Erie Canal and Hudson River will have no visual impact and low environmental impact. It is estimated the project will create more than 2,600 jobs during the three-to-four-year construction period. As a participant-funded transmission project, costs will not be borne by electricity customers, but rather financed through long-term contracts with shippers.
The project holds New York Independent System Operator ("NYISO") interconnection queue position #506 and has completed the NYISO interconnection feasibility study. Preliminary engineering, environmental pre-feasibility study, route surveys and routing assessments have all been completed. A public outreach program is underway, and the company plans to file its Article VII application with the PSC by the end of 2019 with a target in-service date of 2023.
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