Protect Ghent update 11.04.2013

On October 29th, the PSC staff, Ag & Markets, Protect Ghent and Benjy Swett submitted alternative routes for the proposed power lines. The Judge has scheduled a conference call for November 6 for the parties to have a preliminary discussion of these proposals and on November 20 there will be a technical conference for the parties and their respective technical experts to discuss which of the possibilities are feasible. Then site visits will be scheduled for the alternatives in play, and the current schedule calls for hearings beginning in January, during which the parties will put on their direct cases in support of the alternatives they have proposed.

Here is a breakdown of the alternatives (with links to maps and descriptions of the proposed alternatives):

1- PSC Proposals:
The PSC has proposed a low-voltage alternative, and, as a back-up, some changes to the original 115 kv plan. 

PSC Staff’s Low Voltage Proposal
If the low-voltage (34.5kv) alternative is selected, this would mean regular-sized utility poles would run along the map shown.  View PSC Staff’s Low Voltage Proposal.

The PSC staff has stated that this low voltage alternative actually provides more reliability and flexibility than NYSEG’s 115kv proposal.  We are studying this proposal at Protect Ghent, and having our experts take a look at it as well. At first glance, this proposal looks very promising. Although there will be new lines, they will be regular poles and will have much less of a negative visual and environmental impact.

PSC Staff’s 115 kv Alternative
If the Judge determined that a 115kv system is required, the PSC has proposed a back-up alternative, which makes slight changes to NYSEG’s original proposal: Protect Ghent would oppose this proposal, as it is only slightly different from NYSEG’s proposal. View PSC Staff’s 115 kv Alternative.

2 – Ag & Markets Proposal: 
Ag & Markets has proposed a slight variation on the NYSEG proposal. Their sole objective is to minimize impacts to farmland – they do not have the directive to take into account other issues (environmental, view sheds, historical resources, etc.).  Therefore, their proposal moves the line slightly, but leave it basically intact: Though we appreciate the improvements made for the benefit of farmers, Protect Ghent would oppose this proposal as well as it is only slightly different from NYSEG’s proposal and does not address the other resources the line would have an impact on. View the Ag & Markets Proposal.

3 – Protect Ghent’s Proposals:
Protect Ghent has proposed three alternatives below:

NYSEG’s original plan to provide more reliability and backup to the Churchtown-Craryville line, was to create a connection between the Klinekill substation in Chatham and the Valkin station in Valatie.  Protect Ghent would like that proposal reconsidered, because most of the route follows the existing CSX railway easement (and therefore will not require new rights of way and will fall within the cargo rail line).  It does require a mile and a half of new rights of way, which could be short enough to make undergrounding the lines cost-effective. NYSEG had abandoned this proposal because of congestion at the Valkin substation, but we believe this congestion could be handled through upgrades to the existing substation. View Protect Ghent’s Proposals.

Double-Circuiting Churchtown-Craryville
Double-circuiting (which is basically adding another line to run alongside the existing Churchtown-Craryville line as backup) was another of NYSEG’s original alternatives.

Low-Voltage Alternative
Protect Ghent also proposed a reconsideration of the original low-voltage proposal advanced by the Town of Ghent’s engineers at the beginning of this process.

4 – Benjamin Swett’s Proposals:
Benjamin Swett has proposed replacing a failure-prone segment of the current Churchtown-Craryville line under the Taconic with a better line or an overhead line and increasing capacity with a Klinekill-Valkin line.  He also suggested donating the money to build the line instead to a project to buy solar panels as backup electricity. View Benjamin’s Proposal.

We will provide another update after the November 6th conference call.

Please let us know if you have any questions:

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