As Con Edison seeks to go 100 percent green by 2040, it has decided to look to the Big Apple’s outer boroughs to pursue its clean energy future.
As part of its Clean Energy Commitment, the utility will invest approximately $800 million to build transmissions lines in Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island to supply the city with renewable electricity as the Empire State harnesses its wind and solar energy, according to Milovan Blair, senior vice president of central operations at Con Edison.
“These projects will bolster the backbone of our electric grid as we prepare to deliver 100 percent clean power to our customers,” Blair said in a statement.
The Reliable Clean City transmission lines will be able to carry 900 megawatts of electricity, according to Con Edison spokesman Karl-Erik Stromsta. Last summer, the city and Westchester saw peak demand of around 12,000 megawatts.
“So it’s a significant amount of additional transmission capacity within New York City,” Stromsta said via email. “It’s difficult to say exactly how many homes and businesses the lines will power, since each customer has a unique pattern of consumption, and demand for electricity fluctuates based on weather, season and other factors.”
Each of the three RCC projects will be approximately 300MW, according to Stromsta.
The first project is underway in Queens, where workers will install an underground feeder that will run for six miles between a substation in western Astoria and another in Corona, according to the utility. That project is expected to reach completion in 2023. The other two projects connecting Gowanus to Greenwood and Goethals to Fox Hills are due for completion in 2025.
“The ... transmission lines will deliver power from the wider electric system to these neighborhoods,” said Stromsta. “The lines will not bring power from one particular source; rather, their energy will come from whatever is available at a given time on New York’s bulk electricity system, which is run by the [New York Independent System Operator].”
NYISO ensures the power system’s reliability and is working to provide a clean energy future for the state.
“Currently, New York’s electricity comes from a mix of sources, including fossil fuels, nuclear, and renewables (hydropower first, followed by onshore wind and solar),” added Stromsta. “Over time, however, the state’s electricity mix will shift dramatically towards renewables. Under state law, 70 percent of New York’s electricity must come from renewables by 2030 ... These new lines will help to meet those goals.”
Borough President Donovan Richards is eager about the project.
“It’s critical that our frontline communities, who have disproportionately suffered the negative health impacts of fossil fuel-related pollution, be prioritized in our push to expand Queens’ clean, renewable energy network and ensure positive economic and health outcomes for our communities,” Richards said in a statement. “It’s encouraging that Con Edison is investing directly in western Queens ... heeding our calls to double down on renewable energy and move away from fossil fuels as quickly as possible. New York has no more time to waste.”
Queens Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tom Grech agreed.
“Con Edison’s ... initiative comes at one of the most opportune times as the Queens Chamber rolls out its Queens is Green project,” Grech said in a statement. “Working with Con Edison, the Chamber and our members are partnering on the efficient and cost-effective rollout of Local Law 97 to make Queens County the greenest of counties in NYC. We fully support Con Edison on the a trio of electric transmission projects across NYC.”
Local Law 97 establishes that large commercial buildings throughout the city must meet carbon emissions limits by 2024 or pay fines.