Con Edison Transmission Projects to Strengthen New York City's Electric Grid for the Clean Energy Future
‘Reliable Clean City’ Projects Will Connect Communities to State’s Increasingly Renewable Supply of Power and Maintain Reliability
Con Edison has started building a trio of electric transmission projects that will deliver large amounts of increasingly renewable energy, while helping to enable the eventual retirement of fossil fuel-powered plants and supporting award-winning reliable service.
Con Edison will build the Reliable Clean City transmission lines in Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island, with planned investments of approximately $800 million in the projects.
“The Reliable Clean City projects will connect communities in New York City’s outer boroughs to a supply of increasingly renewable electricity as the state harnesses its vast wind and solar energy potential,” said Milovan Blair, Senior Vice President, Central Operations, Con Edison. “These projects will bolster the backbone of our electric grid as we prepare to deliver 100 percent clean power to our customers by 2040 and fulfill our recently expanded Clean Energy Commitment.”
“Off ramps” for renewable energy delivery
The Reliable Clean City projects will strengthen the connections between Con Edison’s existing grid infrastructure, unlocking a greater flow of electricity across New York City. All told, the projects will add 900 megawatts of additional transmission capacity in areas that need it most, facilitating the transition to a lower-carbon energy system.
Over time, the projects will act as “off ramps” for the delivery of renewable energy generated outside the city, whether from offshore wind farms in the Atlantic Ocean, large-scale solar and wind projects upstate, or hydroelectric power from Canada.
Construction underway in Queens
The Reliable Clean City projects will make New York’s electric grid more resilient and help the state meet its clean energy goals. New York’s Public Service Commission approved the projects in 2021, and they received support from environmental justice organizations.
Construction of the first project is underway in Queens, where workers are installing an underground feeder that will run for six miles between a substation in western Astoria and another in Corona. The Queens Reliable Clean City project is expected to reach completion in 2023.
The two other projects, connecting substations in Gowanus and Greenwood in Brooklyn and substations in Goethals and Fox Hills in Staten Island, are due for completion in 2025.
Enhancing grid reliability in environmental justice communities
New York City is taking steps to phase out its peaking power plants. These plants have helped keep the lights on during periods of high energy demand, but they contribute to air pollution locally and climate change globally by burning fossil fuels. Those impacts are most severe in nearby environmental justice communities.
The closure of New York City’s peaking plants will bring environmental benefits, particularly during summer when air pollution is at its worst. However, their eventual absence presents challenges for maintaining reliable electric service in those same neighborhoods due to constraints on the local grid. The Reliable Clean City projects will contribute to that reliability.
Strengthening New York’s clean energy backbone
In addition to investing in transmission lines that will bring power to customers, Con Edison is strengthening its distribution grid and paving the way for a major expansion of clean energy resources within New York City and Westchester County, including customer-owned solar panels, batteries and electric vehicle chargers.
“Robust electric infrastructure is critical as the energy system evolves toward renewables and we become increasingly reliant on that clean energy to heat our homes and power our vehicles,” Blair said. “We are building a grid that will position New York as a global leader in clean energy and climate resiliency, while ensuring the benefits of that transition flow to all of our 3.5 million customers.”
Con Edison supports the clean energy transition and can play a strong role in enabling the shift. For example, Con Edison is seeking authority to build and own renewable projects in New York to help deliver the state’s clean energy goals at the lowest possible cost to customers, and would use the revenues from those projects to offer further savings to low-income customers.
Through its subsidiaries, Con Edison, Inc., is the country’s second largest generator of solar energy, with renewable projects in 20 states. It recently proposed plans to build an offshore wind transmission network in Mid-Atlantic waters, known as Clean Link New Jersey, and a transmission project connecting renewable resources in northern Maine, known as the Maine Power Link.
Comments from stakeholders:
Donovan Richards, Jr., Queens Borough President:
“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. It’s encouraging that Con Edison is investing directly in western Queens with its Reliable Clean City project, 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.”
Brad Lander, New York City Comptroller:
"The Reliable Clean City projects will provide critical transmission lines needed to continue New York's transition away from fossil fuels. This is an encouraging step forward to actualize Con Edison's Clean Energy Commitment and to build the grid of the future. I look forward to continuing working with energy providers to ensure we meet our climate goals on time and with a laser focus on an equitable transition.”
James F. Gennaro, New York City Council Member, and Chair of the Council’s Committee on Environmental Protection:
“Job one for New York City is to replace polluting fossil-fuel energy with clean, green renewable energy. Renewable energy will yield tremendous benefits to local communities in terms of improved air quality and will benefit our planet with regard to mitigating the disastrous consequences of climate change. Con Edison is on the front lines of our city's renewable energy transformation as it paves the way with its forward-thinking massive local investments in renewable energy transmission capability. I applaud Con Edison for these critical and timely investments, which will increase our access to renewable energy, green our grid, clean our air, and fight climate change.”
Catalina Cruz, New York State Assembly Member:
“I’m glad to see Con Edison take this landmark step to implement its clean energy commitment by starting the Reliable Clean City project in Queens and in my district. Our residents know the harmful effects of relying on fossil fuels to power our homes and our businesses, and we are eager to lead New York City’s clean energy transition. This is an investment in our future, and I will be monitoring it and working with Con Edison to get it to completion.”
Julie Tighe, President, New York League of Conservation Voters:
“We need reliable renewable energy more than ever as New York works toward greening the electric grid of the future. While New York is taking steps to generate enough clean energy to supply the state in line with the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) timeline, New York City needs increased transmission capability to harness our investments in renewable solar and wind. We applaud Con Edison for investing in these projects, which will help to meet the company’s goal of delivering 100% clean energy by 2040.”
Thomas J. Grech, President and CEO, Queens Chamber of Commerce:
“Con Edison’s Reliable Clean City initiative comes at one of the most opportune times as the Queens Chamber rolls out its Queens is Green project. 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 this a trio of electric transmission projects across NYC.”
Stephen Levin, CEO, Solar One:
"We are seeing an unprecedented investment in renewable energy, and Con Edison's Reliable Clean City projects are essential to New York City's clean energy future. These projects will help facilitate closing down the peaker plants that contribute to our overall carbon footprint and adverse environmental and health impacts in neighborhoods across the city from the South Bronx to Sunset Park. We at Solar One look forward to continuing to work with Con Edison and other green partners to deliver more clean energy to New Yorkers."
John Mandyck, CEO, Urban Green Council:
“New York City’s electric grid is on the cusp of a clean energy transformation. Smart upgrades will unlock new renewable power, make the grid more resilient and help phase out the dirty peaker plants that pollute NYC’s most vulnerable neighborhoods.”
Con Edison is a subsidiary of Consolidated Edison, Inc. [NYSE: ED], one of the nation’s largest investor-owned energy companies, with approximately $14 billion in annual revenues and $63 billion in assets. The utility delivers electricity, natural gas and steam to 3.5 million customers in New York City and Westchester County, N.Y.