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Idlewild Project Frequently Asked Questions

Prior to the John F. Kennedy International Airport being renamed after the former President, it was known informally as the Idlewild Airport. Now, it will be our newest area substation, designed to bolster our reliability and welcome what comes in the clean energy future, taking on JFK International Airport’s former name due to its proximity. This area of southeast Queens, which is currently serviced by the Jamaica substation, is forecasted to be at capacity by 2026 as area residents and business owners increasingly choose clean energy to power their homes and operations, and as major transit hubs expand their footprints with a greater need for electricity.

Substations reduce the voltage of electricity so that it can be safely delivered to customers. Con Edison is not constructing a power plant. The company is proud of its reliability, and substations allow us to maintain quality of service and minimize disruptions to local neighborhoods.

Construction is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2024. The work will entail trenching to bring underground electrical cables through the streets, the construction of the two substations, and installation of new manholes. Con Edison is targeting completion of the project in the first half of 2028.

The Idlewild Project is a proactive, critical upgrade to New York City’s electric grid. Beginning in 2026, local customer demand is forecasted to exceed the capacity of the existing Jamaica Substation. This $1.2 billion investment will create two new substations and a new Springfield electric network to meet the growth in demand in Southeast Queens while enabling the provision of clean energy to homes, businesses, and major transportation hubs. This project will also enhance the reliability of our electric grid for all of our customers.

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As part of Con Edison’s Request For Proposal (RFP) and going forward into the construction process, we are working with bidders and contractors to ensure special consideration is being given to the exterior of the substation buildings so it can fit into the character of the existing neighborhood. The site will have sustainable design features, including a green roof and solar roof, retention for stormwater runoff, and cameras and fencing for safety and to prevent illegal dumping. The building will be storm-hardened to protect against major weather events, and the construction will be built under LEED standards (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).

The project neighborhood is identified as highly flood-prone. Con Edison expects no adverse impacts to the local drainage system or instances of flooding in the community as result of the project. During construction, Con Edison will employ resources including water-soluble concrete, water retention systems, and other materials. The green roof, in addition to stormwater basins, will limit runoff into the local sewage system.

EMFs are present around electrical facilities including transmission lines, distribution lines, transformers, and substations. Electric fields around substations are very low, sometimes less than 0.005 kilovolts per meter, because the equipment inside is grounded, connected electrically to the earth and the substation walls or metal fences act as shields. The new electric cables will be installed underground.

Although there is no sound scientific or medical basis to conclude that EMF causes health effects, Con Edison has taken, and will continue to take, a prudent approach in constructing major new facilities, utilizing reasonable methods to reduce potential magnetic field impacts.

This project will allow for the electrification of the MTA bus fleet and the depots, resulting in cleaner air for the communities of Southeast Queens. This project also supports infrastructure projects and customer-driven clean energy upgrades that reduce the use of fossil fuels. The project is grounded in Con Edison’s vision for a clean energy future by supporting our residential and commercial customers as well as government partners to transition their car, bus, and truck fleets to electric, improving air quality.