New York’s grid operator has warned three energy companies and the New York Power Authority against efforts to lobby or influence its evaluation of transmission projects.
In a Jan. 5 letter President and CEO Richard Dewey said the New York Independent System Operator “cannot, under its applicable rules, select a project based upon political, parochial or commercial interests.”
“Grass roots lobbying efforts and media coverage are simply not part of the NYISO’s evaluation of the more efficient or cost-effective solution to (Public Policty Transmission Needs) identified by the (New York) Public Service Commission,” he said. “Letters received recently from lawmakers, trade organizations, labor organizations and others in support of specific PPTN projects necessitates this clarification.
The letter, first reported by Politico, was addressed to Richard Allen, president of NextEra Energy Transmission New York, NEETNY; Victor Mullin, president of New York Transco; Justin Driscoll, interim president and CEO of the New York Power Authority; and Paul Segal, CEO of LS Power.
Dewey did not mention a specific lobbying effort, but NextEra Energy Transmission has posted on its website testimonials for “NextEra Energy Transmission New York,” its proposal to build and operate transmission to support wind power off Long Island. It displayed letters of support from unions, elected officials, municipalities and business and environmental groups.
Allen said Monday in an emailed statement that NextEra Energy Transmission officials “always reach out early to the local community and key stakeholders to explain the project need, gather feedback and establish an ongoing dialogue so that if our proposal is selected for construction, we can quickly begin engaging with local partners to incorporate their input.”
“NextEra Energy Transmission New York is grateful to be a participant in the New York Independent System Operator’s Public Policy Transmission Needs process, and we are committed to continue following the processes they have set forth,” he said.
Assemblyman Michael J. Cusick, chair of the Assembly Energy Committee, was among those who wrote in support of the transmission project. He said NEETNY reached out to his office to discuss its pending proposals before the NYISO in response to the Long Island offshore wind project.
A group of five Western New York lawmakers praised NextEra’s work building a 20 mile-transmission line and said they “presume such efforts will be replicated on future projects.”
Tariffs approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission “spell out specific factors and metrics that the NYISO must consider in selecting the more efficient or cost-effective project among competing developers,” Dewey wrote. “Quantitative and qualitative factors” are rooted in technical electric, economic and engineering considerations that include a project’s capital cost, property rights and routing schedule, installed capacity savings and other factors, he said.
LS Power Grid New York and New York Transco also are transmission developers in New York.