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New Underground Power Line Approved to Boost Rockland County’s Electric Grid and Support Economic Growth

The New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) has given the green light to a major infrastructure project in Rockland County. The Commission announced on Thursday the approval of a $57.8 million initiative for the construction of a new 138 kilovolt (kV) underground transmission line, aimed at preventing future power overloads and fostering continued economic growth in the area.

The project, a collaborative effort between Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc., various New York State departments including the Department of Public Service, Environmental Conservation, Transportation, Agriculture and Markets, as well as the County of Rockland and the Town of Clarkstown, involves laying approximately five-and-one-half miles of transmission lines. These lines will stretch from the Burns substation to the West Nyack Substation in the Town of Clarkstown, predominantly within public roadway rights-of-way (ROW), ensuring minimal visual impact on the community.

Commission Chair Rory M. Christian highlighted the project’s significance, stating, “This new transmission project is good news for the region and its customers. It will help improve reliability and reduce the chances of power outages due to an over-stressed electric grid.” The need for the new power line stems from potential overloading issues with the existing 138 kV overhead Line 702 between the Burns and Oak Street substations. Studies have shown that power flow on the existing line could exceed its capacity in the event of an outage on another line serving the region, with the situation exacerbated by additional loads from proposed data centers in the Orangetown area.

The project is designed to immediately alleviate loads on the existing line, enhancing the regional transmission network’s resilience and reliability of power supply to southern Rockland County. It takes advantage of existing ROWs, thereby avoiding additional visual disturbances.

Public input was sought during two statement hearings held on May 25, 2022, at the Rockland County Seat, New City, where the community expressed interest in minimizing temporary construction impacts. With no parties challenging the joint proposal or the project, the initiative is poised to move forward, marking a critical step in ensuring the county’s electric grid can meet current and future demands while supporting its economic vitality.

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