The New York State Public Service Commission (Commission) granted a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need, by adopting the terms and conditions of a joint proposal to allow the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) to increase the design capacity of the existing 10.6 mile Wildwood to Riverhead electric transmission line from 69 kV to 138 kV.
"This transmission line expansion is needed to increase LIPA's electric transmission capacity to the South and North Forks of Long Island, to increase reliability and to meet the forecasted increase in demand in those areas," said Commission Chairman Garry Brown. "Because the facility will use the existing right of way, no permanent impact will occur on any of the existing land uses along the route. Any adverse impacts are expected to be temporary in nature, related to construction of the project."
The transmission line is located in a right-of-way that runs between LIPA's Wildwood and Riverhead Substations. The line is approximately 10.6 miles and utilizes approximately 170 structural poles.
The width of the right-of-way is approximately 100 feet. LIPA proposed to upgrade the transmission line from 69 kV by installing insulators capable of supporting 138 kV transmission using existing conductors and poles.
A short piece (approximately 300 feet) of underground 138 kV cable will be installed near the Wildwood Substation to transition the overhead line into the Wildwood Substation. LIPA states that no additional property rights will need to be acquired for the project.
The joint proposal described the basis for a finding of need. Based on forecasted load growth, the project will be needed prior to the summer of 2013. Demand on the East End has increased over the six-year period between 2000 and 2006 by an annual average of 5.2 percent. LIPA forecasts demand to increase on the South Fork at an annual average rate of about 3.3 percent through 2025. The project is a significant component of LIPA's plans to reinforce the existing transmission capacity of the South and North Forks of Long Island.
As described in the joint proposal, this project is part of the first link in LIPA's chain of supply to the East End. Therefore, this project is critical to meeting the entire electric system requirements of the East End.
The selected route, access points and configuration will avoid or minimize the disturbance of natural habitat, land uses, and the human environment because the proposed project uses the existing transmission lines, poles, and rights-of-way, avoids or minimizes the disturbance of natural habitat and agricultural land, and avoids disturbance of residential and commercial properties, activities, traffic and emergency operations in a populated area.