PSEG is Looking for Input on East End’s Electric Needs

Folks in East Hampton Village are none-too-happy with the series of tall electric transmission poles installed over this past winter.
Folks in East Hampton Village are none-too-happy with the series of tall electric transmission poles installed over this past winter.

PSEG-Long Island has made quite a few enemies on the East End since the took control of the day-to-day operations of the island’s electric grid at the beginning of the year.

Nowhere has that tension been more apparent than in East Hampton, where a new transmission line strung through a series of backroads from East Hampton Village to Amagansett this past winter raised the hackles of many who live there.

On Shelter Island, as well, a plan to build a new substation to meet peak electric load on the island has also met with resistance, after an attempt by the Long Island Power Authority last year to replace an underwater transmission cable form Greenport failed.

This month, PSEG-Long Island has unveiled a new plan, dubbed Utility 2.0, for improving energy efficiency and reducing the danger that the grid will fail under peak loads. The plan, online here, doesn’t directly address those issues, but does discuss the unique energy challenges on the East End.

The New York State Public Service Commission and PSEG-LI are hosting two public hearings and information sessions on the East End next Tuesday, Aug. 26.

The first will be held at the Evans K. Griffing Building legislative auditorium at the Riverhead County Center at 10:30 a.m., and the second will be held the same evening  upstairs in the East Hampton Village Emergency Services Building on Cedar Street beginning at 5 p.m.

According to the plan, “Long Island is a summer peaking system, primarily driven by residential cooling load….Improving the energy efficiency of end use equipment (e.g. lighting, air conditioners, chillers and other equipment) can be the most cost-effective energy resource and provide significant savings for customers.”

PSEG-Long Island plans to spend $200 million for energy improvements on Long Island between 2015 and 2018, including energy efficiency programs, distributed generation, renewables, and “load control” programs.

In addition to those planned improvements is a $294 Million capital plan to add electric supply to the East End, which, according to PSEG-LI, “represents the highest load growth region on Long Island.”

“The existing transmission consists of a 69 kV and 23 kV system supplied by four 69 kV circuits – three from the South Fork and one from the North Fork,” according to the report.  “Given that the area is a narrow peninsula traditional routes for transmission supplies to the area are limited. PSEG Long Island has determined that a series of transmission reinforcements would be required on the South Fork of Long Island from 2017 – 2022.”

They estimated that the South Fork will need $97 million in new conventional infrastructure by 2017, with an additional $197 million in improvements through 2022.

“These costs consist primarily of new underground transmission cables and substation work,” according to the report. “This capital reinforcement plan also requires continued reliance on the existing East End generation being available and able to provide its full capacity. However , these units are aging and becoming less reliable as time goes on, and they are less efficient and more polluting than modern generating units.”

Of particular concern, they say, is the marked peak of electricity used on the South Fork for cooling on hot summer days.

“The area is extremely sensitive to local load conditions and is reliant on approximately 92 MW of generation, half of which were installed in the 1960s,” according to the report. “Even with all generation available and online, the area requires special operating procedures to ensure reliability is maintained at the forecasted peak so as not to collapse the entire South Fork upon contingency.”

The report also recommends the South Fork be targeted for energy efficiency, solar power and energy storage in batteries.

Beth Young

Beth Young has been covering the East End since the 1990s. In her spare time, she runs around the block, tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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