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Public hearing scheduled for plan to build second undersea power cable

Developers of a second undersea power cable proposed for Long Island will hold a public hearing on the plan next month.

The 78-mile Poseidon Transmission cable would provide Long Island with a 500-megawatt cable connection to the PJM energy market, which coordinates the buying and selling of electricity, from New Jersey and other mid-Atlantic states. A megawatt powers about 800 homes.

Its backers, including developers of the original Neptune cable and Exelon Corp. of Chicago, say it would bring cheap power to a constrained Long Island market while allowing for the replacement of older, "polluting" power plants.

Like the 660-megawatt Neptune cable, the Poseidon line would land on Long Island from New Jersey at Jones Beach. But while the Neptune line follows a northerly course to a substation at New Cassel, Poseidon would snake its way northeast 17 miles through Hempstead, Oyster Bay and Huntington, where it would terminate at a new converter station near the Ruland Road substation in Melville.

Hurdles for the project remain. To be developed, the cable would need to secure a contract with the Long Island Power Authority for energy, long-term capacity or both. Howard Kosel, a development partner with Anbaric Transmission of Wakefield, Massachusetts, the project's developer, said depending on approval from LIPA, the cable could be in service by the summer of 2020.

Hearings next week will be held by the state Public Service Commission.

PSC chairwoman Audrey Zibelman -- who was previously chief operating officer of PJM, the grid to which the cable would connect, and who was co-founder of Viridity Energy with Edward Krapels, who is director of Anbaric Transmission -- has recused herself from the Poseidon matter, PSC spokesman James Denn said, "to avoid even the appearance of a conflict."

The cost of the project hasn't been disclosed. Neptune cost about $600 million to build, and its long-term contract with LIPA is for $1.75 billion.

"When energized, Poseidon will save Long Island ratepayers tens of millions of dollars per year through expanded access to more affordable and reliable energy resources," said Clarke Bruno, senior vice president of Anbaric.

PSEG said the company had "no interest in the Poseidon cable or any additional projects at this time," given its previous determination that LIPA has ample power resources to last through 2024.

The cable, which was first proposed as part of a LIPA bid request in 2011, was publicly disclosed in May 2012 in response to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's Energy Highway initiative. At the time, Poseidon billed itself as a project that could "reduce congestion within Nassau and Suffolk counties and the downstate region while enhancing the diversity of power sources on Long Island."

The public hearing -- scheduled for Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the Half Hollow Hills Community Library in Dix Hills -- comes as PSEG Long Island is in the midst of a yearlong study of Long Island's energy resources and needs. It has already determined that no new major power sources will be needed until 2024.

The Poseidon hearing comes as Caithness Long Island Energy has raised questions about PSEG's power analysis, saying it would pave the way for more off-island power resources, including some owned by PSEG's parent, to edge out on-Island resources. PSEG has denied the claims, noting it has no capacity contracts with LIPA.PSEG in early 2016 will make a recommendation to the LIPA board on Long Island's future power needs. "Depending on the needs identified, and if required, we will issue and evaluate requests for proposals from all available options: renewable energy, direct load controls, new generation and transmission," PSEG spokesman Jeff Weir said.


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