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Residents weigh in on Poseidon, second undersea power cable proposed for Long Island

The proposed Poseidon line would arrive on Long

The proposed Poseidon line would arrive on Long Island at Jones Beach, then travel north along the Wantagh State Parkway, and then northeast for a short distance before arriving at a receiving station on Ruland Road in Melville. Credit: Newsday

Developers of a second undersea power cable from New Jersey to Long Island made their case to about 100 people last night in Dix Hills, saying the project would bring substantial savings to ratepayers.

Installation of Poseidon's 78-mile line by 2020 would lower the cost of energy on the Island, while providing the flexibility to overhaul or retire older plants, its developers say.

Last night, one speaker questioned the claim the cable would bring nothing but positive impacts.

"You're competing, and we have plants with existing infrastructure in place that are going to be plowed into the ground," said Bruce Miller, a trustee with Port Jefferson Village, which is host to an existing plant contracted to LIPA. Residents want that antiquated plant overhauled.

Clarke Bruno, senior vice president of Anbaric Transmission, which is developing the line with Exelon Corp. of Chicago, said the cable would provide power while old plants are being overhauled.

Developers say the cable would provide greater flexibility in meeting the Island's power capacity needs, addressing the utility's ability to provide ample power during peak load times. Poseidon officials say capacity contracts could be negotiated annually rather than through costly, long-term fixed agreements, as LIPA has traditionally done.

Poseidon proposes to be primarily an energy line for LIPA, delivering 500 megawatts, the equivalent of a large plant, with access to PJM, a power market serving New Jersey, Pennsylvania and other states.

Several dozen union members and leaders came out in support of the project, noting the jobs it would provide and the promise of cheaper energy.

Peter Gollon, energy chair of the Sierra Club's Long Island chapter, noted much of the power PJM provides comes from coal-powered plants. "Don't be blindsided by cost only," he said of the cable's promise of cheaper power.

Mike DeLuise, president of the Melville Chamber of Commerce, called Poseidon "an ideal project for Long Island" and played down any environmental impacts.

Poseidon would still require a contract with LIPA before development of the line would begin, among other approvals.

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

The cable was first proposed to LIPA in 2011, then publicly disclosed in May 2012 in response to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's Energy Highway initiative.

The Poseidon line, like its 660-megawatt sister cable, Neptune, would arrive on Long Island at Jones Beach, then go north for a short distance along the Wantagh State Parkway. Unlike Neptune, the cable would go northeast before arriving at a receiving station on Ruland Road in Melville.

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.

Poseidon would require construction of a 3.2-acre converter station a half-mile from a LIPA substation on Ruland Road. Bruno said the end point of the Poseidon line is strategic, helping to address growing power demand point near the Nassau-Suffolk border. He said the project would require minimal system upgrades on the New Jersey and New York ends of the cable.

Yesterday's hearing was held by the state Public Service Commission. PSC chairwoman Audrey Zibelman -- previously chief operating officer of PJM and co-founder of Viridity Energy with Edward Krapels, director of Anbaric Transmission -- has recused herself from the Poseidon matter, PSC spokesman James Denn said, "to avoid even the appearance of a conflict."

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