It’s not a done deal, but officials from PSEG Long Island appear confident they can build a substation in the area most preferred by Montauk residents.
“When the community spoke, we listened, and in return we took Flamingo Avenue and Edward Ecker Park off the table permanently as potential sites for the modernized substation needed,” announced PSEG’s director of communications, David Gaier, in a statement on May 3.
Montauk residents, at a public hearing in April, expressed almost unanimous displeasure for a proposal that would have sited the facility on land the utility intended to purchase on Flamingo Road. Locals also opposed a plan to build the plant near Ecker Park.
Gaier said after considering feedback from 400 individuals that PSEG would embark on a plan to use a site north of the landfill on parkland, away from residential development. It will be a time-consuming process with no guarantee the plan will reach fruition, Gaier cautioned, noting it would need special legislation from Suffolk County and New York State to “alienate” a portion of county parkland. PSEG would then need to clear a 160-by-350-foot parcel to site the plant.
“It’s important to note that out of prudence we’ll continue to study the other two options we discussed at the April 2 workshop in Montauk — the Industrial Road site and the existing substation on Fort Pond. We hope to have a decision this summer,” Gaier said. The current location, on the edge of Fort Pond on Industrial Road, presents a flood risk, as does another parcel the utility owns on Industrial Road and Navy Road.
Should the park site become a reality, an access road would be carved out to connect the facility to North Shore Road; transmission lines would run underground under the Long Island Rail Road tracks to Navy Road.
PSEG is grappling with providing a system-wide solution to respond to peak power demands, especially on the East End and particularly in East Hampton.
According to an internal study, “PSEG Long Island Ensuring Reliability in the Montauk area: Montauk Substation,” “There is a recognized need to support existing customer load, increase customer reliability, and plan for future load growth in the Town of East Hampton. The distribution substation in Montauk is currently at capacity and cannot support additional load. Without modernization or replacement, emergency generation will be required throughout the community in 2020 and beyond.”
PSEG is retiring its old diesel power plants that kick in to provide electricity at peak demand periods. At the same time, some of the company’s make-do short-term solutions, like battery storage and load reduction, have been exhausted.
“Some of the existing Montauk substation equipment is nearly 100 years old and designed to obsolete standards. A modern substation will feature state-of-the-art equipment built to new design, environmental, and safety standards,” the study concluded.