A state official said the project would make the city's power grid more reliable and provide access to wind power and other alternative sources of energy. Although the city has adequate power now, a reliable and robust electric grid is essential for future economic development and a key reason employers choose a site.
The added power is especially important to New York City on hot summer days.
Additional supply from the project as soon as 2013 could also mean reduced rates for businesses and residents.
Another official briefed on the negotiations said the city reduced the project's cost to taxpayers from an original estimate of hundreds of millions of dollars to about $60 million spread over 20 years. The first year's payment would be about $2 million, then rising over time, the official said. The official noted the extra power isn't essential to the city now or in the near future, but will be needed long term.
Each official spoke on the condition of anonymity because the deal still faces several reviews, including one by the New York Power Authority board.
"Our priority was to ensure New York City taxpayers get a fair deal, and we worked hard to reach one," said Deputy Mayor for Operations Stephen Goldsmith. He wouldn't release details of the negotiations.
Progress on the project discussed since 2005 was first reported by The New York Times. The added power has been sought since an old power plant in Queens was shut down a decade ago. Gov. Andrew Cuomo also said during his campaign last fall that he would consider closing the Indian Point nuclear power plant in New York's Westchester County, which could force New York City to seek more power beyond the Hudson River power line from New Jersey.
The seven-mile cable would be built by the PowerBridge company at a cost of about $850 million. It would carry as much as 660 megawatts of electricity, the state official said. The Times noted that is about 5 percent of the electricity consumed by New York on its hottest days.