July 2 (Reuters) - More than 85 energy companies and other groups responded to New York's request for information with 130 proposals to upgrade the state's power infrastructure, totaling more than 25,000 megawatts, Governor Andrew Cuomo said.
The governor set up the so-called Energy Highway Task Force in April to seek proposals to expand the state's clean energy supplies, create jobs and bolster economic growth.
"The next step is to review these ideas and develop an action plan to modernize our energy highway with a focus on improving safety and reliability, making the grid more efficient, improving the environment and lowering costs for consumers," Cuomo said in a release late on Friday.
In the past, the governor's office has said the Energy Highway has nothing to do with Cuomo's quest to shut the giant Indian Point nuclear power plant located about 40 miles north of Manhattan.
Officials at the governor's office were not immediately available for comment.
Cuomo has said he wants Indian Point shut, in part because it is located in the New York metropolitan area, home to some 19 million people, where even the most unlikely possibility of an accident is too much.
New Orleans-based Entergy Corp, the second-biggest U.S. nuclear power operator and owner of Indian Point, says the plant is safe and wants to keep its two reactors running for another 20 years after their licenses expire in 2013 and 2015.
Even though the governor's Energy Highway was not developed to replace Indian Point, energy experts said, some of the proposals could help provide some of the power needed if the plant shuts. The 2,063 MW Indian Point currently provides about a quarter of the power used in the New York City area.
One megawatt is enough to power about 1,000 homes.
The Task Force is seeking public comments on the proposals and expects to release an Energy Highway Action Plan in the autumn. The public comments are due by July 31.
There were 51 proposals for generation, 29 for transmission, four for gas pipelines and 46 covering various ideas related to the energy industry, according to the release.
Several investor-owned energy companies submitted transmission and generation proposals, including American Electric Power Co Inc, Calpine Corp, Exelon Corp , GenOn Energy Inc, NextEra Energy Inc and NRG Energy Inc.
The task force members include the heads of the New York Power Authority, the state Department of Environmental Conservation, Empire State Development, Public Service Commission and Energy Research and Development Authority.