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NYPA announces $250 million commitment to accelerate flexibility of electric grid to combat climate change


Wed, Dec 12th 2018 03:45 pm
New York Power Authority President and CEO Gil C. Quiniones (File photo)
New York Power Authority President and CEO Gil C. Quiniones (File photo)

Public-private test-and-learn projects to help realize state’s energy storage deployment targets

Collaborative investments in energy storage & demand flexibility will help New York build a cleaner, more resilient & affordable energy system

The New York Power Authority announced a new, nation-leading commitment to invest $250 million between now and 2025 to accelerate the flexibility of the electric grid to give New Yorkers greater access to renewable energy resources such as wind and solar power. The multi-pronged, collaborative investment will address key market and financing barriers, accelerate implementation of up to 150 megawatts (MW) of grid flexibility projects, and decrease market risk. The announcement also plays an essential role in growing a clean energy economy by accelerating private sector investment and achieving the state’s clean energy goals, maintaining affordable energy and combatting climate change for all New Yorkers.

The project supports the goals in the “New York Energy Storage Roadmap,” which identifies recommended actions toward realizing the state’s nation-leading 1,500 MW storage deployment target by 2025 – the equivalent electricity demand of one-fifth of all New York homes. In his 2018 State of the State address, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the 1,500 MW target by 2025 to put New York on a path toward a larger 2030 target to be announced by the end of the year.

This initiative helps accelerate Cuomo's “Reforming the Energy Vision” strategy to build a cleaner, more resilient and affordable energy system, and ensures 50 percent of the state’s electricity comes from renewable sources by 2030.

“This significant investment will help reduce barriers for energy projects and increase access to renewable energy resources,” said Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul. “We’re committed to advancing our aggressive clean energy goals, and this nation-leading initiative will continue New York’s efforts to help combat climate change and ensure a cleaner and greener environment.”

“Building more flexibility into the electricity grid will expedite the transition to a renewable energy future and play a critical role in achieving the state’s energy goals,” said NYPA Chairman John R. Koelmel. “Strong partnerships with customers and the private sector will be essential if we are to both demonstrate the opportunities and rapidly address the challenges presented by deployment of storage and demand flexibility on New York’s electric grid.”

NYPA will invite New York state’s distribution utilities and 51 municipal and rural cooperative electric systems to conduct collaborative test-and-learn demonstrations to determine the capabilities and value of various storage and demand management tools that could be used to provide services to the grid. With its open-sourced innovation, NYPA will also be looking for partners in the public and private sector as it identifies initial locations for the first tranche of projects.

“Our primary intent is to use the experiences gained from test-and-learn projects to provide value to customers,” said Gil C. Quiniones, NYPA’s president and CEO. “At the same time, we can demonstrate to regulators and market participants the ways in which these flexibility tools increase the efficiency of the grid, and inform the process of creating mechanisms that enable private markets to invest in them at scale."

Many of the services will focus on energy storage and demand management. Energy storage is essential in transition from fossil fuels to a clean energy economy to ensure renewable energy resources are available at the right times – when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing – and at the right location that provides the most benefits to the electric grid.

The initial phase of funding, approved by the NYPA board of trustees, directs up to 30 percent of the $250 million to be allocated into three primary new demonstration programs through the end of 2020, including:

•Energy Infrastructure: Identify and demonstrate opportunities to deploy storage and demand flexibility to defer, reduce or avoid investments caused by locational congestion or retiring plants and infrastructure.

•Distributed Energy Resources: Optimize the role that behind-the-meter customer energy resources and buildings can play in supporting a clean, renewable energy system, and simplify the role these resources play in the New York energy markets. 

•Renewable Generation: Pair storage and renewables for longer intermittency durations, build flexibility into the generation and transmission system to balance different geographical locations of renewables and explore longer duration demand flexibility.

The balance of the $250 million will be directed into accelerating storage and demand flexibility, with specific projects dependent on emerging market needs, collaborative project proposals with third-parties and customer preferences.

“NYPA's investment represents another significant contribution in the state's overall investment to build a thriving energy storage industry here in New York,” said Alicia Barton, president and CEO, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, which developed the “Roadmap.” “In order to meet Gov. Cuomo’s ambitious energy storage target, public/private partnerships will play a critical role in ensuring the development of this evolving technology can provide the greatest benefit to both consumers and our electric grid.”

The flexibility initiative further builds on NYPA’s green energy commitments, adding to a $250 million seven-year program roll-out, “Evolve NY,” announced in May to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles by expanding fast-charging infrastructure on major traffic corridors and in urban hubs throughout the state. The combined investments will help the state lead the fight against climate change by significantly reducing greenhouse gases and cleaning the air for all New Yorkers.

In related business, NYPA trustees also approved $5 million to establish a grant incentive to jump-start innovative clean energy projects through Dec. 31, 2025. The Clean Distributed Energy Resource (DER) Grant Program will provide supplemental funding for DER projects such as solar PV, solar plus battery storage, microgrids, standalone storage and smart inverter functionality. In addition, installation of software technology that will feed into NYPA’s New York Energy Manager, which monitors energy performance and efficiency of government buildings, will be incorporated into each project. 

Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee Chairman Joseph Griffo said, "I congratulate the New York Power Authority for investing in electric grid flexibility to help modernize the state's electricity system so that we can meet our clean energy goals in a more efficient and affordable manner. Since NYPA owns and operates a third of the state's high-voltage electricity grid, these investments and improvements in the energy highway are a welcome strategy for improving the grid through the better use of energy storage and demand management in support of our growing zero-emission resources." 

Assembly Energy Chairman Michael J. Cusick said, "As New York continues to clean up and modernize our electrical grid, energy storage will be the linchpin of our endeavor. Renewable energy from solar and wind power tends to be intermittent, making this investment a common-sense and much-needed step in the right direction to ensure these new technologies can be introduced without sacrificing reliability or resiliency. I look forward to seeing this project succeed in the coming months and years." 

For more information, visit www.nypa.gov.

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