Powering Strong Communities

New York Utility Regulators Move to Close Anticipated Gap Between Renewables, Reliability

The New York Public Service Commission recently issued an order that initiates a process to identify technologies that can close the anticipated gap between the capabilities of existing renewable energy technologies and future system reliability needs.

New York’s Climate Act, passed by the State Legislature in 2019, directed the Commission to establish, among other things, a program to ensure that by 2030, at least 70 percent of electric load is served by renewable energy, and that by 2040, there are zero emissions associated with electrical demand in the State.

The PSC’s order “recognizes that as renewable resources and storage facilities are added to the state’s energy supply, additional clean-energy resources capable of responding to fluctuating conditions might be needed to maintain the reliability of the electric grid. The Commission’s work to meet the Climate Act targets must include exploration of technologies that can support reliability once fossil generation has been removed from the system,” it said.

Within the order, the Commission asks stakeholders a series of important questions, including how to define ‘zero-emissions’ for purposes of the zero emissions by 2040 target, and whether that definition should include cutting edge technologies such as advanced nuclear, long duration energy storage, green hydrogen, and demand response. The order further elicits feedback from stakeholders on how to best design a zero-emissions by 2040 program, consistent with the Climate Act’s requirement of delivering substantial benefits to disadvantaged communities and New York State’s electric grid reliability rules, while also leveraging other state and federal efforts to research, develop, and deploy zero-emission resources.

After a 60-day public comment period, Commission staff will convene at least one technical conference to examine a series of issues and questions raised in this important proceeding. The Commission may take additional actions on zero-emission resources based on the information obtained through those processes.

The decision may be obtained by going to the Commission Documents section of the Commission’s Web site at www.dps.ny.gov and entering Case Number 15-E-0302 in the input box labeled "Search for Case/Matter Number.