Distributed Energy Resources

N.Y. PSC acts on renewables, storage and EV charging

New York regulators on Sept. 12 continued the state’s push to add renewable energy and energy storage resources as part of a broad effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

In one decision, the New York Public Service Commission expanded the types of distributed energy resources eligible for “value stack” payments, which reflect the various benefits DERs can provide to the grid.

Under the Sept. 12 decision, stand-alone energy storage systems, including regenerative braking, of up to 5 megawatts will be eligible to for value stack compensation. Also, tidal energy generators, biomass generators and some food-waste digestion configurations can receive value stack payments.

“To sustain our progress, we must continue to reward utilities and energy developers for investment decisions based on the full value that all kinds of renewable energy facilities provide to our electric system,” PSC Chair John Rhodes said, noting that the state intends to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030.

To increase renewable development, the PSC in February increased the size of eligible resources to 5 MW from 2 MW. Then, eligible resources included solar, wind, hydroelectric, farm-based anaerobic digesters and fuel cells.

The value stack is based on a utility’s avoided costs plus other benefits a resource may bring such as demand reduction and environmental values.

The effort is an element of New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision, which aims to revamp the state’s electric sector.

The PSC also voted to allow Consolidated Edison to expand its SmartCharge New York program, which offers incentives for electric vehicle drivers to charge their vehicles in off-peak periods. The program is being expanded to medium- and heavy-duty EVs.

The PSC said expanding the program will allow New York City-based Con Edison to investigate coordinated charging strategies and customer response to charging rates and incentives for larger EV classes with special operating considerations.

The utility, for example, will explore how best to handle the greater power demands of large fleets with larger batteries as well as time-of-day and geographical charging issues that are affected by inflexible operating schedules, charging terminals and routes, the PSC said.

New York’s zero-emissions vehicle plan calls for setting up EV infrastructure to support 30,000 to 40,000 EVs by the end of 2018. The state aims to have 10,000 charging stations by 2021.

The PSC also approved Con Edison’s implementation plan for a 3-MW solar project that will be dedicated to low-income customers. The project could grow to 11 MW.

The project in New York City is expected to save participating customers $6 a month by selling electricity in the wholesale market and receiving value stack payments, according to the PSC.

Meanwhile, the PSC accepted an environmental review of an energy storage “roadmap” issued in June that recommended offering $350 million in incentives to help reach a goal of adding 1,500 MW of energy storage by 2025. The roadmap outlines regulatory, market and policy changes that should be taken to get to the target.

The plan aims to jump start energy storage development in New York. It was developed by the New York State Department of Public Service and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority staff with stakeholder input.

In its environmental review, the PSC said energy storage would help cut peak demand, increase grid efficiency and displace fossil-fueled generation.

The review was required under New York’s Environmental Quality Review Act.