Distributed Energy Resources

N.Y. PSC takes action on storage integration, online data sharing

The New York Public Service Commission on April 19 announced several actions related to the state’s Reforming the Energy Vision effort, which aims to revamp the state’s electric sector. Among other things, the PSC moved to expand the integration of larger energy storage technologies and create an online platform to make it easier to share data among energy companies.

Energy storage

In one of its orders issued on April 19, the PSC opened the door for distributed generation (DG) suppliers seeking to connect energy storage technologies to the distribution system, allowing for projects up to 5 MW to come online.

In addition, the Commission enhanced the Standardized Interconnection Requirements application and contract process.

“These revisions will provide for a much more efficient interconnection process that allows DG developers to connect projects to the distribution system without undue delay,” the PSC said.

The existing New York State Standardized Interconnection Requirements “provide an efficient interconnection process that allows distributed generation (DG) developers to connect projects to the distribution system without undue delay,” the PSC noted in the order.

By applying the Standardized Interconnection Requirements, the interconnecting utility “may effectively analyze and process a high volume of DG applications, and efficiently advance projects through the interconnection queue,” the commission said.

The Standardized Interconnection Requirements have been in place since 1999, when the Commission recognized the importance of DG units.

Over the years, the Standardized Interconnection Requirements have been periodically revised to incorporate gradual increases in DG capacity, address evolving technologies, and improve the overall interconnection process.

As part of a Value of Distributed Energy Resources implementation order, the commission had directed New York Department of Public Service staff to file recommended updates to the Standardized Interconnection Requirements.

In particular, the commission sought proposals for integrating energy storage systems into the interconnection process and for extending “Value Stack” compensation under Value of Distributed Energy Resources tariffs to projects larger than 2 MW.

In December 2017, DPS staff filed these proposed changes, which is what the PSC ruled on in its April 19 order.

Utility Energy Registry

In a separate order, the commission directed the creation of the Utility Energy Registry, an online platform offering public access to customer load data for the state’s major investor-owned utilities.

The PSC said that making community-level energy consumption data available for local planning, market research and community choice aggregation development, without providing an individual’s consumption data, fosters increased awareness of energy use patterns and promotes conservation. In addition, the Commission adopted a privacy standard for the provision of whole building data for apartment buildings.

The PSC said that the creation of the Utility Energy Registry will help create a more information-centered power system. “This modernized distribution platform will support the exchange of information between utilities, customers, service providers, and other third parties,” it said. “Access to system and generic customer data are key components for more efficient and engaged markets.”

The Registry will get underway in mid-2018.

Other REV-related actions

Meanwhile, the PSC issued two other REV-related orders on April 19.

First, the commission approved New York State Electric & Gas Corporation’s request to implement time differentiated electric rate options, on a pilot basis, for an Energy Smart Community (ESC) project.

The ESC project includes the deployment of advanced metering infrastructure to approximately 12,000 customers in Ithaca, Tompkins County, and the surrounding towns.

The pilot rates, including the selection of on-peak and off-peak time periods, are designed to convey strong price signals that focus on the system peak. For each service classification, the off-peak rates are at least 2.5 times less than the on-peak rates, “which sends a clear price signal to customers, and provides them with a greater financial incentive to manage their energy usage,” the PSC said.

In a second order, the commission said that Community Distributed Generation (CDG) projects serving only farm customers will no longer be required to comply with a number of CDG program rules, including a 10-member minimum requirement. Instead, CDG projects with less than 10 members will be allowed.

“Farm-based generation, including farm digesters, offers the potential to contribute significantly to the State’s energy system and clean energy goals. As the REV initiative results in the evolution of the energy system, farm digesters will serve an increasingly larger role in meeting energy needs,” the PSC said.

Farm digesters may also create other, non-energy-related benefits, including reducing the carbon emissions of dairy farms, it noted.