Here’s New York’s plan for $250 million in energy storage funding

energy storage funding

The New York Power Authority (NYPA) announced a new 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 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.

“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.”

Check out our 12 Days of Storage articles

Learn and test demos

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 that 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.

Fund allocation

The initial phase of funding, approved today 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 that 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.

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.

— Solar Builder magazine

New York sets in motion first nine community solar projects in its Solar For All program

new york renewable energy

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority announced that nine community solar projects throughout New York have been awarded contracts through the “Solar For All” program. This is the first in a series of awards under the program to provide access to no-cost community solar to 10,000 low-income New Yorkers.

How it works

As part of Governor Cuomo’s $1 billion NY-Sun program, Solar For All offers eligible low-income households the opportunity to subscribe to a community solar project in their area without any upfront costs or participation fees. By enabling consumers to subscribe to a local community solar project, these projects increase access to solar for homeowners and renters who may not have ideal conditions to install solar panels at their location.

Energy is still delivered through their regular electric provider while the power produced from the community solar array is fed directly back to the electric grid. As a result, the grid is supplied with clean, renewable energy while subscribers get credit on their electric bills.

New York utilities seek demand charges in REV mass market rate design proposals

Details on the first projects

Solar for All projects selected in the first round will serve approximately 7,000 low income homeowners and renters who receive electric service from NYSEG, National Grid, Central Hudson, and Orange & Rockland. In addition to savings on participant electric bills, some of the selected projects have also committed to additional community benefits, including donations to local organizations serving families in need, educational programs for local schools, and committing additional project capacity to subscriptions for low-to-moderate income households.

The Solar for All contracts were awarded to groups located in these towns and regions:

• Town of Crawford (Mid-Hudson): Clearway Energy Group: Crans Mill is a 2.8 megawatt community solar project of which 1 megawatt will be used to provide no-cost solar subscriptions in Orange and Rockland’s utility territory.

• Town of Grand Island (Western New York): BlueRock Energy Solar, Inc.: BlueRock Grand Island is a 2.1 megawatt community solar project of which 1 megawatt will be used to provide no-cost solar subscriptions in National Grid’s utility territory in western New York.

• Town of Johnstown (Mohawk Valley): Common Energy: Johnstown A and B are two community solar projects – 2.8 megawatts and 2.0 megawatts – adjacent to each other, and will provide 1 megawatt each for no-cost solar subscriptions in National Grid’s Capital Region utility territory.

• Town of Mooers (North Country): Delaware River Solar: Boas #4 is a 2.7 megawatt community solar project of which 1 megawatt will be used to provide no-cost solar subscriptions in NYSEG’s northern New York region as well as the rest of NYSEG’s utility territory.

• Town of Poughkeepsie (Mid-Hudson): Clearway Energy Group: Underhill is a 3.0 megawatt community solar project of which 1 megawatt will be used to provide no-cost solar subscriptions in Central Hudson’s utility territory.

• Town of Rochester (Mid-Hudson): Nexamp: Nexamp Rochester is a 5.6 megawatt community solar project of which 1 megawatt will be used to provide no-cost solar subscriptions in Central Hudson’s utility territory.

• Town of Seneca (Finger Lakes): Nexamp: Nexamp Seneca is a 2.6 megawatt community solar project of which 1 megawatt will be used to provide no-cost solar subscriptions in NYSEG’s Central New York region as well as the rest of NYSEG’s utility territory.

• Town of Thompson (Mid-Hudson): Delaware River Solar: Sackett Lake is a 2.8 megawatt community solar project of which 1 megawatt will be used to provide no-cost solar subscriptions in NYSEG’s utility territory in the Mohawk Valley region.

Funding for this program is provided by the state’s 10-year, $5.3 billion Clean Energy Fund (CEF), a core component of New York State’s Reforming the Energy Vision strategy to achieve a clean, resilient, and affordable energy system for all New Yorkers. NYSERDA will launch a second round of the program in 2019, which will expand the number of households and areas served by the program.

— Solar Builder magazine

New York to fund $40 million in solar + storage projects

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo is making $40 million in funding available to support solar projects that integrate energy storage, accelerating progress toward New York’s energy storage target of 1,500-megawatts by 2025. These projects will build toward Governor Cuomo’s mandate that 50 percent of the state’s electricity come from renewable sources by 2030 to combat climate change and build a cleaner, more resilient and affordable energy system.

“As we continue our aggressive pursuit of clean, renewable technologies, funding for projects like this will ensure New York remains at the forefront of the global fight against climate change,” Governor Cuomo said. “The strategic pairing of energy storage and solar technologies moves us closer to building a clean energy economy that protects critical natural resources and benefits all New Yorkers.”

These funds will be the first storage incentive funds made available since the release of the New York State Energy Storage Roadmap in June. By offering a new incentive for solar-plus-storage projects for the commercial and industrial sectors, including community solar gardens, the storage component will ensure that renewable energy is shifted to times of highest customer usage, such as afternoon hours on summer days. Solar-plus-storage helps reduce consumer energy bills and improves the value of renewable energy to the grid. In addition, paired solar and storage systems can deliver lower costs to consumers by taking advantage of expiring federal tax credits, combining the permitting and interconnection processes, and utilizing less space by co-locating on the same sites.

— Solar Builder magazine

EV Update: Seven steps for regulators, New York rebate, EVgo ramps deployment

EV chargers

Electric vehicles are coming, and grid planners, regulators, developers and solar companies should all be ready to build the complementary infrastructure. Here’s a roundup of all the recent EV segments news to keep you up to date.

AEE’s seven steps to prepare for EV surge

Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) released an issue brief outlining seven steps state regulators should take to prepare for a surge in electric vehicles. In EVs 101: A Regulatory Plan for America’s Electric Transportation Future, AEE notes that plug-in electric vehicles (EVs) currently account for a small share of vehicle sales, but a high – and accelerating – growth rate is putting EVs on the agendas of public utility commissions (PUCs) around the country. To address the potentially rapid electrification of the vehicle fleet – from passenger cars to delivery vehicles, buses, and trucks – state regulators should take measures to maximize the benefits and minimize the challenges associated with this transportation transformation.

In EVs 101, AEE urges PUCs to take seven specific steps:

1. Establish an electric vehicle regulatory framework. PUCs should use a collaborative process to gather information, then put out its viewpoint in a white paper on the key regulatory issues for EVs to reduce uncertainty in the marketplace. An open, collaborative process allows everyone to participate, ensuring that the best information is brought forward.

2. Consider roles for various stakeholders in electric vehicle charging infrastructure ownership and financing. Regulators need to clearly define appropriate roles for utilities and third-party companies to play in owning and financing charging infrastructure. Both utilities and third parties have critical roles to play and should be able to develop, own, and operate charging facilities under appropriate rules and market conditions.

3. Adjust utility planning and operations to fully integrate electric vehicles. As the EV market grows, utility planning and operations will need to incorporate EV load forecasts, make modernization investments for smart charging, adopt streamlined interconnection processes, and ensure interoperability standards are observed for public charging stations.

sb-econference-web-post

4. Implement rate designs for an electric vehicle future. Regulators should consider EV-only tariffs and well-designed time-varying rates to encourage off-peak charging. In the early stages of market development, regulators should also provide relief from excessive demand charges under EV-only rates to support the use of chargers.

5. Ensure that vulnerable populations are not left behind. As the EV market unfolds, particular attention should be given to low-income and other vulnerable populations. Regulators should take steps to improve the ability of these communities to access the EV market and apply longstanding principles of consumer protection to ratemaking decisions with cost implications.

6. Educate consumers. Given the important role that consumer awareness plays in EV adoption and utilization of charging infrastructure, regulators should allow utilities to use their unique relationship with customers and experience in customer engagement from energy efficiency programs to improve access to EV information.

7. Prioritize consideration of medium- and heavy-duty fleets. Vehicle fleets have the potential to provide electrification at scale in the near term, with substantial benefits to the grid and society, and some operators are already starting to make large commitments to electrifying their fleets. Commissions should explicitly look at fleets in the context of the regulatory issues outlined in this paper.

New York launches first EV charging station installation rebate

new york EV rebates

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that $5 million is available as part of the first rebate designed specifically for the installation of electric vehicle charging stations at workplaces, office buildings, multi-family apartment buildings, and public locations such as theaters, malls, parks and retail locations. The installation of charging stations for public use supports the Governor’s ambitious clean energy goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2030.

“New York continues to lead the nation in reducing our carbon footprint by aggressively investing in clean transportation methods,” Governor Cuomo said. “By expanding public access to electric vehicle charging stations, this program will make it more affordable for New Yorkers to make the switch to an environmentally friendly electric vehicle, resulting in a cleaner, greener New York for all.”

Administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, the new Charge Ready NY initiative provides a $4,000 rebate per charging port for public or private employers, building owners, municipalities and non-profit organizations to install Level 2 charging stations. Depending on installation costs and the model/make of the charging station, installe rs can save up to 80 percent of a typical installation’s total cost. Level 2 stations provide up to 25 miles of electric range to cars for each hour they are charging. Charging stations must be installed at one of the following types of locations:

• Public parking lot: must have at least ten parking spaces and be open to the general public at least 12 hours per day for at least five days per week. Examples include municipal or privately-operated parking lots or garages, parking at retail locations, shopping malls, restaurants, parks, transit stations, schools and other destination locations.

• Workplace: must have at least ten parking spaces that primarily serve a minimum of 15 employees who work at or near the lot. Examples include office buildings, universities, schools, and hospitals.

• Multi-unit housing: must have at least eight parking spaces that primarily serve a building with five or more housing units, such as apartment buildings, condominiums and co-ops.

This new initiative supports the Governor’s Charge NY 2.0 initiative, which aims to have at least 10,000 charging stations across New York by the end of 2021,so clean cars can travel across the State with the opportunity to recharge along the way. The initiative also builds on the Governor’s Charge NY initiative, which was launched in 2013 and has a goal of having 30,000 to 40,000 electric cars on the road by the end of 2018.

To complement Charge Ready NY, which enables public and private organizations to apply directly for rebates, the Governor recently announced a $250 million commitment by the New York Power Authority to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles and expand electric vehicle fast charging stations along key transportation corridors and in New York City airports.

EVgo FastStart Fast Forwards EVgo Charging Station Deployment

EVgo charger

EVgo, the nation’s largest public electric vehicle (EV) fast charging network, unveiled EVgo FastStart, a mobile and modular fast charging station configuration that can be deployed in a matter of days or weeks, at the Solar Power International and Energy Storage International conference.

Engineered to meet accelerating demand for EV chargers, the patent-pending EVgo FastStart station offers fast and easy deployment for partners with immediate charging needs, short-term site leases, or fleet customers requiring electric charging in temporary depots. The pre-fabricated EVgo FastStart can be deployed on a modular basis with multiple modules per site in just days or weeks, limited only by the power available. EVgo FastStart stations come in DCFC, Level 2, or combination configurations.

— Solar Builder magazine

New York utilities seek demand charges in REV mass market rate design proposals

electric bill

New York is at an important juncture in its Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) development as a working group is currently assessing proposals for mass market rate design, two of which include demand charges. Considering the whole point of REV is to build toward a distributed future, this raised our eyebrows because demand charges are fundamentally at odds with that goal. So, what’s the deal here?

“This is different than the traditional rate case where a utility proposes X — this is a much more evolutionary process,” says Evan Dube, senior director of public policy at Sunrun. “But still disconcerting nonetheless because the joint utilities have shown their view of future mass market rate design revolves heavily around demand charges.”

Within the overall REV framework, there are numerous different working groups and proceedings going on. We are in Phase 1 right now, which moved much of the industry to the VDER value stack, with mass market rate design – residential and small commercial – still on net metering plan until Phase two, which starts Jan. 1, 2020. That seems far off, but in regulatory terms, the time is now.

RELATED: Our big takeaway from SEIA’s latest Grid Modernization report: Utilities need to step up

All stakeholders in the working group were encouraged to put forward proposals for review. From all of the proposals put forward, five were selected to drill down on and further analyze. These include a proposal from the solar industry and two from the JU – the two that have demand charges included.

sb-econference-web-post

What are these demand charges?

Instead of electricity bills reflecting the total amount of electricity customers consume, demand charges add a fee based on a customer’s maximum electricity usage during each month, averaged over a short period of time. This is similar to going to a coffee shop for a medium coffee but being charged for a large because that’s the size you purchased the day before.

Here is some of the wording from the JU proposals right now referred to as the “2 Demand Rate” and the “TOU Demand Rate” proposals:

Both proposals recover delivery costs through demand (kW) charges and a monthly customer charge (a fixed amount each billing period), and supply costs through volumetric (kWh) charges. In both proposals, the demand charges replace volumetric delivery charges, which currently recover demand-related costs for delivery. The demand charges are calculated to recover the same level of costs as are currently recovered through the volumetric charges of the applicable rate class and are therefore designed to be revenue-neutral.

Here is the full PDF. These proposed demand charges are specifically for prospective DER customers, but the DPS and regulators in New York, in their overall mass market residential rate design, could look to adopt a structure along similar lines with what comes from this process for DER customers.

“I am not surprised that the JU took this direction,” Dube says. “We’ve seen this proposed by utilities a fair amount in the recent past – a majority of which have been rejected [up to 16 states where it’s been proposed and rejected by Sunrun’s count]. We in the renewables industry often reference back to the importance of continuity in the default rates, and the rates for which DER customers will be placed.”

What’s next?

The proposals are assessed by 1) the New York Department of Public Service (DPS), 2) the joint utilities (JU) and 3) a third-party consultant contracted by the DPS. The working group will keep meeting and go over various issues and culminate in a report from staff to the commission at the end of this year. The commission will then put forward an order at the start of 2019 to implement the next phase of rate design in 2020.

RELATED: Shadow costs: How outdated local processes stifle the true solar market

Because the utilities are also part of the group assessing proposals, two of which they submitted, the solar industry stakeholders have been stressing the need for transparency throughout the working group and going forward.
“The utilities possess a great deal of the data required to analyze these proposals, so ensuring there is adequate process and opportunity for industry stakeholders to respond and have access to the same data is important,” Dube says.

Again, just because these proposals exist (maybe as a negotiating tactic?) it doesn’t mean they are favored by the DPS staff or policy makers. Demand charges continue to be rejected in states around the country, most notably in Massachusetts last month, and New York’s execution on REV so far seems to indicate they won’t fly here either, but it is another example of utilities continuing to seek out regressive rate design.

— Solar Builder magazine