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.”
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.
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