NYISO releases wind energy-related white papers

The New York Independent System Operator (NYISO), which manages the state’s electricity grid, recently released three white papers that relate to the integration of wind generation facilities into New York’s grid.

We understand that NYISO welcomes comments on them. Comments to NYISO should be directed to Kathleen Carrigan, Acting VP of External Affairs, NYISO, kcarrigan [at] nyiso.com.

The white papers discuss System Dispatch, Fuel Diversity,  and Transmission Expansion. Per NYISO, the reports are:

Integration of Wind into System Dispatch
Incorporating significant wind powered generation is a key to achieving the goals of New York State’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS). The NYISO has introduced system and operating changes to better utilize New York State’s existing wind resources, and pave the way for their continued growth. Those efforts and proposals for further enhancements are detailed in the NYISO white paper.

The purpose of this paper is to review work done to date, identify the current challenges of integrating large amounts of wind generation into the New York transmission system, and propose changes to the market rules that will improve the reliable dispatch of wind resources in New York State.

Transmission Expansion in New York State
Since 2000, more than 6,500 MW of new generation has been developed, predominantly in the regions of New York State with the greatest demand for power, and nearly 1,000 MW of transmission has been added to bring more power into those regions. However, there has not been a major high-voltage transmission addition inside the state for over 20 years. The NYISO white paper, prepared with assistance from Energy Security Analysis, Inc. (ESAI), reviews transmission planning processes and investment activity in New York State and neighboring regions.

The NYISO worked with ESAI to draft this Transmission Expansion White Paper in order to review the potential and actual drivers of transmission expansion activities in New York State and its neighboring control areas. While PJM and ISO-NE have facilitated a great deal of investment in transmission expansion projects to address reliability, it appears that the NYISO will be able to best promote transmission expansion through the development of its economic planning process and the Congestion Assessment and Resource Integration Studies which will begin after the 2009 CRP is issued.

Fuel Diversity in the New York Electricity Market
Fuel diversity is a crucial component of the reliable and efficient operation of wholesale electricity systems. This NYISO white paper, developed with assistance from the Analysis Group, explores the significance of fuel diversity and its impact on the New York electricity market.

This paper identifies trends that have led to the electric industry’s focus on fuel diversity. It examines various meanings of fuel diversity within an electricity market; discusses various economic, reliability and environmental dimensions of fuel diversity; explores the impacts of various events on fuel or technology-dependent energy systems; looks at approaches used in other regions to address fuel diversity; and identifies options to address fuel diversity that are both well aligned and poorly aligned with New York’s electricity markets.

Thanks to ACE-NY for flagging these reports.

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New York state wind developments

According to recent reports:

Transmission report from WIRES

Transmission and storage. Storage and transmission. Perhaps the major challenges standing in the way of making full use of the on-land wind resources in New York and beyond.

Enter a new transmission report.

Earlier this month an industry group fashioning itself WIRES (Working Group for Investment in Reliable and Economic Electric Systems) released a report that intends to be “a thorough exposition of the methods currently employed by various states, industry, and investors to integrate [] locationally-constrained resources [such as wind]  into the electric grid.”

It indicates a number of “most effective” practices. These are:

  • Regional transmission planning is crucial. That is, the grid upgrades should not just be state or local issues. 
  • The variability of wind and other resources can be diversified through regional operations and planning. Together with better forecasting, WIRES believes such practices can greatly enhance the ability, and reduce costs, of bringing more wind onto the grid. (The report cites a New York study on point.)
  • Appropriate cost allocation and cost recovery will contribute significatnly to promoting investment in needed transmission.
  • And The queue proceses now employed by RTOs [such as NYISO] constitute a critical “gating” issue that must be addressed before issues associatied with transmission access or dispatch can rise to an equivalent level of importance. (Note: NYISO is currently examining its queue procedures.)

The report concludes:

This Report [] highlights a major new challenge: how to efficiently interconnect and integrate into the grid the location-constrained and often-variable clean energy resources that have become the focus of so much domestic energy policy. This is particularly important at a time when the Nation is poised to increase its use of renewable and other location-constrained forms of electric generation and to target significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. WIRES believes this Report will be a significant contribution to meeting the need for clean energy through infrastructure enhancement.

The press release is here. Full report, “Integrating Locationally Constrained Resources Into Transmission Systems: A Survey of U.S. Practices” is here. WIRES Member Statements Before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Technical Conference on Transmission Barriers to Entry (October 14, 2008) is here.

New York net metering receives passing grade

Citing New York’s 2008 legislative expansion of its net metering regime, the Network for New Energy Choices (NNEC) has upgraded New York’s net metering grade from D to B in its “Freeing the Grid 2008” report, stating:

Now enacted, these [net metering expansion] bills significantly expand the state’s net metering law. The state has gone from a “D” in Freeing the Grid 2007 to a “B” in Freeing the Grid 2008, and the renewable energy community could not be happier.

With high energy costs and plenty of renewable resources, New York represents a crucial energy market. Now, with all customer classes able to net meter and the cap raised to 2 MW (25 kW for residential) for solar and wind energy systems, the door is open for renewable energy growth in the Empire State.

New York continued to receive a “C” for interconnection. In this regard, the NNEC recommends that New York state:

  • Increase allowed system capacity to 20 MW;
  • Remove requirements for redundant external disconnect switch; and
  • Expand interconnection standards to all utilities (i.e., munis and co-ops)

Freeing the Grid 2008 Press release found here.

Full report, “Freeing the Grid 2008” here.

New York PSC to hold public hearing in Arcade about transmission line

The New York Public Service Commission (PSC) announced that it will hold a public hearing on October 28, 2008 in the Village of Arcade to discuss a proposed transmission line between Centerville (Allegany County) and Yorkshire (Cattaraugus County) that would carry electricity generated from wind power facilities in Allegany County:

The New York Public Service Commission will hold a public statement hearing concerning a proposal by the Village of Arcade and Noble Allegany Windpark, LLC to construct a new 115 kV electric transmission line from the Town of Centerville, Allegany County, to an existing line operated by National Grid in the Town of Yorkshire, Cattaraugus County. The line will be approximately 14 miles in length. Its purpose is to permit the delivery of power generated by the Allegany wind energy facility proposed to be built in the Towns of Centerville and Rushford in Allegany County…

See Docket No. 08-T-0746 at the New York PSC.

FERC conditionally grants incentives for proposed New York transmission line

As WPL Blog readers will know, a 190-mile high capacity transmission line from upstate to down, known as the New York Regional Interconnection, or NYRI, has been proposed and is under review in multiple municipalities and at the New York Public Service Commission (PSC).

A recent decision by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) would help the NYRI by conditionally approving incentive rates. The decision is conditioned on the PSC finding that the project will ensure reliability or reduce congestion, and granting siting approval. NYRI has argued that the transmission line will increase the economic benefits of renewable resources that would otherwise be confined upstate.

From a FERC press release:

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) today approved incentive rates for the New York Regional Interconnect (NYRI) on condition that the New York State Public Service Commission determines the 190-mile transmission line either ensures reliability or reduces congestion, and approves siting for the project.

FERC recognizes the need for and promotes greater investment in energy infrastructure to strengthen and improve reliability of the transmission grid,” FERC Chairman Joseph T. Kelliher said. “We will only approve incentive rate proposals that satisfy the requirements of the Federal Power Act and our regulations.”

Today’s action involves rates for the project. NYRI has not made any requests of FERC for federal siting approval. “That issue properly lies before the New York State Commission, and our approval today rests on the New York State Commission’s approval of the proposed project,” Kelliher said.

FERC’s conditional rate approval includes a 275 basis point, or 2.75 percent, addition to the return on equity (ROE) that will be earned by the company. That incentive includes: 50 basis points for future participation in the New York Independent System Operator, Inc. (NYISO); 100 basis points for forming an independent transmission company (transco); and 125 basis points for a combined transmission and advanced technology incentive…

The full FERC NYRI press release is here. The 22-page FERC order of September 18  in Docket No. EL08-39-000 is here.

In a written statement, FERC Commissioner Moeller added:

I would like to highlight our action today in response to the New York Regional Interconnect’s petition seeking incentive-rate treatment for a proposed high-voltage transmission line. At an estimated cost of approximately $2 billion, the project is substantial in magnitude as it involves constructing a 190-mile DC line that will traverse dozens of municipalities across upstate New York. Moreover, the significant regulatory risk that the line will encounter, as well as the risk associated with siting the line on private lands are factors that were considered before reaching the decision to support the conditional approval of incentive rate treatment for this project.

And while the Commission has not been unanimous in its support for incentives in recent cases involving transmission projects, I should recognize that this order gained the support of all the voting commissioners. Again, I stress that NYRI’s proposal is both ambitious and fraught with risks, and in light of the circumstances presented in its application I believe that the particular incentives that we’re conditionally approving will achieve the purposes of FPA section 219.

As I’ve stated previously, our country needs to play some serious catch-up in building the transmission infrastructure that is needed to deliver reliable and reasonably-priced power to market. Providing incentives to utilities, as authorized by Congress, has proven to be an effective way to encourage utilities to invest their dollars in new transmission infrastructure. Perhaps, so much so that we’ve seen an increase in the number of public utilities seeking incentive rate treatment. And while I will continue to judge the merits of each request on a case-by-case basis, consistent with the statute and our policies, I’d ike to emphasize my belief that the Commission’s ability to provide incentives has spurred needed [i]nvestment in transmission.

Response to the decision, including opposition by both of New York’s U.S. senators, may be found in this article by the Utica Observer-Dispatch (9/18).

NYISO ready for more wind generation on electricity grid

The New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) announced today that it

has introduced system and operating changes to better utilize New York State’s existing wind resources, and pave the way for continued growth of economical, emission-free, renewable power resources in the Empire State.

(NYISO had announced its plan to do just that last April.)

NYISO contracted with a leading provider of wind resource information (AWS Truewind) to obtain wind power forecasts for each wind power project in the state, based on meteorological data and historical operating characteristics of each. Those data are then fed directly into the NYISO operational systems that determine the balance of load and generation.

NYISO indicates that it is one of the first ISO/RTOs in the country to implement such a system, which is considered a “best practice” in the industry worldwide.

NYISO further reports that as of September 1, 2008, there were over 700 megawatts (MWs) of wind generating capacity in commercial operation in New York state, and that wind capacity in New York is projected to grow to more than 1,200 MW by the summer of 2009.

Full text of the NYISO press release is here.