NY PSC announces modified net metering tariffs

From the New York State Public Service Commission

PSC EXPANDS ABILITY TO USE WIND POWER — Non-Residential Customers Now Eligible to Net Meter Wind Generation — Albany, NY—06/18/09—The New York State Public Service Commission today approved tariff filings, with modifications, for implementation of net metering residential, farm service and non-residential wind electric generating systems in the service territories of four investor-owned utilities in New York. Net metering enables customers to sell back power to the utility. The effective date of the modified net metering tariffs is July 1, 2009.

“Net metering encourages the use of small-scale renewable energy systems, which provide long-term benefits to the environment and the economy,” said Commission Chairman Garry Brown. “By using net metering, a home or business owner is able to take excess electricity created by wind energy generation or other qualifying renewable generation and in effect either banks the electricity until it is needed or sells it back to the utility at its retail value, thereby providing a benefit for the customer and the environment.”

The four investor-owned utilities—Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation d/b/a National Grid, New York State Electric & Gas Corporation (NYSEG), Rochester Gas and Electric Corporation (RG&E), and Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corporation (Central Hudson)—made the requisite filings by April 1, 2009, to conform their wind net metering tariffs to the requirements of Section 66-l of the Public Service Law.

Previously, Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc. (Con Edison) and Orange and Rockland Utilities, Inc. (O&R) filed wind net metering tariffs which were approved by the Commission in the 2009 Net Metering Order. That Order, however, provided that Con Edison and O&R could be required to revise their wind net metering tariffs when the remaining four investor-owned utilities’ tariffs were considered by the Commission.

Currently, Central Hudson, National Grid, NYSEG and RG&E limit wind net metering to residential installations of 25kW or less and residential farm installations of 125kW or less, subject to a ceiling set at 0.2 percent of each utility’s 2003 peak load.

Today the Commission approved utilities’ wind net metering tariffs to: 1) expand eligibility for wind net metering to include non-residential customers installing wind generation systems sized at no more than the customer’s load, up to a ceiling of 2 megawatts; 2) increase the capacity ceiling for farm wind systems from 125kW to 500kW; and, 3) expand each utility’s wind generation load ceiling to 0.3 percent of the utility’s peak demand for 2005 on a first-come, first-served basis. Residential installations eligible for net metering remain unchanged at a maximum of 25kW.

The Commission’s written Order in Cases 09-E-0284, 09-E-0296, 09-E-0297, 09-E-0298, 08-E-1306 and 08-E-1307, when issued, may be obtained by going to the Commission Documents section of the Commission’s Web site at www.dps.state.ny.us and entering any one of the aforementioned case numbers in the input box labeled “Search for Case/Matter Number.”

The Commission’s 2009 Net Metering Order in Case 08-E-1305 also can be obtained from the Commission’s Web site. Many libraries offer free Internet access. Commission Orders may also be obtained from the Commission’s Files Office, 14th floor, Three Empire State Plaza, NY 12223 (518-474-2500).

NYSPSC press release here

New York PSC approves Iberdrola purchase of Energy East

At its Wednesday, September 3, special session, the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) approved unanimously (by a 4-0 vote) but with conditions the proposed acquisition by Iberdrola of Energy East.

Conditions include:

  • $275 million in benefits to NY Energy East customers, to be used to either reduce rates or moderate requested rate increases;
  • $200 million in investment by Iberdrola in wind energy in New York and if Iberdrola fails to invest the second $100 million, it must use up to $25 million in shareholder funds to invest in economic development projects in its service territories;
  • divestiture of Energy East’s fossil fuel generating plants (this was Iberdrola’s proposal);
  • a requirement that NYSEG and RG&E (the New York subsidiaries of Energy East);
  • establish a special voting right so that a bankruptcy of Iberdrola or its affiliates would not cause a bankruptcy of the New York companies; and
  • improved financial transparency and reporting requirements

Commissioner Harris in unprepared remarks called it “not perfect” and “not great” but a “good” deal, noting that all parties but PSC staff endorsed the deal. She expressed hope that Iberdrola will be a “good corporate citizen”. Said she’d personally be reviewing the vertical market power issue (the central concern of the PSC staff) to make sure it’s not exercised by Iberdrola.Commissioner Acampora especially thanked the staff of the PSC and indicated it was incumbent upon the Commission to review the Renewable Portfolio Standard in light of the transaction.

Commissioner Curry hoped other companies would be willing to invest in New York, seeing how the PSC approved the deal (and a previous European company purchase of a local utility — National Grid’s acquisition of Niagara Mohawk).

Chairman Brown likened the review to a scale. Noting there are some risks he said the deal balances to produce a net positive, and should help New York reach its goals regarding renewable energy.

The PSC special session may be found online at either

A PSC press release announcing the approval is available. The written approval with all the details will be posted on the PSC website. Iberdrola will presumably respond once the written details are available.

News reports include:

New York Regional Interconnect (NYRI) PSC application commences

The New York Public Service Commission has informed New York Regional Interconnect, Inc. (NYRI)  that its application to construct a 190-mile high voltage tranmission line from upstate (Marcy) to downstate (New Windsor) is complete.

The proceeding is on the fast track as if no decision is forthcoming within a year of the August 8, 2008 filing of the complete application, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) may step in and preempt the PSC. The PSC will hold public fora on the proposal in different locations throughout the state.

Opposition to the transmission line is gearing up for a fight, as reported in the Daily Star.

Background on NYRI may be found here.

PSC documents are here.

New York PSC postpones Iberdrola-Energy East decision

At its August 27 special session, with two commissioners absent, the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) postponed a decision on the proposed acquisition by Iberdrola of Energy East, tentatively until Wednesday, September 3, 2008.

The PSC Special Session will presumably be available online at either

New York PSC Special Session on Iberdrola-Energy East online 8/27

The New York Public Service Commission (PSC) has scheduled a Special Session to review and, presumably, decide on the proposed acquisition by Iberdrola of Energy East. It is scheduled to commence Wednesday, August 27, 2008 at 10:30 a.m.

The PSC Special Session shall be broadcast live online at either

http://www.dps.state.ny.us/webcast_sessions.htm or

http://www.newyorkadmin.com/cgi-bin/nypsc.cgi

Per a PSC press release

Individuals in Albany wishing to observe the Commission’s meeting may do so in the Board Room on the 19th floor of the Commission’s offices at Three Empire State Plaza. Pursuant to procedures established by the building management, anyone planning to view the meeting in the New York City Board Room must notify Jan Goorsky at 212-417-2378, 48 hours in advance of the meeting, and must be prepared to show valid photo identification upon arrival at 90 Church Street. The videocasting will be for viewing and listening purposes only. In addition, the meeting will be broadcast live on the Internet. The Internet broadcast can be viewed through NewYorkAdmin by accessing http://www.NewYorkAdmin.com from a computer capable of using RealPlayer. RealPlayer can be downloaded from the NewYorkAdmin site. The Commission has no financial interest in the Web site, its management, maintenance or administration.

New York PSC plans to conclude Iberdrola-Energy East case 8/27

The New York Public Service Commission (PSC) heard staff testimony for the first time on August 20. The PSC released a press release thereafter, indicating its intent to resolve the case, which has been pending since May 2007, next week:

Today’s briefing, to be followed by an expected decisional meeting on August 27, capped a year-long review of Iberdrola’s proposal. This review included holding six public statement hearings. The record compiled in the case includes hundreds of pages of submitted testimony and exhibits.

The briefing was designed to provide a balanced view of the strengths and weaknesses of the proposal in an effort to help the Commissioners weigh the risks and benefits of the proposal.

Topics discussed included the financial condition of Iberdrola, the petitioners’ service quality and reliability, their commitments to the community, holding company risks, regulatory compliance, credit rating risks, and utility ownership of wind generation. The Commission’s public discourse is available for viewing at http://www.dps.state.ny.us/webcast_sessions.htm. [For those interested in watching, the Iberdrola-Energy East discussion began more than two hours into the PSC meeting. Don’t forget the popcorn.]

The PSC Iberdrola-Energy East press release is here.

A related Times Union article on the PSC hearing is here. Another is here. A Post-Standard article is here, and Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin article here.

New York wind energy developments

Town of Fulton considers wind development

The Schenectady Daily Gazette reports (July 15) reports on the apparent ambivalence of town residents as expressed at a town board meeting that addressed the potential location of wind farms in the area.

Galloo Island wind farm

Palladium Times (July 11) reports on a presentation made to Oswego County legislators regarding the Hounsfield Wind Farm (Jefferson County). While the proposed Hounsfield wind farm itself is in Jefferson County, the necessary transmission line would go through neighboring Oswego County.

Iberdrola-Energy East

Newsli.com (July 12) reports that two more New York politicians (state senate Democratic members Kevin Parker (D-Brooklyn) and Bill Perkins (D-Manhattan) have announced their support for Iberdrola’s proposed acquisition of Energy East, currently under review at the New York Public Service Commission (PSC). More here on the NY PSC’s consideration of the Iberdrola-Energy East transaction.

Lackawanna Steel Winds wind project will get new turbines

Buffalo News (July 11) reports that the City of Lackawanna Planning Board approved a site plan for 13 new wind turbines for the Steel Winds. Steel Winds is a project of Clipper Windpower.

New York Attorney General Investigation

More on the investigation into First Wind (formerly UPC Wind) and Noble Environmental Power, LLC:

Offshore wind projects

Buffalo News (July 12) reports on the potential of offshore wind projects, particularly around the Great Lakes. Advantages include stronger, more consistent wind resources (including during the day when demand is high), potentially reduced zoning jurisdicitional requirements; challenges include ice and cost and the environmental impact.  Here for description of a recent offshore wind report focusing on New York.

Potential Orange County municipal wind project

Times Herald-Record (July 15) reports on a potential project at Greenwood Lake. Meteorological testing has begun.

Spafford wind law

Skaneateles Press on CNYLInk (July 15) reports that the Town of Spafford discussed a proposed wind turbine law, aimed at regulating the use of smaller scale turbines. Among those present at the Town Board meeting was a representative of the Town of Skaneateles, who expressed concern that that the town had not been notified of the proposed law.