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.

New study advocates decentralized ownership of rural wind, renewable energy projects

A new Ford Foundation-sponsored report from the “New Rules” project of the Institute for Local Self Reliance (written by John Farrell and David Morris) indicates that

The next 20 years could generate as much as $1 trillion in new renewable energy investment in rural America [and the report] provides a policy roadmap for states and the federal government that would encourage modest-sized renewable energy facilities and local ownership.

The report states

… Current federal incentives largely enable a highly centralized and absentee owned renewable energy industry concentrated in relatively few states. The federal government, states, and rural communities should redesign these policies to encourage a highly decentralized and dispersed renewable energy industry that is significantly locally owned. Doing so would multiply the number of rural areas that benefit from burgeoning renewable energy industries, and would create a sustainable asset whose wealth and revenue will largely remain in revived local communities and regions.

This report examines the current impact of renewable energy on rural communities and identifies existing and potential policies that could dramatically expand the economic benefit this new sector can bring to these communities.

Report and press release is here.

Al Gore speech: Renewable energy electricy by 2018

In a speech delivered July 17, Nobel Prize winner and environmental advocate Al Gore urged the United States to abandon fossil fuels for electricity production by 2018, akin to President Kennedy’s moonshot challege in the 1960s, citing among other renewable energy factoids that

enough wind power blows through the Midwest corridor every day to also meet 100 percent of US electricity demand.

More specifically, Mr. Gore said that

Today I challenge our nation to commit to producing 100 percent of our electricity from renewable energy and truly clean carbon-free sources within 10 years.

The challenge is possible to be issued now, he said, because

the sharp cost reductions now beginning to take place in solar, wind, and geothermal power – coupled with the recent dramatic price increases for oil and coal – have radically changed the economics of energy.

Among other items that need to be addressed is the aging electricity grid:

To be sure, reaching the goal of 100 percent renewable and truly clean electricity within 10 years will require us to overcome many obstacles. At present, for example, we do not have a unified national grid that is sufficiently advanced to link the areas where the sun shines and the wind blows to the cities in the East and the West that need the electricity. Our national electric grid is critical infrastructure, as vital to the health and security of our economy as our highways and telecommunication networks. Today, our grids are antiquated, fragile, and vulnerable to cascading failure. Power outages and defects in the current grid system cost US businesses more than $120 billion dollars a year. It has to be upgraded anyway.

The speech is nothing if not thought-provoking and worth a read.

New York PSC issues order on 15 x 15 Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard

The New York Public Service Commission (PSC) issued an order June 23 formalizing the Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard or EEPS. The PSC initiated the proceeding (CASE 07-M-0548) in May 2007, to achieve a reduction in statewide electricity usage by 15% by 2015 (the “15×15” goal). As the PSC stated in its order:

The objectives of the EEPS are to realize New York’s untapped potential for energy efficiency and make this a high priority energy resource. This potential was described in a 2003 report on the development of New York State’s energy efficiency program. Working toward and ultimately attaining this aggressive goal will moderate expected increases in average bills and the State’s energy costs over time; enhance system reliability; ease wholesale prices and transmission and distribution congestion; reduce greenhouse gas emissions and local air pollution from the energy sector; improve New York’s energy security and create clean energy jobs for New Yorkers….

In this Order, several foundational issues are addressed, resulting in an expanded energy efficiency program capable of attaining the goal adopted in the Instituting Order: a 15% reduction in forecast electricity usage by the year 2015 (15 x 15).

  • First is the adoption of specific, interim, three-year targets for MWh reduction, with a forecast trajectory that will achieve the efficiency goal of this proceeding.
  • Second is the approval of specific energy efficiency programs for immediate implementation (the “fast track” programs).
  • Third is the direction to New York’s investor-owned utilities to commence collection, through the System Benefits Charge (SBC), of additional funds to support the EEPS through 2011.
  • Fourth is the adoption of a requirement that utilities file energy efficiency programs consistent with the policies and benefit/cost factors adopted herein. Fifth is the adoption of findings under the State Environmental Quality Review Act.

While there is no explicit mention of wind energy, goals of the proceeding include “decreas[ing] the State’s dependence on fossil fuel-based generation and imported fuels, and reduc[ing] its greenhouse gas emissions.” See Order, Note 1. The PSC order establishing the EEPS 15×15 goal may be found here. Other case files may be found here.