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New York Public Service Commission issues key decision on offshore wind transmission – Energy and Natural Resources

By on January 25, 2022 0

United States: New York Public Service Commission makes key ruling on offshore wind transmission

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On January 20, 2022, the New York Public Service Commission (Commission) released its Ordinance on the recommendations of the study of the electrical network regarding investments in the state’s electric transmission and distribution system that are necessary to meet the mandates of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA). The order focused primarily on changes to New York’s offshore wind program, but also addressed future onshore bulk transmission planning needs, the proposal to consider Renewable Energy Zones (REZs), and approaches to deployment of advanced technologies.

The order is the latest step in a process that began in 2020, when the Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefits Act directed state agencies and other stakeholders to undertake a in-depth study of the needs of the transmission and distribution system. In January 2021, the Civil Service Personnel Department, in conjunction with NYSERDA, filed the Initial report on the study of the electricity network (initial report).

The Order Passes Key Transmission-Related Changes to New York’s Offshore Wind Program, Signaling Strongly and for the First Time to New York City That It Will Move to a “Meshed” Offshore Wind Transmission System Instead of Power Lines previously preferred “radial” interconnection of each generating facility. With such a network, the projects are interconnected to an offshore network, which is further connected to the terrestrial system at two or more interconnection points. The Commission said: “[W]We are not in a position today to decide whether to change the Commission’s current preference for a direct radial approach to offshore wind transport. However, the information and comments on file to date suggest that it is time to consider a different approach.” This different approach, ordered by the Commission, should include from the outset that future purchases of credits from Offshore Wind Energy (OREC) from NYSERDA require that wind projects be designed to accommodate a meshed transmission network, and that NYSERDA will include in its form OREC purchase and sale agreements tariff provisions to account for the possibility injection sites in multiple areas of the New York Control Area, available rental sites, potential savings from a mesh network, and relatively small increase in project costs due to sustainability (noted by the Commission as being 0.4% of the project cost for the construction of a grid-ready substation), influenced the Commission’s decision.

The order also directs NYSERDA to include eligibility criteria in its offshore wind power purchases that would require the use of high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission where appropriate to preserve maximum efficient use of constrained cable corridors, which has been a particular problem in New York City. port and rivers. Although cheaper to build, alternating current (AC) lines have lower capacitance than DC lines of the same physical size, and the use of HVDC lines offers significant technical advantages over high voltage alternating current, including power flow controls and easier black start capabilities.

After reviewing the initial report, the Commission also found that further work was needed to identify plausible scenarios for interconnecting offshore wind generation in New York. Noting that “recent developments call into question…the base case assumptions” of the initial report, in particular with regard to the proposed Tier 4 interconnector locations and the offshore wind projects currently under development, the Commission determined that “further work is required to identify scenarios for interconnecting offshore wind generation in New York City at the identified levels…” The Commission further granted permission to Con Edison to file a petition regarding its project of “Clean Energy Hub” which could accommodate 3,000 MW of offshore wind capacity in New York.

With respect to energy storage, the Commission noted the study’s projection that by 2040, more than 4,000 MW of storage will be needed in New York City alone and more than 3,000 MW in Long Island, and authorized NYSERDA to grant additional rating credit in the economic benefits-and-viability categories for energy storage facilities incorporated into offshore wind turbine proposals, provided they are located in New York or Long Island.

Regarding the “renewable energy areas” that some have proposed, the Commission said its coordinated planning processes will support the timely achievement of CLCPA objectives, and determined that there is no need create a separate REZ process.

Looking ahead, NYSERDA will incorporate these changes regarding mesh network optionality, the OREC redesign, and energy storage into the next OREC solicitation, which is expected to be released in 2022. Con Edison will file a petition on its proposed Clean Energy Hub, which interested parties will likely have an opportunity to comment on. New York’s transmission planning continues to be politically dynamic, so we expect further changes and improvements as markets develop and the state’s energy transition continues.

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