New York PSC expands ConEd's non-wires alternatives program
- The New York State Public Service Commission last week extended and expanded Consolidated Edison’s (ConEd) Brooklyn Queens Demand Management program, a "non-wires" approach to deferring capital investments through the use of distributed resources.
- The program was launched in 2014 in tandem with the state's Reforming the Energy Vision to save customers millions by deferring the construction of a $1 billion substation. By summer 2018, ConEd will have contracted for more than 52 MW of non-traditional solutions.
- The PSC's latest order extends the program and adds additional distributed energy resources (DERs) such as fuel cells, solar power, battery storage and thermal storage.
Consolidated Edison's push to harness innovative technology and value propositions has shown results, and regulators want to expand the strategy.
PSC Chair John Rhodes called it "one of the best examples of the energy reforms underway in New York," in a statement announcing the commission decision. ConEd's BQDM program had been scheduled to end next year, but now utility will be allowed to obtain additional demand reductions and defer additional traditional infrastructure investments, without any additional funding.
"Extending the program without additional funding is possible because ConEdhas been able to achieve the demand management reductions it needed while staying within the budget previously approved," the PSC noted in a press release.
ConEd is on target to have contracted for 52 MW of non-traditional, customer-side and utility-side solutions to meet energy demand. So far, 6,000 small businesses, 1,400 multifamily buildings, and 8,800 family residences, are participating in the program.
Efficiency measures by small businesses have resulted in over 110 GWh of annual energy reduction, the PSC noted. Similar measures in multi-family residences and individual apartments have reduced more than 27 GWh in annual energy consumption.
ConEd announced in June it wanted to expand these types of solutions into new neighborhoods and would be seeking additional resources on the west side of Midtown Manhattan, northern and western Brooklyn, and northern Queens.
While non-wires alternatives are becoming increasingly common, ConEd's BQDM program has not been without questions. Greentech Media reports that new load forecasts mean the strategy is not saving as much as it was initially expected, and could actually leave New Yorkers on the hook for nearly $1 billion in additional costs.
Last month, however, in announcing the program expansion, ConEd Vice President Matthew Ketschke said BQDM heralded a new era of utility investment.
“For more than a century, the standard utility solution to the growing need for power has been to build more infrastructure,”Ketsche said. “But newer technologies give us another option. We can work with customers to help them manage their usage, get renewable energy, and reduce their monthly bills.”
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