- The New York Public Service Commission on Thursday approved a new benefit/cost analysis method, or BCA, for local electric transmission and distribution system upgrades, which will rely upon capacity expansion modeling when considering projects to meet the state’s decarbonization goals.
- Regulators say the new BCA applies to “traditional” line and substation projects, as well as rebuilding circuits, substation reconfigurations or expansions, construction of new substations, and installation of transformers.
- The PSC also authorized construction of a 135 MW battery storage project in New York City, and approved a $557 million bill credit program for low-income electric and gas customers.
Regulators say the new BCA will be consistent with a least-cost approach to meeting New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act mandates.
“New York is making significant upgrades and additions to the state’s existing transmission and distribution systems to integrate new large-scale renewable energy projects into the sate’s energy supply, and we must ensure that these investments are smart and cost-effective,” PSC Chair Rory Christian said in a statement.
The state’s climate law was signed in 2019 and directed utilities to deliver 70% renewables by 2030 and 100% zero-emission electricity by 2040.
Requirements of the new BCA include:
- Capacity expansion modeling that considers the total cost of generating, connecting, and delivering energy produced from renewable generation after curtailments;
- Consideration of the capital cost and energy output of renewable generation sources in different locations across New York, non-wires alternatives and bulk transmission system interconnections;
- Stacking combinations of renewable generation and other projects from least to highest cost, to reach 70% renewable energy generation by 2030.
The PSC took several other actions at Thursday’s meeting, including approving a 135-MW battery facility in Astoria, Queens.
The $300 million Luyster Creek Energy Storage facility will be built by Astoria Generating Company and is planned to be online in 2024. The project is expected to help reduce New York City’s reliance on older oil- and gas-fired peaker plants.
“Energy storage is vital to building flexibility into the grid,” Christian said. “The Luyster Creek project advances New York State’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction and renewable energy goals as outlined in the [CLCPA], including 3,000 MW of statewide energy storage capacity by 2030.”
The PSC also adopted an estimated $557 million Covid-19 bill credit program for low-income customers to address unpaid utility bills. Under the bill credit program, the commission said it will leverage $250 million from the Fiscal Year 2023 Enacted State Budget for one-time credits to customers enrolled in utility energy affordability programs. And the program authorizes “the same relief for any eligible low-income customers that enroll in EAP by December 31, 2022,” the commission said.
The bill credit program “builds on the budget appropriation and is a major step forward to help vulnerable New Yorkers maintain their utility services while they get back on their feet,” Gov. Kathy Hochul, D, said in a statement.
According to January data from the PSC, New York residents fell further behind on utility bills during the pandemic and had accrued total energy arrears of about $1.8 billion.
The bill credit program was supported by several groups, including the Long Island Power Authority, Public Utility Law Project, and Citizens for Local Power.
"Many low income New Yorkers are still struggling to pay down utility bills accrued during the public health crisis,” New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Commissioner Daniel Tietz said in a statement. Along with helping those enrolled in existing energy affordability programs, he said the new credit program “will help identify many others qualified for and in need of assistance.”