New York utility turns to DERs to avoid $11.8M substation upgrade
- New York utility Rochester Gas and Electric last week issued a request for proposals, seeking to defer $11.8 million in substation investment by adding distributed energy resources in its territory to address growing demand.
- The utility is seeking reduce the peak loading on the individual transformer banks at its Station 43, and is seeking resources from 2019 through 2025, beginning with at least 1.5 MW.
- In New York, the state's Reforming the Energy Vision has pressed utilities to seek interconnected, distributed resources as ways to avoid costly system upgrades. Con Edison's Brooklyn Queens Demand Management program, which seeks to defer a $1 billion investment in a new substation, is probably the best known of the Non-Wires Alternatives (NWA).
RG&E's proposal is not as large as the BQDM project, but reflects the state's continued shift to find new ways of serving demand and strengthening the grid. According to the utility's RFP, it needs to establish DERs into the area "to reduce the peak loading on the individual transformer banks to below their nameplate ratings."
Required 2019 resources would include a minimum addition of 1.53 MW and contingency needs of 6.22 MW, rising to 2.84 MW and 7.53 MW, respectively, by 2025.
The contingency need "represents the amount of distributed generation that must be added to the Station 43 distribution circuits to maintain the station load to within the long term emergency rating of either transformer bank," the utility said. Due to conductor ratings, resources added may not exceed 2.74 MW on any individual circuit.
RG&E also noted that future plans for Station 43 include converting its operating voltage to 12.47 kV, so any customer owned-equipment, transformers, or underground cable must be able to initially operate at 4.16 kV and also be rated to operate in the future at 12.47 kV.
No existing resources will be considered. Proposals can include distributed generation, demand response, efficiency or energy storage. While RG&E said it would consider natural gas and propane solutions, other fossil-fuel projects are off the table. And it added that the utility "reserves the right, but not the obligation to aggregate proposals to meet the reliability needs."
RG&E is planning a pre-bid teleconference next week, to discuss the project with potential partners.
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