- The New York Independent System Operator will keep four peaker plants operating past their expected May 2025 retirement date in order to maintain an adequate electric reliability margin in the nation’s most populous city, grid officials said in a Short-Term Reliability Process Report published Monday.
- In July, the ISO concluded New York City will face a 446 MW deficit in its reliability margin beginning in the summer of 2025 due to rising demand and new emission limits on peaker plants. Generators on the Gowanus 2 & 3 and Narrows 1 & 2 barges will act as a “temporary solution" to the shortfall, and will run for an additional two years.
- A coalition of consumer and environmental justice advocates says the ISO, city, state and utility companies must quickly develop renewables, battery and transmission solutions to reduce the need for the peakers. Consolidated Edison, which delivers electricity to New York City, said it was unable to develop a solution in time but continues to work with the stakeholders on the issue.
New restrictions on New York peaker plant emissions went into effect in May, limiting nitrogen oxide emissions from plants that run when demand is high. Since then, more than 1,000 MW of capacity has been deactivated or reduced operation, and stricter rules go into effect in the spring of 2025.
Those stricter rules are expected to take another 590 MW offline, the ISO said, contributing to an up to 446 MW deficit in New York City’s reliability margin beginning in the summer of 2025. But the rules also allow NYISO to temporarily retain plants if there is a reliability need and no other solutions are identified.
“With the additional peakers unavailable, the bulk power transmission system will not be able to serve the forecasted demand securely and reliably under normal weather conditions,” the ISO said. Extreme weather “raises the risk of outages.”
NYISO said it identified generators on the Gowanus 2 & 3 and Narrows 1 & 2 barges as a temporary solution for New York City’s reliability need. The units were expected to retire in 2025. The total capability of the four barges is almost 565 MW but their contribution to the New York City transmission security margin is 508 MW, meaning all four are needed, the ISO said.
The plants are owned by Astoria Generating Company.
The PEAK coalition, made up of consumer advocate and environmental justice groups, said the area where the barge generators are located “already faces considerably higher concentrations of air pollution and rates of respiratory disease incidents.”
“Preventing these facilities from fully deactivating represents a continued danger to Sunset Park residents by impairing their public health, exacerbating local climate change impacts, and making their electricity bills unaffordable,” the group said. The coalition added that it is “disappointed and concerned that neither ConEd nor the private sector submitted solutions that could be installed by and sufficiently address the reliability deficiency in 2025.”
NYISO sought fixes to the reliability margin deficiency but said it “received no solutions that could be installed by May 2025, or were sufficient to address the 446 megawatt deficiency.”
ConEd did propose a transmission solution that included installation of about 16 miles of 345 kV underground cable, construction of a switching station and reconfiguration of two existing substations. However, that solution could not be completed before the Champlain Hudson Power Express transmission project comes online in 2026, which is expected to improve the city’s resource situation, NYISO said.
A battery solution proposed by Orenda was “not sufficient to address the need,” the grid operator also said.
“Following a review of potential backstop solutions, the company was not able to develop any solution sufficient to completely address the 2025 transmission security margin,” ConEd said in a statement. The utility “will continue to work collaboratively with the NYISO, regulators, policymakers, and other stakeholders to ensure reliable, safe service for customers, throughout the state’s clean energy transition.”