NYISO report finds state of the grid is good, challenges remain

With various parts of New York’s power system requiring upgrading or replacement, efforts are underway to address this concern, the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) said May 10.

“The state of the grid is good, and the near-term outlook for New York’s electric system is positive,” NYISO President and CEO Stephen Whitley said in the statement. “However, a complex array of factors affecting future power supply and demand requires close attention.”

Modernization and upgrades of New York’s transmission system can make better use of statewide generating resources and enhance access to power resources throughout the region, particularly renewable power developed in locales remote from high-demand population centers, NYISO said in its “Power Trends 2012: State of the Grid.”

Of the high-voltage transmission facilities serving the state in 2010, 84% went into service before 1980, and many of them will require replacement over the next 20 years.

Major electric system planning efforts are available to provide a technical foundation upon which to build the “energy highway” proposed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

In his 2012 State of the State Address delivered Jan. 4, Cuomo announced a plan to build a private sector funded $2bn “Energy Highway” system that will tap into the generation capacity and renewable energy potential in upstate and western New York to bring low-cost power to downstate New York. In April, Cuomo’s New York Energy Highway Task Force issued a request for information seeking information on various aspects of potential electric generation and transmission projects.

NYISO said it completed the first phase of its most recent congestion assessment and resource integration study (CARIS) process in March, noting that CARIS serves to screen the options available to address transmission congestion.

The study identified the three most congested parts of the state bulk power system based upon historic data as well as estimates of future congestion:

  • Central East – New Scotland – Pleasant Valley between the Mohawk Valley Region (NYISO Load Zone E), the Capital Region (Zone F), and the Lower Hudson Valley (Zone G).
  • New Scotland – Pleasant Valley between the Capital Region (Zone F) and the Lower Hudson Valley (Zone G).
  • Leeds – Pleasant Valley between the Capital Region (NYISO Load Zone F) and the Lower Hudson Valley (Zone G).

The process analyzed generic solutions using assumptions related to the cost of adding transmission, demand response and generation. The analysis’ goal was to determine projected production cost savings when serving statewide power demands with a generic congestion solution in place, NYISO added, noting that such reductions in generation cost ultimately yield savings for power consumers.

Three of the generic solutions produced favorable benefit/cost ratios, with two of the generic solutions being transmission in the low-cost range serving the Leeds – Pleasant Valley and New Scotland – Pleasant Valley corridors. The other was demand response in the low-cost range serving the Central East – New Scotland – Pleasant Valley corridor.

Projects proposed to address Cuomo’s “energy highway” goals may be studied during the next phase of the CARIS process when the NYISO performs a benefit/cost analysis for each specific transmission project proposed to address congestion on the state bulk power system.

NYISO also said that the New York State Transmission Assessment and Reliability Study (STARS) is evaluating the lifecycle of New York’s existing transmission assets and identifying potential transmission projects that would economically and reliably support the state’s energy needs over the next 20 years and beyond.

One of the key findings of the STARS initiative is that almost 4,700 circuit-miles of the state’s 11,000 circuit miles of transmission lines will require replacement within the next 30 years at an estimated cost of $25bn.

NYISO also said that it is working with the state’s transmission owners on a $74m smart grid initiative supported by a U.S. Department of Energy smart grid investment grant of more than $37m. The project involves installing capacitor banks and phasor measurement units on the bulk transmission system throughout New York.

Additionally, NYISO is participating in developing industry cyber security standards at NERC and collaborating with various agencies and entities involved in maintaining cyber security protections.

Furthermore, in relation to FERC Order 1000, which was issued in 2011, NYISO said it is coordinating efforts with stakeholders and governmental entities to develop planning mechanisms beyond those already in place to consider public policy issues.

Among other things, NYISO discussed the future of the Indian Point Energy Center, noting that due to the state’s existing transmission limitations, new generation, additional demand response and limited transmission upgrades would likely be the potential solutions in response to an Indian Point closure in the next three to five years.

The federal operating licenses for Indian Point’s Unit 2 and Unit 3 expire in September 2013 and December 2015, respectively. The units’ owner, Entergy (NYSE:ETR), has applied to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission for a 20-year renewal of the licenses, NYISO added.

About Corina Rivera-Linares 3263 Articles
Corina Rivera-Linares, chief editor for TransmissionHub, has covered the U.S. power industry for the past 15 years. Before joining TransmissionHub, Corina covered renewable energy and environmental issues, as well as transmission, generation, regulation, legislation and ISO/RTO matters at SNL Financial. She has also covered such topics as health, politics, and education for weekly newspapers and national magazines. She can be reached at clinares@endeavorb2b.com.