New York PSC plans conference on grid congestion issues

The New York State Public Service Commission will determine the exact extent of the need for relief of persistent transmission congestion that exists along the Mohawk and Hudson Valley transmission corridors by convening a technical conference in mid-2015.

“After carefully considering comments from stakeholders and members of the public, and in light of other proceedings related to improving energy efficiency and modernizing the grid, we will carefully reexamine the need for transmission upgrades to address existing transmission congestion problems,” said PSC Chair Audrey Zibelman in a Dec. 12 statement. “This thorough review will help provide greater clarity to the process and to the communities in the impacted areas.”

In light of commission efforts to under Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) initiative to promote more efficient use of energy, deeper penetration of renewable energy, and greater use of distributed energy resources, requests have been made to re-examine the issues and re-determine the extent of the need for transmission upgrades in the congested region.

Upon completion of this re-examination, staff will host a technical conference to ensure all parties can raise questions about its recommendations. As part of the process, staff will prepare a report addressing the need question and present its findings in the technical conference.

Previous studies demonstrated that constraints on the electric transmission system is leading to significant transmission congestion and contributing to higher energy costs and reliability concerns. In fact, consumers in the lower Hudson Valley have to pay higher electric costs, primarily because of this congestion. Upgrading the system to reduce such congestion could enhance system flexibility and efficiency, reduce environmental and health impacts associated with electricity production, increase supply diversity, accommodate interconnection of new sources of power along the way, including renewable and clean energy, promote lower cost generation in upstate areas, and mitigate potential problems arising from generator retirements.

In the event a determination of need is made, the process contemplates a commission decision in August or September of 2015. Coordinating the comparative evaluation phase with the New York Independent System Operator’s public policy planning process would establish a mechanism for cost recovery.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.