The New York State Public Service Commission on Feb. 22 said that it has “approved a first-ever plan that will allow Consolidated Edison Company of New York” (Con Edison) to significantly expand the use of battery storage systems in its service territory.
The decision is part of an overall effort to expand battery storage to more effectively harness and utilize the renewable energy being produced, the commission said.
According to the commission’s Feb. 22 order, Con Edison last July filed tariff amendments to its Electric Tariff Schedule to expand the circumstances under which electric energy storage systems would be able to export to its distribution system.
The order approves the company’s tariff amendments related to electric energy storage systems, with clarifying modifications. The commission added in its order that the tariff amendments significantly increase energy storage technologies’ ability to export power to Con Edison’s primary and secondary voltage distribution systems, while maintaining power quality, as well as safe and reliable operations.
The commission said that it expects that the tariff modifications are the first step toward encouraging deeper penetration of energy storage technologies in Con Edison’s service territory, and that further developments to support those technologies will be considered as part of Phase Two of the Value of Distribution Energy Resources (VDER) Proceeding.
Con Edison proposed to make five modifications to its tariff, including to amend its tariff to apply provisions currently only applicable to batteries, such as the optional exemption from the standby rate for designated technologies, to a broad array of energy storage technologies. The broader definition of energy storage technologies would include batteries, flow batteries, fly wheels, and compressed air storage systems, the commission added.
Con Edison also proposed to expand the ability for energy storage systems to participate in any non-wire alternative (NWA) project, instead of only specific NWA projects, such as the Brooklyn-Queens Demand Management Program.
The commission further noted that the company proposed to allow energy storage systems to export to the distribution system as part of participation in demand response programs, such as the company’s Rider T commercial demand response programs, with specific requirements depending upon whether the energy storage technology is equipped with an inverter or not. Energy storage technologies equipped with inverters would be allowed to export to either the secondary or primary voltage distribution system, whereas non-inverter-based technologies would only be allowed to export to the primary voltage system.
The commission also said that Con Edison proposed to exclude standalone energy storage systems from earning the “reliability credit” applicable to standby service customers – according to the company, the reliability credit is designed to compensate customers for offsetting their native load, which standalone energy storage systems cannot do. The company also stated that excluding standalone energy storage systems from eligibility for the reliability credit would eliminate cost shifts to other standby service customers, since the standalone energy storage systems would be able to avoid all delivery charges if the reliability credit were available.
The commission added that Con Edison also proposed to allow inverter-based energy storage systems to export to the secondary distribution system under Service Classification 11 – Buyback Service. Currently, customers may only export power to the primary voltage system under Buyback Service, the commission said, adding that non-inverter-based energy storage technologies would only be allowed to export to the primary voltage system.
Expanding the ability for energy storage to participate in future NWA projects beyond the Brooklyn/Queens Demand Management Program is particularly salient as Con Edison begins to develop additional NWA project proposals, which energy storage may be able to participate in, the commission said.
Beyond NWA programs, Con Edison’s proposed tariff leaves also expand customers’ ability to participate in the company’s Rider T commercial demand response programs with energy storage technologies, the commission said. Allowing inverter-based energy storage technologies to export to the secondary voltage distribution system provides a new option for customers to interconnect energy storage systems while maintaining system power quality and reliability, the commission said. Therefore, the company’s proposed tariff amendments are approved, but additional clarification is necessary regarding the proposed language on “leaf 167,” the commission added.
The standby reliability credit is designed to reward customers for managing their generation and non-generator load behind the customer’s meter for the benefit of the distribution system. However, the commission added, for “front of the meter” energy storage systems, there is no other load to reward customers for managing, and customers would earn payments for their discharge through existing wholesale market payments or through the “Buyback Rate.”
Among other things, the commission said that Con Edison’s proposed language, “…with the primary purpose of exporting and not to off-set non-Electric Energy Storage system load and related support equipment,” would allow the company to determine whether or not a customer would receive the reliability credit based on the company’s perception of a customer’s intention or purpose.
The commission added that as that may lead to unnecessary disputes between customers and the company, Con Edison is directed to make necessary modifications to define standalone energy storage systems, and further modify tariff leaf 167 to specify that standalone energy storage systems are not eligible to earn the reliability credit.
The company is to file such further amendments in compliance with the order within seven days of the order’s effective date, to be effective on not less than one day’s notice, the commission said.
In its statement, the commission noted that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently launched an initiative to deploy 1,500 MW of energy storage by 2025, and employ 30,000 New Yorkers.
To implement Cuomo’s directive, the commission said that it and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority staff are working to complete an Energy Storage Roadmap that will identify the means to achieving the governor’s energy storage target, as well as provide analysis to support the adoption of a 2030 goal by the commission as required by the energy storage legislation that Cuomo signed in December.