New York State Public Service Commission on April 20 said that it has taken four Reforming the Energy Vision (REV)-related actions, including to open the door to distributed generation (DG) suppliers seeking to connect energy storage technologies to the distribution system, allowing for projects up to 5 MW to come online.
As noted in the statement, REV stimulates investment in such clean technologies as solar, wind, and energy efficiency, and requires 50% of the state’s electricity needs from renewable energy by 2030.
Of the energy storage action, the statement noted that the commission has enhanced the Standardized Interconnection Requirements (SIR) application and contract process. The commission added in its statement that those revisions will provide for a more efficient interconnection process that allows DG developers to connect projects to the distribution system without undue delay.
In its order involving the energy storage action, the commission said, “These changes to incorporate [energy storage systems], streamline the interconnection process for DG up to 5 MW, combine existing smaller projects, give developers more control over the utility’s construction cost down-payment expenditure, and update technical screens, all advance the commission’s goal to increase DG penetration while maintaining a safe and reliable distribution system.”
Another REV-related action involves the commission approving New York State Electric and Gas’ (NYSEG) request to implement time differentiated electric rate options, on a pilot basis, for the Energy Smart Community (ESC) project, which includes deploying advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) to about 12,000 customers in Ithaca, Tompkins County, and the surrounding towns. The commission added that the pilot rates, including the selection of on-peak and off-peak time periods, are designed to convey strong price signals that focus on the system peak. For each service classification, the off-peak rates are at least 2.5 times less than the on-peak rates, which sends a clear price signal to customers, and provides them with a greater financial incentive to manage their energy usage, the commission said.
The commission noted that another action involves directing the creation of the Utility Energy Registry (UER), which is an online platform offering public access to customer-load data for the major utilities, and will get underway in mid-2018. Making community level energy consumption data available for local planning, market research, and community choice aggregation development, without providing an individual’s consumption data, fosters increased awareness of energy use patterns and promotes conservation, the commission said, adding that it also adopted a privacy standard for the provision of whole building data for apartment buildings.
The order involving the UER noted, for instance, that to clarify and simplify the account datasets, the commission will direct the following items be reported to the UER for the residential and small commercial grouping: total customer count and count of customers ineligible for Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) (including customers served by energy service companies (ESCOs), customers with a block on their account, and customers ineligible for any other reason). The commission said in its order that it will not require reporting of low-income assistance program participants (APP) counts as that information is sensitive and specific to the particular CCA programs that may be developed.
The final REV-related action involves the commission ordering that Community Distributed Generation (CDG) projects serving only farm customers are no longer required to comply with a number of CDG program rules, including the 10-member minimum requirement. Instead, the commission added, CDG projects with less than 10 members will be allowed. Farm-based generation, including farm digesters, offers the potential to contribute significantly to the state’s energy system and clean energy goals, the commission said.