New York Regulators Evaluate DER Integration Plans; Find Several Areas Wanting

On March 9, 2017, in the final open session with chair Audrey Zibelman at the helm, the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) issued an Order regarding the utilities’ Distribution System Implementation Plans (DSIP). The DSIPs are the plans through which each utility will establish a Distributed System Platform (DSP) to more effectively integrate Distributed Energy Resources (DER), a foundational element of New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV). Each utility filed their initial DSIPs on June 30, 2016, and the New York utilities jointly filed a supplemental DSIP on November 1, 2016. Stakeholder comments and reply comments were also solicited following each filing. In evaluating the plans, the PSC used stakeholder comments to gauge the level of progress utilities had made in fulfilling their roles as the DSP. Though the tone of the Order was generally positive, “the Commission has identified a need for increased focus and tangible results to enable development of DSPs that facilitate use of DERs” in several areas.

Key Details

  • The Order evaluated the strengths and weaknesses of each utility’s plan, citing specific elements of some utilities’ plans as the model for the others to target
    • National Grid’s system data portal
    • Con Edison’s Brooklyn Queens demand management program for DER sourcing
  • The Commission did not order a complete refiling of the DSIPs as some stakeholders had requested, instead requiring more targeted compliance filings
  • The five areas the Commission found that require additional detail are:
    • Hosting Capacity: To address concerns regarding the pace of progress and the provision of data, utilities must accelerate their timeline to deliver hosting capacity data for all circuits > 12 kV by October 1, 2017, and create interactive maps for the display of hosting capacity and circuit data
    • Interconnection Portals: By October 1, 2017, utilities are to implement the first of three phases of increasingly automated functionality to review and approve interconnection applications submitted through an online portal
    • Non-Wires Alternatives (NWA): Within 60 days of the Order, utilities must file revised criteria by which traditional solutions to system needs are deemed suitable for comparison to NWA portfolios. The filing must also include a description of how NWAs are considered in planning processes, an assessment of projects in the current capital budget against the suitability criteria, and an indication of when an RFP would be issued to address those needs
    • Energy Storage: To make use of storage as an increasingly important distribution asset, by the end of 2018, each utility must have two operational energy storage projects, performing at least two separate grid functions (e.g., peak load reduction, increasing hosting capacity)
    • Aggregated Customer Data Privacy: Within 90 days of the Order, utilities must propose building energy management and benchmarking data standards that adhere to nationally recognized open standards and best practices and protect customer data privacy

Implications

The requirements in the DSIP Order do not represent a fundamental shift in direction for the New York utilities; rather, they provide interim targets for utilities to continue advancing their DSP capabilities prior to the next formal DSIP filings in June 2018. However, it is worth noting that the targets for some capabilities established in the Order are accelerated relative to timelines outlined in the Supplemental DSIP. Additionally, the Order provides a glimpse into the Commission’s priorities for near-term development and highlights the influence of stakeholder comments. Utilities in other grid modernization proceedings may want to note the extent that stakeholder feedback continues to be an important element in policy development.

More Information

NYPSC DSIP Order

New York Utility’s DSIP Filings

Greentech Media: New York Regulators Issue Three Milestone REV Orders, but More Work Remains

Utility Dive: New York REV Orders Prompt Growth for Diverse Set of Distributed Resources

Additional Contributing Authors: Josh Kmiec, Chris Sturgill

This report is part of ScottMadden’s Grid Minute series. To view all featured Grid Minutes, please click here.

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