New York regulators tap ConEdison to help interconnect up to 6 GW of offshore wind

Diving brief:

  • The New York Public Service Commission (CFP) published an order Thursday implementing several offshore wind recommendations from the power grid study published by the commission a year ago. The actions are designed to ensure that an increasing number of projects can effectively interconnect with each other.
  • Among other actions, regulators ordered Consolidated Edison to submit details of an onshore hub that would support the 5GW-6GW interconnection of offshore wind in lower Manhattan. In November, the utility announced a series of clean energy commitments and proposed building “clean energy centers” in New York to provide offshore wind and other new resources.
  • The order comes as New York begins a new round of solicitations for up to 2 GW of offshore wind that will require a transmission mesh network to reduce grid congestion. “Today, among other things, the Commission addressed the study’s critical recommendations regarding the integration of 9 GW of offshore wind with the state’s onshore grid,” said PSC Chairman Rory Christian, in a press release.

Overview of the dive:

In January, the US Department of the Interior announced a February auction for offshore wind lease sales in the New York Bight. These facilities, which could use New York City as a ground interconnection point, increasing the need for a “shared mesh configuration” of transmission for new resources, according to the PSC order.

“[W]We note the initial report’s conclusion that a meshed approach would be the most flexible and adaptable to the availability and locations of future rental areas, the PSC wrote in its Jan. 20 order.

According to the PSC order, a meshed transmission network “helps to mitigate production interruptions and allows network users to direct their production to the point of interconnection (POI) where these injections have the highest system value. power transfer capability between terrestrial points of interest also serves to strengthen the terrestrial network and reduce network congestion.”

The recommendations the PSC is implementing would help “future-proof” the grid by supporting greater offshore wind development, said Noah Shaw, partner in Foley Hoag’s energy and climate practice. New York State’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) of 2019 set a goal of 9 GW of offshore wind by 2035.

The PSC also directed the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to require offshore wind energy proposals to be designed with multiple interconnection points, creating interconnection capabilities with a mesh system among several offshore wind projects.

The next solicitations will be the first to require “multiple projects to be able to connect to each other and make the best use of the point of interconnection,” said Shaw, former general counsel for NYSERDA, which helped design the offshore wind program for NYSERDA. the state.

The PSC order also established a task force to evaluate advanced transmission technologies. State regulators are seeking to accelerate the adoption of advanced transmission technologies that can help achieve CLCPA goals at lower cost, and they have asked utilities to report back in six months on their progress identifying ways to implementation of the technologies in addition to requiring ConEdison to design a New York City interconnection hub.

“It depends on where the resource is supposed to come ashore… With many gigawatts of offshore wind turbines in New York, ConEdison has to figure out how to handle that injection,” Shaw said.

“Utilities need to respond in those pockets where there is such an influx of onshore resources,” he said, noting that other utilities in the northeast will face a density of interconnection demands. offshore, such as those expected from Eversource and National Grid in Massachusetts and PSEG in New Jersey.

On Wednesday, the Interior Ministry approved the start of construction work on a 132 MW offshore wind project. It is the second commercial offshore wind project in the United States to receive approval, after Vineyard Wind in Massachusetts. The South Fork wind project, developed by Eversource Energy and Ørsted, has received final approval and is expected to complete construction in 2023, placing a dozen turbines offshore Long Island, New York.

The project, under contract with the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA), is not under the jurisdiction of the PSC, but utilities like LIPA and PSEG Long Island will also be called upon to plan the “future-proof” offshore transmission. “Shaw said.

“There is real reform of the entire Long Island system that is going to happen over the next decade,” he said.

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