In response to energy challenges facing New York, the state launched an initiative known as Reforming the Energy Vision (REV). New York’s Public Service Commission (PSC) is leading REV with the goal of overhauling the state’s power system and regulatory landscape to promote greater deployment of distributed energy resources (DER), like local renewables, energy storage, and demand response.
This fall, the Clean Coalition submitted comments on a PSC proposal to develop the REV market in New York. The comments focused on how to best guide the distribution grid planning process in New York, which will be performed through the creation of Distributed System Implementation Plans (DSIPs). New York must proactively prepare for increased deployment of DER to streamline their smooth integration into the grid.
In our comments, the Clean Coalition leveraged our experience leading the implementation of California’s Distribution Resources Plans. The Distribution Resources Plans are similar to the DSIPs that REV will employ, and lessons learned in California are directly relevant to New York. Most importantly, the Clean Coalition stressed the need to begin modeling the distribution grid to determine the optimal locations for deploying DER that will provide the highest value to ratepayers.
On February 26, 2015, the PSC on Track 1 of the proceeding, which is the first significant effort made to outline the REV initiative. The order called for the establishment of a Distribution System Platform (DSP) provider that is charged with enabling a market for DER. Initially, the order calls for the utilities to play the role of the DSP, in addition to keeping their more traditional role as a “wires” company. However, utilities will only be allowed to own DER in very limited circumstances, such as when creating demonstration projects.
PSC’s Track 1 Order noted the Clean Coalition’s contribution to the proceeding several times. Among other highlights, the order calls out our organization’s role in pushing utilities to quickly implement Community Microgrid demonstrations. To prove the efficacy of our distribution grid planning process, the Clean Coalition recommended that utilities promptly design and implement pilot projects that model one substation area, identify optimal locations for DER, and deploy the resources accordingly. In the Order, the PSC requires utilities to file initial demonstration projects by July 1, and further comments on community microgrids were solicited by May 1.
In the coming months, we will continue our involvement in the New York REV process—sharing our expertise on Community Microgrids and distribution grid planning with the PSC and others. Utilities will be required to file initial DSIPs by December 15, 2015. Further, Track 2 of the proceeding, which is to commence with a PSC straw proposal on June 1, will address ratemaking reforms to ensure equitable distribution of costs and benefits among customers, as well align utilities’ financial interests with the objectives of the entire initiative.
In order to further strengthen our impact, the Clean Coalition recently joined the Clean Energy Organizations Collaborative, which serves as a forum for aligned stakeholders in REV and other proceedings and includes national and state-based environmental groups, clean energy companies, renewable energy industry trade associations, energy efficiency providers, academic centers, and groups focused on consumer issues. Through our engagement, the Clean Coalition aims to guide New York towards a cleaner, more affordable, and more resilient power system.