Why Long Island Could Become New York’s First Energy Storage Hotspot

It can be hard to keep up with the steady drumbeat of energy
storage policy updates emanating from the northeast, and New York
in particular, but last week’s announcement of $55 million
allocated for Long Island deserves a second look.

The specifics of the incentive — $250 per kilowatt-hour for
residential storage or commercial systems up to 5 megawatts —
parallel similar opportunities offered to customers elsewhere in
New York as part of a
$280 million package
 launched in April. The earlier tranche
was funded by a systems benefit charge that Long Islanders don’t
pay; instead, their storage dollars are coming from the Regional
Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

Besides a separate funding structure, Long Island’s geography
and grid infrastructure make it a valuable test case for energy
storage, as part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s ambitious
decarbonization program
.

“Long Island strikes me as one of the best and earliest
locations to reach a complete carbon free grid, given its solar,
storage and offshore wind capabilities,” said Jason Doling,
assistant director for distributed energy resources at the New York
State Energy Research and Development Agency (NYSERDA).

NYSERDA hopes to disburse the storage funds in the next three to
five years, with the goal of establishing a local installer base
and a sustainable, growing market by the end of that period.

Island limits create storage opportunities

The water separating Long Island from the mainland imposes
obvious constraints on delivering electricity to a population that
totaled
7.5 million
as of the last census. Summer tourism season brings
extra stress, regularly forcing the Long Island Power Authority,
which owns the grid infrastrucutre, to truck in portable diesel
generators to meet demand.

Storage can defer distribution upgrades, ensuring power supply
during peak hours in place of more capital intensive investments.
LIPA tested out this vision when it powered up a
5 megawatt/ 40 megawatt-hour battery
last summer at a
substation in East Hampton.

Separately, Cuomo’s administration has developed more stringent
nitrogen oxide emissions regulations to target the worst polluting
peaker plants. Plants have until mid-2020 to come into compliance.
Emissions reductions are possible by replacing fossil fueled
generators with storage, or adding storage to hybridize the
plant.

Some of Long Island’s peakers operate for short enough stints
that batteries could replace them outright, Doling said. About 200
megawatts of storage could fulfill that task, he said. A broader
population of plants could add batteries so the thermal units run
only in extreme peak events; that group could put 1,000 megawatts
of storage to work.

Further down the road, offshore wind development will bring a
massive influx of variable renewable energy to the Long Island
coast. Cuomo recently enlarged the state’s offshore wind target to

9 gigawatts by 2035
, compared to nothing built today.

Long Island will serve as the receiving point for much of that
power, so capacity to store that power and send it to the mainland
outside of transmission-constrained hours could prove valuable down
the road, although the exact structures for monetizing that value
have not been developed.

Activate home energy devices

NYSERDA also announced a joint project with utility Public
Service Electric and Gas Long Island, which operates the local
grid, to compensate customers who choose to put solar-paired
batteries in their homes.

After the initial deployment incentive, participants can earn
more through the utility’s Dynamic Load Management tariff, which
pays for demand reduction during peak hours. That rate is available
to other customers too, but is especially well suited for home
solar and storage customers.

The tariff includes a 10 year payment from PSEG to ratepayers in
exchange for reducing load during the peak times of the year. That
rate pays more in constrained areas, as determined by marginal cost
of service studies, Doling said. The utility will call on
aggregators, like home solar and storage provider Sunrun, to
deliver demand reductions from its customer base in those targeted
areas.

This program joins a growing list of “Bring Your Own Device”
programs in northeastern states that seek to connect utilities to
devices that customers are installing anyway, as one way to find
behind-the-meter resources that could delay the need to build new
grid infrastructure.
New Hampshire
,
Vermont
and Massachusetts are pursuing residential demand
reduction programs with batteries, too.

“This approach enables utilities to leverage, as a grid
resource, the growing number of batteries that companies like
Sunrun are installing for our customers,” Sunrun spokesperson Shane
Levy wrote in an email. “We think the result will be more batteries
installed with solar on Long Island and a greater use of batteries
to lower grid costs for all customers.”

Residents of Long Island have a more personal reason to invest
in batteries, besides the emerging grid servies revenue
streams.

“Hurricane Sandy is very fresh in everyone’s minds,” Doling
noted. “All the folks that had PV that went offline are wanting
storage to allow at least a basic level of islanding.”

Now customers seeking zero-emission backup power can support the
investment with participation in the BYOD service.

Source: FS – GreenTech Media
Why Long Island Could Become New York’s First Energy Storage Hotspot