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Our attorneys stay on top of changes in legislation, agency regulations, case law, and industry trends—then craft timely legal alerts to keep clients up to date on legal developments important to their business.

September 10, 2021

PSC Advances Transmission and Distribution Planning to Meet New York State's Clean Energy Goals

As we previously reported, New York’s Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act (the Act) requires, in part, state utilities to plan for large-scale renewable energy projects across New York State. The Act, in conjunction with the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), is advancing New York’s nation-leading clean energy goals. On September 9, 2021, the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) released its Order on Local Transmission and Distribution Planning Process and Phase 2 Project Proposals (the Order) further implementing the Act.  

The Order highlights four areas for further development to meet the CLPCA’s clean energy targets and to advance the Act’s mandate of transmission and distribution planning.   

First, the Order directs utilities to revise and resubmit their cost-benefit criteria analysis for selecting CLPCA project upgrades. Specifically, the Order requires the utilities to provide a cost- benefit analysis to account for long-term capacity modeling and to effectively prioritize investments designed to meet CLCPA mandates. Utilities have 90 days to resubmit their cost-benefit criteria. Further, the Order directs utilities to provide more detail on CLPCA-focused cost allocation under a voluntary statewide participant funding pool. The Order grants utilities 120 days to reach consensus on a cost recovery agreement.

Second, the Order requires utilities to file a new coordinated power grid planning and generation interconnection process. In developing this new process, the Order directs utilities to consult with NYSERDA, NYISO, DPS staff, and other stakeholders via collaborative working group forums to ensure transparent stakeholder participation.

Third, the Order directs the four major upstate electric utilities (NYSEG, RG&E, National Grid, and Central Hudson) to develop cost-effective solutions for existing renewable generation areas in need of increased transmission. Specifically, the Order identifies the Hornell-South Perry Region (NYSEG/RG&E), the Watertown/Oswego/Porter subzone (National Grid), and the Capital Region (NYSEG, National Grid, and Central Hudson) as in critical need of transmission investment due to increased renewable generation. The PSC finds that the problem of existing and likely future curtailments in these areas of concern justifies an immediate effort to explore cost-effective solutions and directs NYSEG/RG&E, National Grid, and Central Hudson to reconsider the proposals they made in their prior filings and submit new or revised solutions to the PSC within 120 days.

Finally, the Order requires utilities to revise how they calculate the existing electrical grid’s capability to add new renewable resources, known as headroom. The Order requires utilities to update their headroom estimates no later than February 1, 2022, in anticipation of a renewable project solicitation later that year. 

Attorneys in Barclay Damon’s Regulatory Practice Area will continue to monitor these and other developments affecting the renewable energy industry and the power grid in New York State.

If you have any questions regarding the content of this alert, please contact Brenda Colella, Regulatory Practice Area co-chair and co-team leader of the Renewable Energy and Energy Markets Teams, at bcolella@barclaydamon.com; Ekin Senlet, Regulatory Practice Area co-chair, at esenlet@barclaydamon.com; Angela Sicker, associate, at asicker@barclaydamon.com; or Daniel Krzykowski, law clerk, at dkrzykowski@barclaydamon.com.

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