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2023 Year in Review: Maintaining Reliability During the Transition to Clean Energy

January 24, 2024

In 2023, the NYISO continued to address the challenges associated with balancing new electricity demand growth and accelerating retirements of existing generators with the slow pace of new generation construction. It was a year of important planning studies, identifying and solving for reliability issues in New York City, and keeping a close watch on major infrastructure projects like the Champlain Hudson Power Express that will help support the transition to a decarbonized electric system. As we begin the important work of the year ahead, here are some important milestones from 2023.

Completion of the Interconnection “Class Year”

In January, we announced the completion of the 2021 “Class Year". 27 new wind, solar, energy storage, and transmission expansion projects totaling 7,452 megawatts completed the studies required to reliably connect to the high voltage electric system. Once in service, these projects will help New York State meet the climate goals set forth in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA). We applaud the developers, utilities, NYISO planners, and all stakeholders who made the “Class Year” a success.

Sharing Interconnection Insights

With a historic number of projects seeking to connect to the high voltage electric system, we knew it was important to advance enhancement and improvements to the interconnection process. Our Interconnection Issues Task Force (IITF) and Transmission Planning Advisory Subcommittee (TPAS) held meetings with stakeholders and developers throughout 2023 to examine ideas and proposals for improvement. Early in the year, Zach Smith, Vice President of System & Resource Planning touched on many of these details in a Power Trends podcast episode. We followed that up with blog posts and an op-ed from President and CEO Rich Dewey – all of which can be viewed on our Interconnection page. 2023 also saw our planning team complete System Reliability Impact Studies for 60 projects with an average completion time of 132 days – a 200% improvement over historical performance. Our work in this area is far from over and we’re excited about additional improvements and efficiencies in 2024.

Identifying and Solving New York City’s Reliability Need

On July 14, our second-quarter assessment of reliability (Q2 STAR) found a deficit in reliability margins for the New York City area beginning in summer 2025. Per reliability rules detailed in our tariffs, we solicited and evaluated solutions to solve that deficit. After that 5-month period, it was determined that proposed solutions were insufficient to solve the need. Under the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Peaker Rule, select peaker plants were temporarily retained to maintain reliability in New York City in times of peak demand.

Looking to the Future with the 2023-2032 CRP

On November 29, we published the 2023-2032 Comprehensive Reliability Plan (CRP), which analyzed growing risks to the grid over a 10-year period. The CRP found that if demand grows at a rate greater than the buildout of new generation and transmission, reliability deficiencies could arise within the CRP’s ten-year planning period. However, those deficiencies may be resolved by new capacity resources coming into service, construction of additional transmission facilities, increased energy efficiency, integration of distributed energy resources and/or growth in demand response participation. Given the rapid pace of change in the coming years, our dedicated team will continue to monitor those developments and the impacts on the bulk electric system.

Offshore Wind Transmission Project Announcement

The NYISO’s Board of Directors announced the selection of Propel NY – a transmission project that will deliver at least 3,000 megawatts of offshore wind generation.  The selection of Propel NY was in response to a public policy need declared by the New York State Public Service Commission to support the CLCPA.

EAC Welcomes New Members

The Environmental Advisory Council (EAC) was formed in 2005 to provide information, analysis, and perspectives on the dynamics between evolving state and federal environmental policies and the NYISO’s mission of maintaining reliability of the bulk electric system and administering competitive wholesale electricity markets. In June, we announced the addition of three new members to the EAC: Julie Tighe, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters (NYLCV) and the NYLCV Education Fund; Dr. Burçin Ünel, PhD, Executive Director of the Institute for Policy Integrity at New York University School of Law; and Daniel Zarrilli, P.E., Special Advisor for Climate and Sustainability at Columbia University. In November, the EAC and stakeholders convened in Albany for an annual conference which generated important discussions about the grid in transition. Listen to our Power Trends podcast with Julie Tighe to learn more.

Renewables Set New Records

As more renewable resources came online in 2023, new generation records for both wind and solar were set. On Thursday, May 18, behind-the-meter and front-of-the-meter solar resources generated 3,330 megawatts during the noon hour. The wind power generation record was initially broken on October 8 during the 3 p.m. hour – generating 1,939 megawatts. Less than a month later, wind resources generated 2,115 megawatts in the 11 p.m. hour on November 6.

Key Promotions

Managing the bulk electric system and wholesale markets requires a talented and dedicated workforce. We’re fortunate to have an incredible team of professionals who are laser-focused on reliability and cost efficiencies. In 2023, we were proud to announce the promotions of several senior leaders:

  • Emilie Nelson, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
  • Dr. Nicole Bouchez, Senior Principal Economist – Consumer Interest Liaison, Market Structures
  • Shaun Johnson, Director of Market Design
  • Joshua Boles, Director of Market Mitigation and Analysis