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Fuel for the Wire: Power Trends 2020

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Fuel for the Wire: Power Trends 2020

September 2, 2020

What's the source of power flowing out of your electrical outlets? In New York, that largely depends on whether you are upstate or downstate.

The electricity coming out of your wall can originate from sources as varied in geography as they are in types of resources. As discussed in Power Trends 2020, The Vision for a Greener Grid, it takes a diverse mix of generation technology to produce enough energy to run the New York grid.​​​​​​​

​​​​​​​SOURCE: Power Trends 2020 - Figure 14: NYCA Energy Production: Energy Production by Fuel Source - Statewide 2019

In 2019, a third of New York’s energy production was from dual-fuel generators that run primarily on natural gas, but have the ability to use fuel oil or other fuels as well. Another third came from nuclear energy, and nearly a fourth came from hydropower. Energy production from wind power made up 3% of energy production from suppliers in New York last year.​​​​​​​

With the approval of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) last year, the state has mandated that the grid be zero-emission by 2040.

New York's Diverse Fuel Mix and The Tale of Two Grids

A diverse fuel mix is important, because fuel mix affects both the reliability of the electric system and the price of power. A balanced array of resources enables the electric system to better address issues such as price volatility and fuel availability, providing both reliability and economic benefits for consumers.

The mix of energy resources in upstate New York is very different than the mix of supply resources downstate. Upstate New York is home to most of the hydropower generation in the state, and attracts investment in large wind generation sites. New York City, Long Island and Westchester make up the largest population base in New York, and the biggest load center for power consumption. It also hosts the majority of fossil fuel burning generation in the state.

​​​​​​​New York’s transmission system can become constrained in its ability to deliver energy from clean energy resources in upstate New York to the large consumer demand areas downstate.

Thus, we have what we call the “tale of two grids.” To meet the mandates of the CLCPA, the transmission system will need to be expanded to facilitate greater flows of electricity from clean energy resources upstate to downstate consumers. While the tale of two grids is a long-standing challenge for New York, a new chapter is being written.

We are in the midst of the largest improvements to transmission in a generation. Two pending projects, one in Western New York and one stretching from Central New York to the Hudson Valley, will significantly increase our ability to deliver clean energy from where it’s produced to where it is needed most. These projects are expected to be in service by 2022 and 2023 respectively, increasing power flows from upstate to downstate by roughly 1,000 MW.

To learn more about this and other topics, visit Power Trends 2020.

We are an independent, not-for-profit corporation responsible for operating the state’s bulk electricity grid, administering New York’s competitive wholesale electricity markets, conducting comprehensive long-term planning for the state’s electric power system, and advancing the technological infrastructure of the electric system serving the Empire State.

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