New NYISO Report Identifies Paths to Achieve a Greener & Reliable Future Grid
A new report by the NYISO, the 2021-2040 System & Resource Outlook (The Outlook) highlights the need for careful coordination of resource additions, transmission investment, and existing emitting generation retirements to achieve an orderly transition of the electric grid to 100% carbon-free.
The Outlook evaluates how state climate mandates are driving the need for unprecedented investments in New York’s electric grid to achieve decarbonization while maintaining system reliability, and cautions that without such a balance, reliability of the system could be adversely impacted.
Specifically, the report highlights how electrification of transportation and buildings sectors required by state policies will drive rapid increases in consumer demand, creating the need for significant amounts of new generation resources to meet renewable energy and reliability needs. The state’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) of 2019 requires a decarbonized electric grid by 2040.
The first-ever Outlook study includes a 20 year projection of the New York system examining multiple scenarios that identify transmission investment needs and resource requirements for achieving policy targets while maintaining reliability.
The Outlook finds that to achieve state policy mandates by 2040, up to 124 GW of installed generation capacity will be necessary, tripling the amount of generation capacity available today. At least 95 GW will need to be new generation projects and/or modifications to existing plants.
New York currently has a total of 37.4 GW of generating capacity. Over the past five years, 2.6 GW of renewable and fossil-fueled generators came on-line while 4.8 GW of generation deactivated.
Extensive transmission capability will need to be added to deliver new renewable energy resources and address new constraints that appear across the system through the grid in transition. The Outlook will be updated every two years and continuously monitor the evolving grid.
- State climate mandates are driving the need for unprecedented levels of new generation capacity to achieve decarbonization and maintain system reliability.
- Electrification of buildings and transportation driven by state policies is one of the largest factors driving rapid increases in peak and annual energy demand.
- Significant increases in new resource and transmission development will be required to achieve CLCPA targets.
- Dispatchable Emission-Free Resources (DEFRs) must be developed and deployed at scale well before 2040 to achieve an emission-free grid.
- As the energy policies in neighboring regions evolve, New York’s imports and exports of electricity could vary significantly due to the resulting changes in neighboring grids.
Resource and Transmission Needs
The NYISO’s Outlook provides a comprehensive overview of system resources and transmission needs throughout New York, highlighting opportunities for investment driven by potential economic benefits and public policies. Through multiple planning study cases and scenarios, the report:
- Projected possible resource mixes that achieve New York’s public policy goals while maintaining grid reliability;
- Identified regions of New York where renewable or other resources may be unable to generate at their full capability due to transmission constraints;
- Quantified the extent to which these transmission constraints limit delivery of renewable energy to consumers, and;
- Identified potential opportunities for transmission investment that may provide economic, policy, and/or operational benefits.
The NYISO considered and discussed multiple scenarios for the study with its stakeholders, including state entities, in the development of these final three reference cases for the report:
- Baseline Case – The Baseline is a “business-as-usual” type scenario that aligns with the Reliability Planning Process to define the demand, generation, and transmission assumptions.
- Contract Case – This case builds upon the Baseline Case by adding incremental renewable generation projects that have been the announced recipients of project awards and financial contracts with the state.
- Policy Case – Assumptions in this case reflect the federal, state, and local policies that impact the New York power system. Examples of policies modeled in this case include the CLCPA mandates of 70% renewable electricity by 2030 and zero emissions by 2040.
Achieving a reliable and economic transition of the electric system will require collaboration among policymakers, generator owners, transmission owners, and consumers. Challenges identified in the Outlook cannot be solved by any single entity. The Outlook identifies potential paths and combinations of resource and transmission upgrades to achieving New York’s climate change requirements.