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Quarterly Grid Reliability Reports Address Rapid Rate of Change

May 25, 2022

The New York energy grid is transforming almost before our eyes. 

New generating technologies, transmission investments, and public policies are advancing toward the grid of the future, where we will rely more heavily on renewable energy. To support electric system reliability throughout this transition, the NYISO conducts frequent and in-depth planning studies to prepare for changes on the grid before they arrive.

Because the electric system is changing so rapidly, our quarterly reliability report, the Short-Term Assessment of Reliability (STAR), has become increasingly important. STAR Q1 was recently released and focuses on identifying Reliability Needs up to five years in the future.

These reports reflect our proactive approach to staying ahead of the myriad of changes coming to the grid because system reliability is at stake; supporting the health, safety and welfare of all New Yorkers. As we examine how we generate and transmit our electricity in the move to a future zero-emissions grid, it is vital that we understand how these changes can impact reliability, and how to reduce risks to meeting demand.

This STAR process helps to quickly evaluate changes to the system, such as:

  • Generator deactivations
  • Changes to the transmission system
  • Changes in demand that could affect reliability

We also continue to do 10-year assessments of grid changes every other year. For more on our longer-term reports, see this blog on grid Reliability Needs and how to resolve them.

STAR reports look at both the adequacy of the energy resources and limitations of the transmission grid to determine whether the grid will be able to supply enough power to meet demand. During the process, if a "Short-Term Reliability Process Need" is identified, we have the responsibility to seek solutions to address that need.

While the identification of Reliability Needs is relatively rare, it may become more common due to the tightening of the reliability margins with the deactivation of fossil fuel-fired generators. The 2019 Peaker Rule adopted by New York State, which limits nitrogen oxide emissions from “peaker” plants, could result in the retiring of up to two dozen fossil fuel generators from 2023 to 2025. These facilities had the ability to provide up to 3,300 megawatts of power.

Peaker plants generally operate during periods of high demand on the bulk power system, such as during a heat wave. Most are located in New York City, on Long Island, or in the lower Hudson Valley. The plants also help maintain transmission security and resource adequacy by supplying energy within certain “load pockets.” Load pockets are areas where transmission is limited. At times of high demand, not enough power can be transmitted into these areas to meet need, so peakers must be turned on to fill that gap. Future STAR reports will determine the impact of these plant closures. While the grid is dynamic and ever evolving, our short-term planning process allows us to be nimble to discover and seek solutions to changes that are facing the grid.

Learn more about Reliability Needs in this blog.

To learn more about ensuring power system reliability and a clean energy future, visit our #GridoftheFuture webpage.

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.