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A New Blog Series Detailing the Path to a Cleaner Grid

January 26, 2021

The New York energy grid is on a journey. We know the destination (an emission-free grid) and we know when we’re supposed to get there (2040). But the road map is yet to be entirely written.

The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), enacted by the state in 2019, mandates these changes in the next 20 years. As the manager of the energy grid and the wholesale electric markets, part of our job is to help achieve this goal.

How will we do that? Through such techniques as:

  • Implementing new market mechanisms that encourage investment in renewables and other technologies that support an emission-free grid while maintaining grid reliability
  • Producing system planning studies that model the grid of the future and the changes needed to maintain reliability and support grid efficiency
  • Preparing for the impacts of a changing climate on the energy grid

This blog series will examine in detail the many facets of the Road to 2040, and answer some of the questions raised by the changing grid. For example:

  • How will the challenge of maintaining reliability on the grid change over time as more intermittent resources are deployed?
  • What emerging technologies could replace fossil fuels to serve load and support reliability?
  • What is the role of energy storage, and how can that be combined with renewable resources to make wind and solar power more valuable?
  • How can consumers play a bigger role in New York’s energy grid by not only purchasing energy, but supplying electricity to other consumers?

Other concepts raised by the CLCPA that are being discussed by policymakers in New York and beyond include:

  • Dispatchable, Emission-Free Resources (DEFRs). NYISO planning studies recognize the need for resources that can be dispatched on demand to maintain grid reliability. Understanding what emerging clean energy technologies can deliver these flexible services, while complying with the CLCPA, is critical to planning for the transition to clean energy. Technologies being discussed include green hydrogen and renewable natural gas.
  • Hybrid storage consists of energy storage technology installed with renewable resources. Battery storage located next to solar or wind can improve the efficiency and intermittency of those resources while decreasing construction and interconnection costs, making it more appealing to developers.
  • Upgrades to the energy transmission network around New York State, which would make more efficient use of renewable resources while reducing the need for fossil-fuel technology.
  • Price-Responsive Demand (PRD), an emerging market tool that gives consumers a greater role in how they use energy. Under PRD, consumers adjust their energy use in response to power prices. For instance, electric car owners could charge their cars in the middle of the night instead of right after they come home from work, reducing load at a time when energy demand is at its highest, while air conditioning or hot-water systems could be managed differently to store thermal energy and minimize energy consumption during peak periods.
  • Green hydrogen, renewable natural gas, or other “seasonal storage.” This uses excess renewable energy production to produce renewable fuels, which in turn can be stored and used to generate power during higher demand periods.
  • Carbon capture. This technique calls for capturing and sequestering carbon dioxide produced during the burning of fossil fuels (along with other industrial applications). Carbon capture could be used to allow some fossil fuel generators to continue to operate with few emissions. Today, the fast-ramping nature of fossil fuels generators offer a vital service to help balance fluctuations in the grid.
  • Innovative storage ideas. It’s not just batteries. Energy can be stored with everything from heavy weights to compressed air held underground. We’ll discuss some of the ideas being considered, and its viability.

You’ll find these and other stories about the vital work taking place at the New York ISO on our blog.

For more about how we are addressing a zero-emissions grid with market-based solutions, visit the 2040 Power Grid 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.