New York State to Explore Green Hydrogen
New York State to Explore Green Hydrogen, Advanced Nuclear, Long Duration Energy Storage to Ensure Grid Reliability by 2040
Officials Commence Process to Identify Reliable Zero Emission Technologies to Meet Climate Act Goals
On Thursday, May 18, the New York State Public Service Commission (NYS PSC) unanimously voted to initiate a process to examine how to ensure grid reliability with zero-emission power sources by 2040. The move acknowledges that more types of renewable resources are needed to achieve a zero-emissions electric grid mandated by the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, or Climate Act.
The PSC’s measure (15-E-0302) advanced after the New York Independent System Operator (“NYISO”), New York’s non-profit grid operator, issued a series of reports identifying reliability concerns worsening as planned power generation shutdowns outpace the build out of replacement power from 100% reliable renewable energy. Specifically, during a Clean Energy Jobs Coalition webinar held in March, the grid operator concluded that between 111-124 gigawatts (GW) of new or modified generation must be in service by 2040, triple the amount from today’s existing thermal generating capacity of 37.4 GW.
NYS PSC Commissioner Burman discussed the reality of NYISO's studies detailing reliability issues with New York's ambitious climate goals on the hearing’s record. She encouraged everyone to read the grid operators' upcoming “Power Trends” report.
Currently rooftop solar and wind power comprised 7% and 8% of New York’s carbon-free electricity generation in 2022 NYISO reported.
The PSC order initiates a process—kickstarting a 60-day comment period—to identify technologies that can close the anticipated gap between the capabilities of existing renewable energy technologies and future system reliability needs.
In an April webinar, energy panelists discussed how New York State will need at least“45 gigawatts of reliable carbon neutral power” to achieve the 2040 climate goal of dispatchable emission free resources (DFER’s).
The PSC’s exploration of DFER’s follows The Climate Action Scoping Plan’s call for the “evaluation of new energy resources on an ongoing basis to monitor trends in cost, availability technology maturity, and other factors.” The Scoping Plan notes that “community thermal energy networks, green hydrogen, enhanced geothermal, and advanced nuclear” along with “biofuels such as renewable natural gas (RNG) have potential to serve as flexible and dispatchable resources.”
Accordingly, within the PSC order, the Commission asks stakeholders a series of important questions, including:
· How to define ‘zero-emissions’ for purposes of the zero emissions by 2040 target?
· Should ‘zero-emissions’ include cutting edge technologies such as advanced nuclear, long duration energy storage, green hydrogen, and demand response?
· How to best design a zero-emissions program by 2040, that is equitable to disadvantaged communities as well as robust enough to meet state and federal electric grid reliability rules?
Commissioner John Howard said, “What we've learned about these energy projects is that they take a lot longer than expected... a lot longer... even for traditional technologies.” He added that, "we have to deal with technology ready today" to achieve climate goals and recommended that something be done within 12 to 18 months.
After a 60-day public comment period, Commission staff will convene at least one technical conference to examine issues and questions raised by participants. The Commission noted that it may take additional actions on zero-emission resources based on the information obtained through those processes.