Report Shows Issues For NYC Power Grid
By this time in 2025, New York City’s electric grid is unlikely to be able to handle peak electric loads.
The New York Independent System Operator’s Short-Term Assessment of Reliability report studied the period of January 15, 2023, through January 15, 2028, and found that reliability margins in New York City could become deficient in 2025 due to several factor because generation and transmission aren’t expected to keep up with projected demand. Part of the issue, according to the report, is simple-cycle gas turbines are being taken offline to meet the state Department of Conservation’s Peaker Rule, a measure that aims to take older, dirtier plants offline. Things get better in 2026 when the Champlain Hudson Power Express connection from Hydro Quebec to New York City is completed, but increasing demand is expected to erode reliability over time. And, while the CHPE addition helps during the summer, it isn’t expected to provide any capacity in the winter months.
“The reliability margins within New York City may not be sufficient even for expected weather if the CHPE project experiences a significant delay, forecasted demand in New York City increases by as little as 60 MW in 2025, or there are additional generator deactivations beyond what is already planned,” the report states. “Some generation affected by the DEC’s Peaker Rule may need to remain in service until CHPE or other permanent solutions are completed to maintain a reliable grid. Without the CHPE project in service by 2026 and other offsetting changes or solutions, the reliability margins continue to be less than 100 MW until 2028, at which time the New York City grid as otherwise planned could not provide reliable service for the forecasted system conditions. This deficiency would grow to approximately 600 MW by 2032.”
Post-pandemic growth in demand for electricity, including some driven by electrification of buildings and transportation, is also a driver of the shortfall. The assessment says the deficiency in the city will range between 120 and 350 MW in 2025. Once a reliability need is identified, the NYISO will solicit market solutions, which could include transmission projects — or keeping some of the fossil fuel peaker plants set to retire online so they’re available to meet demand.
The Quarter 1 STAR found that planned retirements of generators due to public policy requirements, electrification adoption, and extreme weather risks are having profound impacts on the electric system. As such, the new report also stated that it is anticipated the next quarterly STAR report, to be issued in July, will identify reliability needs.
“This new STAR report reflects the extraordinary challenges of the grid in transition,” said Zach Smith, NYISO Vice President of System & Resource Planning. “As the stewards of the grid, we will continue to prioritize reliability as we work to the meet the state’s clean energy goals.”
There are no reliability issues for Western New York, though the report does mention of a pair of projects in the north county that will improve reliability of the electric grid in Western New York.
National Grid’s Gardenville to Dunkirk Transmission Rebuild Project is rebuilding aging electric transmission lines in Erie County’s Southtowns region down to the Dunkirk area. The rebuild focuses on the northern 20 miles of existing 115,000 volt electric transmission lines, traversing the communities of Angola, Evans, Hamburg, Blasdell, Lackawanna, and West Seneca, in Erie County. As was reported last year by the Dunkirk OBSERVER, National Grid spent $46.5 million separation project to disconnect its operations from the former NRG power plant in Dunkirk. The location helps deliver electricity to 500,000 New York customers, including those in the southwestern portion of New York and portions of Pennsylvania.