NYSEG and RG&E Helped Bring 2,796 Customer-Owned Generating Facilities Online in the Last Five Years
Rochester, NY – NYSEG and RG&E, subsidiaries of Iberdrola USA, continue to support new power generation in New York by providing safe, reliable interconnections between customer-owned power generating facilities and the NYSEG and RG&E power lines that move electricity to customers.
From 2009 through 2014, the companies connected 2,796 projects to the power grid with a total generating capacity of more than 378 megawatts – enough generating capacity to power more than 209,000 homes.
“In alignment with the state’s Reforming the Energy Vision initiative, we strongly support the development of new generation sources, including renewable generation, to help ensure New York has an adequate supply of power and to help further diversify the state’s generation mix,” said Mark S. Lynch, president and CEO of NYSEG and RG&E. “That support is evident in the volume of interconnections we are executing, working in partnership with everyone from residential customers to large commercial developers.”
The state’s Reforming the Energy Vision initiative aims to spur clean energy innovation, bring in new investments and improve consumer choice while protecting the environment and energizing New York’s economy. This will provide opportunities for energy savings, local power generation and enhanced reliability.
The generation projects NYSEG and RG&E connect to the grid fall into two categories:
- Net-metered interconnection projects: These residential and small-scale commercial projects use special meters that measure electricity use when the customer is taking power from their utility and also measure electricity that flows back to the grid when the customer generates excess electricity. The projects include wind, solar, hybrid (wind/solar), micro hydro, farm waste digesters, and micro combined heat and power/fuel cells.
- Commercial interconnection projects: These projects are designed and developed solely to provide power directly to the grid.
Net-metered Interconnection Projects
- Applications to NYSEG and RG&E for connection of net-metered projects jumped from 273 in 2009 to 1,404 in 2014, a 414% increase. Over the five years, a total of 3,612 applications were received and 2,768 projects have been interconnected.
- The applications for the five years included 3,504 solar, 87 wind and 21 hybrid (wind-solar) projects.
- From 2009 through 2014, NYSEG or RG&E also interconnected 10 net-metered waste digesters with a total generating capacity of 6.9 megawatts in Cayuga and Wyoming counties. (Waste digesters use bacteria to break down manure or other biodegradable material to produce flammable gas that is then used in a combustion-based turbine or engine-driven generator to generate power.)
Large-Scale Commercial Interconnection Projects (2009 through 2014)
- Five wind farms with 155 wind turbines and a total generating capacity of 293 megawatts in Wyoming and Steuben counties.
Smaller-Scale Commercial Interconnection Projects (2009 through 2014)
- Six landfill gas plants totaling 36.3 megawatts of generating capacity in Allegany, Broome, Cayuga, Clinton, Ontario and Steuben counties. (Landfill gas plants capture methane-rich biogas produced by decomposing organic matter in a landfill and burn it to generate power.)
- Cornell University’s 30-megawatt combined heat and power facility in Tompkins County.
- Zotos International’s wind facility in the City of Geneva (3.3 megawatts).
- Beacon Power Corporation’s flywheel energy storage facility in Rensselaer County (20 megawatts). (A flywheel energy system uses electricity to charge flywheels during low-demand periods and then uses that kinetic motion to generate electricity during times of high demand.)
- Harbec Plastics’ 850-kilowatt wind facility in Ontario.
- Morrisville State College’s 180-kilowatt BioMax cogeneration system in Morrisville.
- Auburn Sewage Treatment’s 3.2-megawatt cogenerating facility.
- Cayuga County’s 630-kilowatt biogas generating facility.
There are currently 705 megawatts of wind projects in the New York Independent System Operator’s queue for interconnection to the NYSEG or RG&E system. NYSEG and RG&E are currently processing interconnections for 32 megawatts of wind, and 680 kilowatts of waste digester generation.
Looking to the Future: Testing New Interconnection Approaches
NYSEG and RG&E recently proposed to the New York State Public Service Commission that the companies test a new interconnection approach for larger-scale solar generation (up to 2 megawatts) as a Reforming the Energy Vision demonstration project.
NYSEG and RG&E’s Flexible Interconnect Capacity Solution (FICS) demonstration project aims to help the companies effectively and efficiently connect solar generation to the distribution grid while maintaining safe, reliable service for all customers. In the traditional interconnection process for larger-scale solar power, a utility typically has to upgrade substations and power lines to accommodate the maximum potential new generation capacity. The costs of these upgrades can make projects uneconomical and stall implementation.
The FICS technology aims to minimize the cost of traditional network upgrades by using improved data collection and control to manage solar generation’s impact on the distribution grid. NYSEG and RG&E’s project partner, Smarter Grid Solutions, has helped utilities in the United Kingdom effectively implement FICS. Working with Iberdrola S.A. affiliate ScottishPower, Smarter Grid Solutions has seen strong results from FICS supporting renewable energy development in Scotland.