New York greenlights Con Edison’s $11.8bn clean energy investment plan

New York greenlights Con Edison’s $11.8bn clean energy investment plan
Brooklyn bridge and manhattan view from hudson. Image courtesy 123rf

Investor-owned utility Consolidated Edison (Con Edison) has received state approval for critical clean energy investments totalling $11.8 billion that will help New York transition away from fossil fuels.

The New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) ruling sets electric and gas rates through 2025 and advances an investment plan that will help reach the state and city’s clean energy goals.

Tim Cawley, chairman & CEO of Con Edison, commented on the approval and how it will enable the utility to invest in the power grid to “accommodate increased demand as New Yorkers electrify their vehicles and the heating in their homes and businesses.”

The approved investments include projects under three brackets:

1. Investing in the community

Investment will spur infrastructure development across New York City and Westchester, with projects that include:

  • The Crown Heights Network Split, which will ensure reliable service and promote electrification in the Crown Heights neighbourhood of Brooklyn.
  • The Williamsburg Network Improvement project, which will enable the electrification of transportation and heating in the Williamsburg neighbourhood of Brooklyn.
  • An expansion of capacity of the Parkview Substation in Manhattan, which will facilitate the MTA’s 2nd Avenue subway expansion and promote electrification in Mott Haven.
  • The new Gateway Park Area Substation in East New York, which will support electrification and the delivery of offshore wind energy to local disadvantaged communities.
  • A new energy storage system in the Glendale area of Queens and one in the Travis area of Staten Island.
  • Continuation of Con Edison’s its storm hardening programme in Westchester County, adding smart switches to overhead power lines, stronger wiring and poles.
  • Installation of elevated equipment at substations in Westchester to protect from severe flooding.

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2. Investing in a clean and reliable future

The investment plan includes funding for a range of infrastructure projects across New York City and Westchester that will enable homes and businesses to switch to clean energy alternatives, including:

  • $800 million for Reliable Clean City Projects that will help build new electrical transmission lines, deliver substantial renewable energy and facilitate the retirement of fossil-fuel-powered plants.
  • Over $800 million in storm hardening and resiliency projects.
  • $900 million in energy efficiency and clean heat funding.
  • More than $20 million in energy storage projects.

3. Investing to protect vulnerable New Yorkers

The investment package also extends to efforts to address disadvantaged communities and supports our most vulnerable customers through programmes focused on bill affordability including:

  • Rate relief to low-income customers enrolled in the Energy Assistance Programme by targeting an electric discount program cost of $166.3 million per year and $35.8 million per year for the gas programme.
  • Primary Feeder Reliability Programme, which will enhance electric reliability and resilience in disadvantaged communities.
  • Selective Undergrounding Pilot, which will enhance electric resilience, including in disadvantaged communities.
  • Glendale Substation Storage Project, which will support the distribution system serving a disadvantaged community.
  • Programmes that will help the company provide more information quicker to customers via the company website, phone and texts.

“Our customers demand safe, reliable and increasingly renewable energy,” said Matt Ketschke, president of Con Edison of New York. “This rate plan allows us to continue delivering the world-class service New Yorkers deserve with programmes including undergrounding overhead lines to make them more resilient.

“On our gas system, we’ll maintain safety and reliability through targeted gas main replacement and advanced leak detection while supporting customers’ transitions from fossil fuels. We continue to support and invest in programmes and technology that improve efficiencies to keep costs affordable and support our most vulnerable customers.”

The funding approval comes after extensive engagement and negotiation with the New York State Department of Public Service (NYSDPS) and stakeholders.

It was supported fully or in part by New York City and several other parties including the MTA, New York Power Authority, Natural Resources Defense Council, and New York Energy Consumers Council, among others.