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New York at risk of missing 6GW by 2030 target

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New York’s energy storage market is set for take-off, driven by strong policy goals, but it could come too late for the US state to meet a targeted 6GW of deployments by its 2030 deadline.  

Governor Kathy Hochul doubled New York’s 3GW target in early 2021, with the majority of the targeted amount expected to come from large-scale energy storage facilities, defined in state regulatory frameworks as ‘bulk’ storage of over 5MW. The 6GW figure corresponds to a forecasted 20% of New York’s peak load at the end of this decade.

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Industry sources interviewed for a feature article in our quarterly journal PV Tech Power (vol.34) said that the state’s proactive and supportive approach to fostering an energy storage market will most likely succeed in driving New York to become a leading US state for storage deployments.

However, some expressed concern that it might come too late to meet that target in time. The target is meant to set New York on the right trajectory to attain its bigger goals of 100% emissions-free retail electricity by 2040 and carbon neutrality by 2050.

To that end, the state convened the New York Climate Action Council to oversee implementation of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) legislation that set those goals. At the beginning of this year, the council’s Scoping Plan for implementation was complemented by the publication of Energy Storage Roadmap 2.0, itself a follow-up to a 2018 roadmap.

Put together by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the state’s Department of Public Service, Roadmap 2.0 was warmly welcomed by industry, particularly the inclusion of proposals for state-contracted solicitations for bulk energy storage.

Vanessa Witte, energy storage analyst at Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables, pointed out that the Roadmap’s proposed Index Storage Credit solicitations for bulk storage are unlikely to begin until 2024 at the earliest.

Even taking into account that roughly 1,500MW of that total target will be distributed energy storage – commercial and industrial (C&I), community-scale and residential – New York will be “cutting it fine” when it comes to getting the remaining amount of the 6GW total online by 2030, the analyst said.

Projects in New York tend to have long lead times, and New York ISO is not an easy service area to work in. At the same time, the Index Storage Credit, designed as a sort of top-up payment from the state to make up the revenues developers need versus what they can earn in the ISO wholesale market, may or may not provide the necessary financial incentive to drive the market forward.

Perhaps illustrative of these points is that regulators at the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) recently handed the state’s major utilities a three-year extension to an already-extended deadline for energy storage procurements handed down in the first 2018 Roadmap.

Developers bullish on long-term prospects in New York

Key Capture Energy CEO Jeff Bishop was bullish on New York’s prospects. The developer built the state’s first large-scale battery energy storage system (BESS) project in 2019, and Bishop said he is confident that New York will have a booming market by 2025.

Bishop conceded that this does throw some shade on the likelihood of achieving the full deployment target by the deadline, but said that ultimately, he is confident New York will achieve its climate goals.

Another developer spoken to for the PV Tech Power interview, Kelly Sarber of Strategic Management Group, was similarly bullish over the long-term outlook. New York’s overwhelming need for energy storage, coupled with its strong policy direction would dictate its success, but Sarber said she was “nervous” over whether the 6GW target could be reached on time, “based on where we’re at today”.

Read an extract of the feature article ‘Hunting the ‘missing money’ in New York’s energy storage market’, here on Energy-Storage.news, or subscribe to the PV Tech Power journal to read the full article, in Volume 34, published in February, here.  

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