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Con Edison seeks 300MW of storage of ‘at least four hours’ duration to meet New York goals

Marcus Garvey Apartments in Brooklyn, host to the first NYC lithium-ion system, installed by Demand Energy for a Con Edison local energy network management programme. Image: wikimedia user: Jim Henderson.

US utility Con Edison New York (CECONY) is seeking 'at least' 300MW / 1,200MWh of energy storage as its contribution to the state’s 3GW target by 2025.

Widely reported economic and environmental sustainability plans rolled out by Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration include the above target, in a regional market thought to hold a great deal of potential but as yet held back by factors including stringent permitting and planning processes.

Each of New York’s utilities has been instructed to procure 10MW of ESS capacity for its networks, excepting CECONY, which was set the target of “at least 300MW”. In a Request for Proposals document published 15 July, CECONY and Orange and Rockland Utilities set out their ‘Bulk energy storage scheduling and dispatch rights’, with Orange and Rockland seeking its own 10MW of projects through the undertaking.

According to the document, which can be publicly accessed here, to comply with the terms set by the New York Public Service Commission (NYPSC) in that state Storage Order, projects need to be operational by the end of 2022. Bidders must now submit a questionnaire for pre-qualification by the end of this month.

In notes taken for a recent, unrelated interview, Johannes Ritterhausen of developer Convergent Energy + Power described New York State as being “very promising for storage”.

“They have adopted now a more aggressive target than California in terms of developing storage in the state. They have a state procurement agency, NYSERDA that’s running a lot of the incentives to purchase storage, so it’s a direct procurement, incentive process,” Ritterhausen, Convergent’s CEO said, adding that authorities in New York are also currently talking about “retiring a great majority” of gas peaker plants in the state, which could provide another strong market opportunity for energy storage and related technologies.

As mentioned, strict planning and permitting processes have been considered one significant barrier to deployment thus far in the state, particularly in the densely packed urban environment of New York City itself. Roger Lin of NEC’s Energy Solutions business said that “rightly so, it is one of the toughest places to install anything new”.

“The permitting and the standards that you have to go through with both FDNY (fire department) and the Dept of Buildings are the toughest that we’ve seen in the world,” Lin, the company’s VP for marketing, told Energy-Storage.news.

“We’ve recently started installing stuff in the city and have been working very closely with FDNY and the Department of Buildings to ensure that our systems around lithium-ion are installed in the safest manner possible.”

Four initial projects installed by NEC are being watched closely, being among the first lithium-ion systems to be installed within NYC, after a project by Demand Energy for Con Edison at a housing complex some time before that. After that, the gauntlet will have been run, and as an old cliche goes, if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere. For now, the industry will settle for making it in New York.

“On the permitting side, if you’re doing something within NYC it’s still going to be case-by-case, but once you get outside of NYC [into the wider state], development is easier for sure,” Convergent Energy + Power’s Johannes Ritterhausen said.

“There are now precedents for doing this in NYC. Every project is still a unique piece in terms of permitting, based on what local agencies have in different jurisdictions, and you have to work with them collaboratively obviously, but NY state broadly is a huge focus for us and an enormous growth market over the next five years.”

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