NY Building Congress Issues Report on Transmission Needs

A report released this morning by the New York Building Congress provides analysis for the future of electricity in New York City and offers a variety of recommendations to address potential risks.

The current outlook for the next decade anticipates a subtle decline in total energy demand from 52.5-Terrawatt-hours in 2016 to 50.6-Terrawatt-hours in 2027. However, the summer peak demand, is expected to drastically increase by more than 1,700 MW over the coming 10-year-span. This increase in peak demand coupled with the closure of Indian Point nuclear plants in 2021 presents a few major challenges for supplying adequate energy to the city.

Two proposed projects that are only in the initial stages could address the needs of New York City by connecting it to clean energy upstate and elsewhere. These projects include a 330-mile submerged cable project to source hydropower generated in Québec and another 260-mile cable project to connect the city to the Erie Canal and the Hudson River. Ultimately these projects could supply 2,000 MW of electricity directly to New York City, replacing the energy generated at Indian Point with clean hydro power.

The report recommends that the state invest in transmission capacity projects, like the ones described above, in order to meet the demand in New York City while decreasing dependence on dirty fuels. In addition to hydropower, other renewables like wind and solar are also growing in upstate and could be tapped into to supply energy to the city. Increased transmission capacity would make it possible for renewable energy to be shifted to places with the highest demand and also help New York City reach its aggressive clean energy goals.

The report also added that storage is a major component for the viability of renewable energy and making it accessible across New York, particularly during peak demand, and called for the state to investigate technologies for large scale wind and solar storage. Energy efficiency can also play a role in reducing the demand of the city in the first place, and smart-metering and incentives for large buildings may help reduce energy demand in city buildings.

The issue of transmission to bridge the gap between clean energy generation upstate and high energy demand downstate, is key to achieving the city’s 80×50 goals. Check out NYLCVEF’s Energy forum on Thursday July 27th for more discussion on transmission and insight from experts and stakeholders on the path forward.