Unlocking the Potential of Renewable Energy

Earlier this month, the Smart Distributed Generation (DG) Hub released its much-anticipated guide on energy storage systems (ESS) in New York City. Smart DG Hub was established by the City University of New York’s Sustainable CUNY program in 2013 in an effort to “develop a strategic pathway to a more resilient distributed energy system in New York State.”

Energy storage systems, such as lithium-ion based battery storage, are essential to supporting microgrids, renewable energy integration, reducing peak demand on the grid, and provide for a more resilient energy system. NYLCV has long supported technology that encourages cleaner energy generation and consumption. We believe ESS is a key component to New York’s clean energy toolkit.

Perhaps the most beneficial piece of ESS is the ability to store renewable power in a way that mitigates the unavoidable ebbs and flows of wind and solar generation (i.e., when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shining). Having access to backup power can also be a critical lifeline during severe weather or blackouts in the City.

So far, proliferation battery storage systems in the City has been slow. The web of approvals and inspections required from city agencies and the local utility can make the process expensive and complex. Questions have also been raised about how to ensure a lithium-ion system can be installed and managed safely in NYC’s unique built environment.

In order to help encourage adoption of these systems, Sustainable CUNY and the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA) worked together to produce the ESS process guide. In part, the guide is meant to support NYSERDA’s goal of reducing soft costs associated with energy storage 25% by the end of 2019. The report provides an overview of permitting, interconnection requirements, and approval processes for outdoor lithium-ion based ESS in NYC.

Included in the guide are flowcharts that outline the application, inspections, and approvals required by NYC’s Department of Buildings, the Fire Department, and Con Edison broken down based on the size of the proposed system.

There is also an easy-to-use applicant checklist building owners or project developers can reference when preparing the application as well as information about timelines and fees.

It is our hope that streamlining the permitting requirements, or even just combining them into one place, can lower costs and expedite the installation of ESS in New York City. You can view the ESS process guide here.