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New York seeks to improve transmission headroom assessments [free access]

May 21, 2021

The investor-owned utility (IoU) representatives have conveyed to the New York state officials that they largely agree with state suggestions on ways to improve their companies’ methodologies for calculating transmission headroom, in the state’s effort to accommodate the coming surge in renewable generation.


The utilities had outlined their methodology in a November 2020 report, which the state considered in a study released by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the state’s Department of Public Service (DPS) in January 2021.


DPS staff responded in March 2021 with a straw proposal for improvements to the headroom calculations, including—employing unified planning data and models; assessing local transmission capacity headroom for onramp needs; and assessing the local amount of additional renewable generation that can be supported without curtailment by the existing grid and incrementally after an upgrade project is placed into service.


The proposal is being supported by the IoUs, as it calls for consistency between the utilities while it recognises regional differences. It provides the flexibility to adjust the different topologies and design standards of each system. Moreover, it has been highlighted that the state’s transmission system—mostly an overhead one—is much different from that of the mostly underground, very congested downstate New York City system.


It was thereby recognised that the consistency will start from the use of the powerful models that the utilities develop on an annual basis with the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO). Utilities can then work with DPS and NYSERDA on adjustments of these models to account for the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) goals.