NYPA Press Release

New York Power Authority Issues Solicitation for Battery Storage Proposals to Use Its Small Clean Power Plant Sites and Electrical Infrastructure

For Immediate Release: 4/21/22          

Contact: Susan Craig | Susan.Craig@nypa.gov



NYPA Small Clean Power Plant Adaptation Study Says Battery Storage Could Play Significant Role in Transitioning Its Small Clean Power Plants to Cleaner Energy Technologies 


Study and Solicitation to Help Inform State’s Plan to Repurpose Existing Downstate Fossil-Based Electric Generation and Infrastructure


WHITE PLAINS – The New York Power Authority (NYPA) today issued a Request for Proposals for potential use of its small clean power plant sites and related electric infrastructure for the development of bulk-scale battery storage projects. The RFP release comes after review of promising study results indicating that NYPA’s small clean power plants (SCPPs) located in New York City could begin the transition to low or zero carbon emission technologies well ahead of NYPA’s VISION2030 goal of decarbonization by 2035 and the State’s goal of a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040. The NYPA Small Clean Power Plant Adaptation Study, prepared in consultation with the PEAK Coalition, a group of environmental justice and clean energy advocates, demonstrates that four-hour duration battery storage has the potential to replace the energy currently provided by NYPA’s individual plants, if certain key conditions are met, by 2030.


“To meet New York’s clean energy targets, we need a multifaceted approach that includes creative solutions such as battery storage and innovative adaptation of our current infrastructure to meet the energy demands of tomorrow in a cleaner way,” said NYPA Interim President and CEO Justin E. Driscoll. “As the State moves ahead with offshore wind, solar and transmission projects that will deliver more clean energy to New York City, NYPA is encouraged by the modeling and forecasting in this collaborative study that shows that we may be able to expedite our transition to cleaner energy technologies at our in-city plants, providing that we can continue to ensure a reliable, resilient energy system for New York City.”


The study was commissioned by NYPA, in consultation with the PEAK Coalition, to analyze potential clean energy options to decarbonize NYPA’s peaker plants. Study researchers examined energy forecasts of changes in the New York electric supply mix as well as changes in demand over the next two decades, showing that as early as 2030, with the advent of more renewable energy coming into New York City, and a resulting decrease in the expected frequency and duration of run times, four-hour energy storage could provide enough energy to fully replace the operations of each individual small clean power plant unit.


The implementation of these technologies has the potential to also help accelerate progress in attaining the clean energy goals outlined in New York State’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (Climate Act), nation-leading climate legislation that calls for zero-emission electricity in New York State by 2040 and are complimentary to Governor Hochul’s 2022 State of the State commitment to phase out New York City’s older, most-polluting fossil-fuel facilities by exploring ways to repurpose and redevelop fossil-based electric infrastructure by 2030. 

Further study will be needed to assess resiliency and reliability impacts at the plant level, as well as capacity requirements required by the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) and Con Edison, the utility that provides direct energy services to New York City residents. Additional analysis will be needed to ensure that any envisioned retrofit, replacement or retirement does not result in an increase in carbon emissions or other criteria pollutants from less efficient fossil-fired power plants in New York City.

In 2001, NYPA installed small clean natural gas fired plants (known as “peaker plants” to be used at times of ‘peak’ electricity demand) at six locations in New York City and one on Long Island. They operate infrequently—roughly 10 percent of the time, in recent years, when directed to do so to meet energy demands—providing local reliability and resiliency. This study’s analysis is focused solely on NYPA’s in-city peaker plants.


The following is a summary of the study’s key findings:


  • Given site characteristics and battery density assumptions, each SCPP site presents opportunities for adaptation strategies, including full, or close to full, replacement with battery storage by 2030;


  • As electrification loads increase and New York shifts to a 100% decarbonized system by 2040, a system-wide reliability need is expected, that requires energy resources with capabilities for longer dispatch durations that batteries alone may not satisfy;


  • Based on historical output levels, the frequency and duration of NYPA’s small clean power plants’ run-times would make full replacement with battery storage impossible; however, by 2030, the frequency and duration of the plants’ run-times are projected to decline, allowing for the possibility of full replacement with 4-hour battery storage at each individual site;


  • Under a more ambitious view of decarbonization in New York City, represented in an Alternative Scenario, there may be opportunities to further displace higher-emitting fossil generation, which would lead to significant reductions in local NOx emissions;


  • As New York State adds more renewable energy, energy storage and transmission resources to meet the goals of the Climate Act, fossil-fired generation in New York City is predicted to decline significantly.


The findings of this study are dependent on production cost modelling assumptions, such as the future build-out and integration of more renewable resources and future transmission and distribution development and modernization.

While the study results indicate the promising potential of energy storage, the same results, also indicate that beyond 2030, as more electrification drives an increase in electricity demand, the system-wide energy need during periods of low renewable output will require perfect capacity (on-demand, reliable, and without duration constraints) energy resources or longer duration storage technologies to fill the gap and avoid reliability issues.


NYPA will be moving forward towards decarbonization through the implementation of several concrete actions:


  • Issue Request for Proposals for development of bulk-scale battery storage projects: NYPA today is issuing a Request for Proposals for potential utilization of multiple thermal power plant sites. Bids are due May 24, 2022, with potential awards announced July 1, 2022.  For more information on this RFP,  NYPA’s Procurement website. 
  • Continue Ongoing Stakeholder Engagement: NYPA is committed to continued engagement with community stakeholders to ensure that the SCPPs located in disadvantaged communities are prioritized for adaptation.
  • Undertake Initial Reliability Analysis: NYPA will facilitate the necessary reliability assessments to advance towards the VISION2030 goal of decarbonization by 2035.
  • Develop Strategic Roadmap: NYPA will develop an internal working roadmap for the organization’s near-term strategy for its SCPPs by end of 2022, in alignment with VISION2030. The roadmap will be revisited on a regular basis to reflect changes in reliability, system resilience, policy and technological feasibility.


The study, conducted by Energy and Environmental Economics, Inc. (E3) and General Electric Energy Consulting, was commissioned by the New York Power Authority in consultation with the PEAK Coalition, and was supported by Strategen Consulting, as part of an agreement signed in 2020 between the two groups to assess how NYPA could transition its natural gas fired small clean power plants to use clean energy technologies, such as battery storage and low to zero carbon emission resources and technologies, while continuing to meet the unique electricity reliability and resiliency requirements of New York City.


“These findings support previous reports put out by PEAK – that battery storage could replace the operations of each individual NYPA peaker power plant in NYC, coupled with clean renewable energy sources on the grid, by 2030,” said Eddie Bautista, Executive Director of the NYC Environmental Justice Alliance.  “While we await further analyses from NYISO and Con Edison regarding reliability/capacity questions, these findings invite a broader and bolder question: can clean renewable energy plus battery storage also replace all the City’s older, polluting private peaker plants? Can NYC become the first city in the nation to have all its peaker plants replaced? We believe we can - especially if we follow the visionary direction established by the New York State Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.”


Seth Mullendore, President and Executive Director of Clean Energy Group, said, “This first-in the country partnership is a national precedent other states should follow. It shows that true collaboration with environmental justice communities can produce viable, emission-free, renewable energy and battery storage alternatives to replace the hundreds of urban peaker plants that pollute frontline communities across America.”

Elizabeth Yeampierre, Executive Director of UPROSE, said, "Environmental justice leaders fought tirelessly for years to pass New York State's Climate Act. This is an example of the truly transformational work that can be achieved through innovative partnerships and co-governance models to operationalize BIPOC frontline-led visions. We must ensure that the benefits of our life's work such as emission reductions, renewable energy development, and green job creation are centered on racial justice and equity and address the legacy of harm and health disparities from burning fossil fuels in our communities."


Anthony Karefa Rogers-Wright, Director of Environmental Justice at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, said “For all the recent talk about deficits, we rarely talk about our largest deficit-that of time. Efficacious solutions to this climate crisis require a rapid and just transition away from fossil fuels to a zero emissions economy. And we must be clear, ‘low emissions’ is a low bar when our landmark Climate Act mandates zero emissions no later than 2040. This doesn’t mean we can wait until that year as much as it necessitates the need to exercise and advance proactive measures that get us to zero emissions. This study is very promising and further proof that peaker plants can and must be retired expeditiously in a way that upholds environmental justice principles and the leadership of environmental justice organizations. Let’s stop wasting time and money as we embrace a fossil fuel free future in New York by investing in renewable energy sources and regenerative economies.”


NYPA in its VISION2030 strategic plan has committed to pioneering a path to decarbonization for its natural gas plants by 2035. NYPA is committed to being a leader in piloting low to zero carbon emission resources and technologies, investigating the feasibility of short- and long-duration battery storage, and driving forward a system-wide transformation to a clean energy economy. NYPA, with input from and in collaboration with its state, industry and advocacy partners, and other stakeholders, is supportive of offshore wind and solar projects in New York, grid modernization efforts, and ways that more clean distributed energy sources can be added to the state’s energy mix.


The NYPA Small Clean Power Plant Adaptation Study, with Executive Summary, is available here.  


New York State's Nation-Leading Climate Plan

New York State's nation-leading climate agenda is the most aggressive climate and clean energy initiative in the nation, calling for an orderly and just transition to clean energy that creates jobs and continues fostering a green economy as New York State recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. Enshrined into law through the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, New York is on a path to achieve its mandated goal of a zero-emission electricity sector by 2040, including 70 percent renewable energy generation by 2030, and to reach economy wide carbon neutrality. It builds on New York's unprecedented investments to ramp-up clean energy including over $33 billion in 102 large-scale renewable and transmission projects across the state, $6.8 billion to reduce buildings emissions, $1.8 billion to scale up solar, more than $1 billion for clean transportation initiatives, and over $1.6 billion in NY Green Bank commitments. Combined, these investments are supporting nearly 158,000 jobs in New York's clean energy sector in 2020, a 2,100 percent growth in the distributed solar sector since 2011 and a commitment to develop 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2035. Under the Climate Act, New York will build on this progress and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent from 1990 levels by 2050, while ensuring that at least 35 percent with a goal of 40 percent of the benefits of clean energy investments are directed to disadvantaged communities, and advance progress towards the state's 2025 energy efficiency target of reducing on-site energy consumption by 185 trillion BTUs of end-use energy savings.


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NYPA is the largest state public power organization in the nation, operating 16 generating facilities and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission lines. More than 80 percent of the electricity NYPA produces is clean renewable hydropower. NYPA uses no tax money or state credit. It finances its operations through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity. For more information visit www.nypa.gov and follow us on Twitter @NYPAenergy, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr and LinkedIn.