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Power Trends: New York ISO Podcast
New York ISO
The Power Trends Podcast produced by the New York Independent System Operator where we discuss energy planning, public policy, and other issues affecting New York’s power grid.
Oct 25, 2021
Episode 17: Wes Yeomans on Summer Reliability Retrospective & Modeling for Climate Change
When Wes Yeomans speaks, people in the energy industry listen. The Vice President of Operations, Wes has three decades of energy industry experience, including more than 10 years at the NYISO. In this podcast, he tells Kevin Lanahan, Vice President of External Affairs and Corporate Communications, about how we performed in managing the electric grid last summer, our preparations for the winter ahead, and how we’re planning for a zero-emissions grid of the future. This summer saw extreme weather around the nation, with monster fires on the West Coast and unprecedented heat in the Pacific Northwest. Here in New York, tropical storms included one that brought tragic flooding to New York City; but thankfully did not involve significant difficulties in grid operations. Extreme weather from climate change is an increasing factor in grid operations, combined with the state’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which calls for significant growth of solar and wind. This includes significant offshore wind development taking shape, and the recent announcement by Governor Hochul to expand the NY Sun program to 10 gigawatts of distributed solar resources by 2030. These distributed resources displace the amount of energy that must be supplied by the transmission system that the NYISO operates. As energy production from renewable resources is dependent on weather, our grid operators must be able to predict the output of these resources in order to maintain reliability on the transmission system, he said. “We can be off 10% today,” he said, noting that solar and wind still make up a relatively small amount of grid supply. “If we’re off 10% three years from now, that could be a couple of thousands of megawatts. So we have to be very good, and be prepared.” Another significant change Wes discusses is the rise in electric vehicles, and trends to move from oil and natural gas to electric heat in buildings, especially downstate. The combined effects of these change, Wes said, is the likelihood that New York will change from a state that experiences its peak power demand in the summer (primarily a result of air conditioning use) to one which sees peak demand occurring in the winter. For more about how we are addressing a zero-emissions grid with market-based solutions, visit the 2040 Power Grid webpage.
Aug 2, 2021
Episode 16: Gil C. Quiniones, President & CEO of NYPA, on Decarbonization, Building a Better Grid & Disaster Recovery
Gil C. Quiniones, President & CEO of the New York Power Authority (NYPA), has transformed the organization and he has a lot to say about the grid of the future. The internationally-recognized leader in the power industry oversees a quarter of New York’s energy generation and a third of its transmission. The organization recently launched its 10-year, Vision2030 strategic plan, and is pushing with numerous other efforts to upgrade its facilities with the most cutting-edge technology to help meet New York’s CLCPA clean energy targets. “It's really a moment in time of growth and investment in our state,” he told Kevin Lanahan, Vice President of External Affairs and Corporate Communications, during a conversation for our Power Trends Podcast. Vision2030 calls for aggressively building out NYPA’s transmission system, preserving the value of its hydroelectric resources, transitioning its downstate gas generation to low to zero carbon emission resources, and helping customers reduce fossil fuel use in their own operations. NYPA is working with the PEAK Coalition (a collection of environmental advocacy groups in New York City) to help retire or upgrade its gas-powered peaker plants in order to improve air quality in environmental justice neighborhoods. Potential options for replacement may include short- or long-term energy storage or the use of “green” hydrogen. Quiniones also said NYPA has several business ventures in place to invest in offshore wind. The CLCPA calls for installing nine gigawatts of power off the coast of Long Island and New York City. NYPA is moving forward with other grid transmission improvement projects around the state to help move clean energy, he said. “It's just amazing that everything is happening and the stars are aligned for more transmission build-out in our state,” he said. *Other topics that Quiniones touched upon included:* · Efforts to improve cybersecurity · The company’s COVID response · NYPA’s eight-month effort to help restore power in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria For more about how we are addressing a zero-emissions grid with market-based solutions, visit the 2040 Power Grid webpage.
Jun 29, 2021
Episode 15: ACE NY’s Anne Reynolds Advises CAC on Fast-Tracking Clean Energy Targets
Anne Reynolds joined the Alliance for Clean Energy (ACE NY) as executive director in 2014. But she has spent her career working on clean energy and environmental issues, including on numerous state programs to help ease the transition to emission-free resources in New York. She recently spoke with Kevin Lanahan, our vice president for external affairs and corporate communications, on our latest Power Trends Podcast. They discussed her role as a member of the state Climate Action Council (CAC) and her thoughts on what it will take to meet the aggressive clean energy targets of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA). “I’ve been impressed with how much they’ve accomplished,” said Reynolds of the CAC’s work. “It’s illustrated how many moving parts there are to get New York to achieve the really ambitious climate goals that are in the CLCPA. It’s daunting when you understand how much New York is going to have to do.” Reynolds still sees many challenges ahead to achieving the renewable solar and wind energy goals called for in the CLCPA, including getting these technologies built, sited, permitted, and interconnected onto the grid. “We have to tackle all of those nuts-and-bolts issues,” she said. One of the biggest hurdles to meeting all of the CLCPA’s goals is the enormous task of electrifying New York’s buildings, which today make up about a third of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. She noted that all tools should be considered in order to ensure reliability while moving to a clean energy economy. There will be roles for carbon pricing, new dispatchable emission-free generation, green hydrogen, as well as a need to invest in storage, transmission improvements, demand response, and efficiency improvements, she says. “A lot will need to happen over the next 25 years to put us on that right path.” For more about how we are addressing a zero-emissions grid with market-based solutions, visit the 2040 Power Grid webpage.
Apr 19, 2021
Episode 14: NYISO VP Zach Smith on Emission-Free Grid Planning, Climate Change & the Interconnection Queue
It’s Zach Smith’s job to prepare the New York energy grid for the future. Our Vice President of System and Resource Planning manages the team that looks at all potential reliability issues the grid could face, from a week to 10 years in the future. The team also looks at all proposed energy resources that seek to enter the grid via our Interconnection Queue process, and the impact these resources could have on reliability. In the past several years, we’ve made changes to the process of approving new resources, speeding up the approval process to reduce the cost to developers. “We’ve had this comprehensive planning process for many years now,” he said, in an interview with Kevin Lanahan, Vice President of External Affairs and Corporate Communications. “Now, with the changes to the grid, it’s so much more vitally important. We’re encountering all kinds of new challenges.” New York State’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) sets the nation’s most ambitious clean energy targets. Under the CLCPA, the grid must get 70% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030, as well as be emission-free by 2040. “Some of the challenges are based around what happens when the weather doesn’t cooperate,” Smith said. “What if the wind ceases to blow, what if clouds come in and you get less sunshine?” Smith asked. “You are still going to have significant electric demand. You need resources standing, willing and ready to produce, sometimes at a moment’s notice.” In addition, the changing climate presents its own grid concerns. We recently published our Climate Change and Impact Study, which offers suggestions on where to strengthen the grid in order to keep it resilient in the face of risks to reliability like cold snaps, heat waves and ice storms. We’re evaluating all of the potential conditions and the corresponding economics . The way that we do that is through the interconnection process. Meanwhile, we continue to see a tremendous number of new clean energy resources that developers are seeking to install in the coming years. Planning for these new resources, a process called the Interconnection Queue, is also a vital part of Smith’s duties. “We’re evaluating all of that to make sure that the reliability and resiliency of the grid is maintained,” he said. “The New York ISO plays an important role in enabling these new resources and making sure they can interconnect reliably.” Learn more, read our blog: The Road to 2040: Our Interconnection Queue Shows Unprecedented Growth of Clean Energy Investment in NY
Mar 1, 2021
Episode 13: Key Capture Energy’s Jeff Bishop on the Critical Role of Storage in Greening the Grid
Jeff Bishop, CEO and co-founder of Key Capture Energy, got his start in the energy business 20 years ago developing wind farms in New York and around the world. In 2016, he and New York native Dan Fitzgerald crunched the numbers and saw the future in battery storage. Together, they formed Key Capture Energy. The Albany-based company has 54 megawatts of storage in operation in New York and Texas, with an additional 200 MW under construction and a whopping 2.5 gigawatts in development in the Northeast and in Texas. As New York moves to a zero-emission grid, mandated by the CLCPA to be in place by 2040, energy storage plays a critical role. The state has called for 3,000 MW of storage by then. But Bishop said those numbers are just part of why Key Capture Energy is investing in New York. “New York is doing everything all at once,” he says. “A bunch of offshore wind, retirement downstate of dual-fuel peakers, all of this just leads to a grid that needs battery storage.” “Markets have traditionally rewarded what is economical but they need to reward what the grid needs five years from now,” Bishop explains. At the NYISO, our work preparing markets for energy storage led the nation with new rules already in place to broaden the ability of storage to bolster the reliable use of renewable resources. “We need it all,” says Bishop, referring to the many technologies expected to be serving the grid by 2040. “We need those 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind to come into Long Island and New York City. We need the rooftop solar. We need all sorts of distributed solar. We need transmission upgrades. And we need energy storage.”
Jan 19, 2021
Episode 12: Emilie Nelson Advises the CAC that a System of Markets, Physics and People Will Produce a Reliable Zero-Emissions Grid
Emilie Nelson, NYISO’s Executive Vice President, has more than two decades of experience in the energy industry. She’s also a member of the Power Generation Advisory Panel to the New York State Climate Action Council (CAC). The CAC will produce the scoping plan for a 70% renewable grid by 2030 and zero-emissions by 2040, placing Nelson in an active role for the most aggressive clean energy plan in the nation. "It’s been called a ‘moonshot’ goal," Nelson said, in regard to the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. "New York’s grid is now around 27% renewable. We need to push that number to 70% in 10 years,"a mission she takes very seriously and is actively engaged. How is our organization partnering with the state to meet these ambitious steps? Through a variety of actions: making changes to our wholesale electricity markets that reward investment in clean energy, for instance, or identifying new transmission needs so more upstate-based green power can be moved downstate, where demand is highest. Finally, we’ve recently published a guide for the CAC that explains how markets and state policy can work together to reach the renewable and emissions goals. "There is no one single thing, no magic, that will provide grid reliability," Nelson said. "The system must function together."
Dec 15, 2020
Episode 11: John Reese talks "Big Think" on Power Gen's Clean Energy Future
John Reese has a long history in the energy business, from roles with New York State, the U.S. Department of Energy, and his current position as Senior Vice President at Eastern Generation, which currently provides more than 20% of New York City’s energy capacity. He is also serving on the Power Generation Advisory Panel. It’s one of six panels organized to assist New York’s Climate Action Council, which is responsible for developing a scoping plan to guide the state on its journey toward reaching a zero-emission grid by 2040. John spoke with Kevin Lanahan, our Vice President of External Affairs and Corporate Communications, for our latest Power Trends Podcast. “It’s pretty uncharted territory,” says Reese. “It involves fundamental, societal change." Reese explores a variety of solutions, including: * Greater investment in battery storage (the CLCPA calls for adding 3,000 MW to the grid) * The potential for generating power from “green” hydrogen gas created via excess renewable energy * Carbon pricing, which would incorporate a “social cost” of carbon emissions into New York’s wholesale energy markets to make clean energy more competitive Mostly, it will take a number of creative solutions, including technologies that are currently in the research-and-development phase, he says. Maintaining “fast-ramping” resources in New York City is vital for reliability, Reese explains, especially at times of high demand, due to transmission limitations in densely populate areas. As the state continues to move to a grid of the future, Reese will continue to play a vital role in its development. In closing, Reese suggests we keep all solutions in mind as we move to the future. “One of the things we’re going to need very clearly,” he says, “is flexibility.”
Sep 18, 2020
Episode 10: Bob Hiney Offers His Wisdom & Advice on the Future of New York’s Grid
What do you get when your avowed hobby is “energy policy?” With Bob Hiney, you get a man steeped in the minutia of New York’s energy markets, with four decades of experience in the electric power industry. Hiney, a member of the NYISO Board of Directors for 14 years, previously chaired the Management Committee and filled other important roles. He recently retired, but vowed to follow us closely. Looking back over his long and storied career, Hiney reflected on how New York’s energy markets have helped make sure the energy grid had enough power to meet demand while promoting innovation to bring us to the grid of the future. For our podcast, he spoke to Kevin Lanahan, Vice President of External Affairs and Corporate Communications. More than 20 years after he helped design and establish our energy markets, he is pleased to see how the competitive markets have kept prices low while encouraging investment in new resources. But what does he see for the future? “This is a tremendous opportunity for the ISO and the electric power industry to reduce carbon,” he said. “We’re going to be spending a lot more time focusing on the demand side and how to capitalize on the flexibility that electric vehicles will provide. Balancing the intermittent energy from solar and wind is a challenge, but I see it as a real opportunity.” At a time when other states are facing reliability concerns, Hiney noted the importance of our capacity market to meet resource adequacy. He also noted the benefits of our carbon pricing proposal, which would incorporate a cost of carbon dioxide emissions into the energy markets. “Putting resources in the right place is going to be very important,” he said. "Carbon pricing will be the most accurate possible signal you can give to an investor on where best to build his facilities and what technologies to use."
Jul 20, 2020
Episode 9: From COVID-19 to the CLCPA, Our Power Trends Report is a Must-Read for Grid Stakeholders & Policymakers
What goes into the making of Power Trends, our annual report that tells the story of the electric grid in New York State? And why do you need to read it? In our latest podcast, the NYISO’s Ray Stalter and Gary Davidson discuss how Power Trends 2020: The Vision for a Greener Grid, is created to inform policymakers, stakeholders, and others interested in the state of the electric grid in New York, and the forces shaping the grid of the future. Power Trends covers the “need to know” issues associated with meeting our future energy needs in a simple and easy format. “It really does involve the engagement and hard work of pretty much every department within the company,” says Stalter, Director of Regulatory Affairs, who leads the annual publication effort and is one of the primary authors. In this episode, Stalter is joined by co-author Gary Davidson, Regulatory Affairs Principal, to discuss the months it takes to put Power Trends together and its importance to both energy industry stakeholders and the general public. Davidson commented, “it’s a labor of love.” Months in the making, Power Trends covers supply and demand trends, the changing resource mix, and the need for investment in transmission. From the growth of renewable resources to the impact of COVID-19 on power consumption, Power Trends informs and educates on the grid of today and what is being done to enable the state’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which calls for a carbon-free grid by 2040. Visit the Power Trends 2020 web page: https://bit.ly/2zp87SC
Apr 9, 2020
Episode 8: Wes Yeomans on Staying Calm, Sequestering Operators, & the Virtues of Virtual Campfires
What do you do when faced with the unknown risks of a new disease if you’re in charge of the reliability of the energy grid in New York State? For Wes Yeomans, our Vice President of Operations, the advent of COVID-19 meant putting into place our pandemic response plan. And for 37 NYISO Control Room operators, managers, and support staff, that meant total sequestration from the outside world until further notice. “It was prudent to isolate them from society,” Yeomans explains on the most recent Power Trends Podcast. “Just like planes can't fly without pilots and co-pilots, the electric system can't run without electric operators." That’s why, in mid-March, we took the unprecedented step of removing these vital staff from their families and setting up a home-away-from-home for the operators to live, work and recreate until COVID-19 is no longer a risk. To find out how we are maintaining both reliability of the grid and the physical and mental health of our valued staff, listen to the new podcast.
Mar 5, 2020
Episode 7: Clarkson President Anthony Collins on a Culture of Innovation
Dr. Anthony Collins, President of Clarkson University since 2003, believes in the importance of finding new ways to promote a culture of innovation in one of the nation’s top technical colleges. It’s a culture engrained in our mission here at the NYISO as we transition to the grid of the future. Why does that matter so much today? We are in the midst of some of the biggest changes to the energy grid that we’ve seen in a century, as we move from traditional forms of generation to resources more reliant on solar and wind which literally change with the weather. As we prepare to make changes to our energy markets to support these new technologies, we need staff with both strong technical knowledge and the ability to think creatively. Clarkson University, which has prepared many of our talented staff in the past (including our President and CEO Rich Dewey), is creating the types of graduates we are looking for. Dr. Collins recently spoke to NYISO Vice President of External Affairs an…
Feb 5, 2020
Episode 6: State of the Grid with Rich Dewey, Outlines NYISO Initiatives to Meet Climate & Policy Goals
In 2020, the pace of change on the power grid is being driven by aggressive legislation and the ways in which clean energy resources are being economically reevaluated. In the past, reliability at the lowest-cost solution for ratepayers was paramount, but the urgency of climate change has shifted policies, priorities, and resources. How the transition plays out will be shaped by innovation and economic drivers. In Episode 6 of the Power Trends Podcast, NYISO President & CEO Rich Dewey shares his vision for addressing this radical evolution. Dewey explains how our 20-year history of navigating changes in markets and policy have benefited significantly from our shared governance structure which brings diverse perspectives and interests to the table to drive innovation. Through this process, stakeholders collaborate with the NYISO to address complex problems by reconciling conflicting points of view in a manner that effectively drives consensus in the end. With the impending influx of r…
Jan 2, 2020
Episode 5: RFF's Karen Palmer on Carbon Pricing & Multistate Impacts
Dr. Palmer is currently a Senior Fellow and Director of the Future of Power Initiative at Resources for the Future (RFF), one of the oldest and most prestigious environmental think tanks in the country. In Episode 5 of our Power Trends Podcast, Dr. Palmer speaks with our Vice President of External Affairs, Kevin Lanahan about a study recently conducted by RFF on the New York ISO’s carbon pricing proposal. Findings of the study project the following outcomes, using the RFF’s Engineering, Environmental and Economic Electricity Simulation Tool (E4ST). It demonstrated that our proposal would, by 2025: * Reduce CO2 emissions from New York's generators by between 6% and 22% * Extend emissions reductions and health benefits to the large RGGI (Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative) are from Maine to Maryland, including New Jersey and Virginia * Provide an annual net benefit to society at large of between $108M to $651M Regarding the ability to provide market incentives consistent wit…
Nov 13, 2019
Episode 4: Demystifying the Interconnection of Renewables to the Grid
The level of decarbonization required by statutes to combat climate change in New York State, "will result in a grid and power system that are unrecognizable from the one we run today." So says Zach Smith, Vice President of System and Resource Planning at the NYISO. In Episode 4 of the Power Trends Podcast, Smith takes us through the process required to vet new power generation projects in a given ‘class year.’ “It’s not as simple as addressing each project on its own,” explains Smith. “If you have an area where there are multiple wind farms, solar facilities and batteries all being located in the same vicinity, they’re going to have a compounding effect.” The class year allows these development projects to be understood collectively and, as dictated by the FERC tariff under which we operate, how to conduct the process such that it finds the ‘least cost’ configuration of upgrades to maintain system reliability. With the 2019 class year of over 100 projects, a three-…
Oct 16, 2019
Episode 3: Energy Economist Dr. Sue Tierney on Benefits of Carbon Pricing
Dr. Susan Tierney, renowned energy expert with the Analysis Group and former head of policy at the U.S. Department of Energy, recently completed a study of our proposal to add a “social cost” of carbon dioxide emissions to New York’s wholesale energy markets. In this interview with Kevin Lanahan, Vice President of External Affairs and Corporate Communications at the NYISO, Tierney explains how carbon pricing would make cleaner energy more profitable, and carbon-emitting energy more expensive by incorporating the cost of carbon emissions. It would also help New York achieve its clean energy goals faster and more cost-effectively. Tierney later concludes that since New York is the world’s 11th-largest economy, “people will be watching. Not only from the other states and the other markets but around the world for an example of a workable solution.”
Aug 27, 2019
Episode 2: Clean Energy, Climate Change, and Creating a Culture of Evolution
There’s a new evolution coming to the energy grid, according to Emilie Nelson, NYISO Executive Vice President, and that makes it a great time to be working in the industry. Nelson described the important role of the NYISO’s grid operators and its wholesale energy markets in addressing the recent passing of the state’s landmark Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, which seeks to grow the amount of clean energy on the energy grid, “The job is getting more complex,” she said. “Our organization is well positioned well to really step up to the task.”
Jul 23, 2019
Episode 1: Climate Leadership & New York Policy
The New York ISO's first ever Power Trends Podcast, with newly appointed President & CEO Rich Dewey, discusses New York energy policy, carbon pricing and who has the best job in the country. During his conversation, Dewey discussed the state’s interest in promoting aggressive clean energy goals. The NYISO is currently discussing adding a “social cost” of carbon into the wholesale price of energy. By instituting this carbon price into our markets, we will be sending a signal to existing generators and developers of new generation that would reward cleaner generation and help to meet public policy goals.