New York approves 135 MW BESS at fossil fuel plant site


Approval has been granted for the construction of a large-scale battery energy storage system (BESS) at the site of an existing fossil fuel power plant in New York.

Last week, the New York State Public Service Commission approved an application for a certificate of public convenience and necessity, filed by the owner of the Astoria Generation power plant for the construction of a 135 MW BESS at the Astoria Power Plant site, a 959 MW fuel oil and natural gas plant. .

Astoria Generation is a subsidiary of power producer Eastern Generation and the three power plant sites in Astoria’s portfolio supply approximately 18% of New York City’s power generation capacity. Eastern Generation is a subsidiary of private equity investment firm ArcLight.

The company plans to put a total of 350MW of battery storage at the Astoria Power Plant in the Borough of Queens and at its Golwanus and Narrows Power Plant sites in Brooklyn.

Eastern Generation collectively calls the three energy storage plants the Luyster Creek Energy Storage Project, beginning with Astoria.

The New York State Public Service Commission found that the project will help reduce the state’s reliance on fossil fuels, including oil and gas-fired peaking plants, which often run only a few hours per year but are among the network’s most polluting resources.

They are also expensive to maintain and subject to volatile fuel costs, and various efforts are underway around New York to retire and replace peaking plants with renewables and storage, notably on Long Island, which has 2 .3 GW of tips, some of which run on kerosene. , out of a total of about 6 GW of the state.

The Commission said the Astoria Battery Project is expected to be operational by 2024 and will trade on the wholesale market, generating revenue on a merchant basis rather than through long-term contracts.

Eastern Generation CEO Mark Sudbey said the entire trio of the Luyster Creek energy storage project could be completed and commissioned by 2025, “if market conditions allow and investment from ‘Appropriate economic incentives are made by the state,’ Sudbey said.

New York’s electricity grid and wholesale market operator, New York ISO (NYISO), recently said that the changes it is making to the wholesale market rules are intended to allow for broader market participation, and therefore higher incomes, for energy storage.

The state has put in place a goal of deploying 6 GW of energy storage by 2030 to enable 70% penetration of renewables on the grid by that year.

In combination with planned investments in transmission infrastructure, battery systems like Astoria can allow more densely populated areas of Downstate New York to benefit from renewable energy installed in less populated areas of the Upstate.

Existing, decommissioned and planned decommissioning fossil fuel sites provide an opportunity to develop battery storage, one of the main reasons being the available land and, more importantly, grid interconnection agreements, as well as the ease of building permits. A few such projects have already been built in California and several are also planned in Australia.

“Energy storage is vital for New York”

There’s also an environmental justice angle to the location of the new battery plant: New York City’s fossil-fuel power plants are disproportionately located in or near the most popular neighborhoods and communities of color. poor or disadvantaged.

A case in point was the Charles Poletti Generating Station, on a site adjacent to the Astoria Generating Station in Queens. A natural gas and oil-fired power plant named after a former state governor was among New York’s biggest sources of pollution before it was decommissioned in 2014.

The land it sits on is owned by the New York Public Power Authority (NYPA), a public utility company that provides about a quarter of the state’s electricity.

A 100 MW/400 MWh BESS will also be built on this site.

NYPA is leasing the necessary land from utility Con Edison, which in turn has hired Hanwha Group-owned developer 174 Power Global for construction. Approval was granted by the New York State Civil Service Commission last July, as reported

NYPA is itself looking to replace its own state-of-the-art plant fleet with cleaner alternatives, in hopes that will involve battery storage. The utility issued a request for proposals (RfP) in April.

After a soft start, the deployment of utility-scale energy storage is accelerating in New York. More recently, current Governor Kathy Hochul recently announced the awarding of contracts for 159 MW of co-located battery storage at solar power plants.

By the end of 2021, the New York Public Service Department said 1,230 MW of storage had been deployed, contracted or awarded in New York, but noted that there were 12 GW of new projects in the queues. waiting for interconnection.

“Energy storage is critical to enhancing grid flexibility and advancing Governor Hochul’s ambitious clean energy goals,” Commission Chairman Rory M. Christian said during the announcement. the authorization decision for the Astoria project on June 16.


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