On September 19, 2012, the Board of Directors of the New York Independent System Operator (“NYISO”) released the 2012 Reliability Needs Assessment (“RNA”), a review of the reliability of the New York bulk power system spanning the ten year planning horizon from 2013-2023.  NYISO identified potential resource adequacy and transmission security issues that might develop during the ten year period. 

The RNA was developed through the NYISO’s stakeholder process, and is considered by NYISO to be the initial step in what it terms its “comprehensive reliability planning process.”  As such, the RNA analyzed the New York bulk power system with an eye toward confirming if reliability criteria will be met and identifying the potential reliability needs the system may have in the coming ten years.  The report modeled several different potential scenarios based on such factors as possible generation retirement and demand forecasts that are higher or lower than anticipated.

The RNA identified two types of potential reliability issues: (1) resource adequacy and (2) transmission security.  Resource adequacy is defined by the NYISO as “the ability of the electric system to supply the aggregate electrical demand and energy requirements at all times, taking into account scheduled and unscheduled outages of system elements.”  The RNA anticipated that, without intervening measures being taken, the system will be in violation of resource adequacy criterion beginning in the year 2020.  Deficiencies are predicted to occur in the Hudson Valley and downstate regions, and the RNA concluded that the deficiencies could be addressed by adding generation and transmission capacity in those regions. The RNA encouraged utilities in those regions (Orange & Rockland, Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp., New York State Electric & Gas Corp., Consolidated Edison Co. of New York Inc. and the Long Island Power Authority) to work together to resolve the identified needs on a voluntary basis.

Transmission security is defined as “the ability of the power system to withstand disturbances such as electric short circuits or the unanticipated loss of power system components without interruption of power delivery to the utility service areas.”  The RNA predicts that potential transmission security violations will likely occur as early as 2013 in certain regions of the state, and utilities serving those zones (Rochester Gas and Electric Corp., National Grid plc and Orange and Rockland Utilities Inc.) must address those potential problems by either building new local transmission lines or exploring regulated backstop solutions, like larger transmission, generation or demand response projects.

The findings of NYISO’s 2012 RNA deviate from its 2010 RNA, which had identified no potential resource adequacy or transmission security issues for the ten-year report period.  NYISO explains that compared to the 2010 report, the 2012 report modeling contained a reduction in generation capacity, an increase in the load forecast, and a reduction in the energy savings made by the NYISO Demand Response program.

After adopting this RNA, the next step in NYISO’s comprehensive reliability planning process will be to make a request for both market-based and regulatory solutions, after which it will develop a comprehensive plan for resolving the identified reliability issues.

To access the full RNA on the NYISO’s website, click here.