New York is seeking to redefine the roles of electric utilities and change the regulatory framework to facilitate much larger use of distributed energy resources – such as energy efficiency, demand response, energy storage and distributed generation, including on-site wind turbines and rooftop solar – to meet both system and customer needs.
The effort, part of New York's Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) plan, seeks to speed up the transition to energy efficiency and renewables by overhauling the regulations that govern utility companies and designing new energy markets. The Public Service Commission says that REV will give consumers more control over their energy use and engage them as energy producers. By promoting efficiency and distributed energy, REV also seeks to avoid billions of dollars in investments to repair or replace the state's aging energy infrastructure.
However, the initiative restricts utilities from owning local power generation. By requiring utilities to coordinate and partner with other companies on renewable generation, this initiative will improve the following:
- Competition. Customers will benefit from a more competitive market, as utilities will work and partner with other companies and service providers.
- Consumer protection. Establishing expanded outreach and consumer protections will benefit low- and moderate-income customers and promote greater transparency and community engagement.
- Energy efficiency. Requiring utilities to improve their ongoing energy efficiency programs will reduce customer energy bills and curb statewide greenhouse-gas emissions.
According to New York State Energy Research & Development Authority, there are hundreds of technology innovators and third-party companies in New York, such as energy services, retail suppliers and demand management, that can help reduce energy bills by giving customers greater control of how much power they consume and where the power comes from. With today's decision, these companies will develop products and services that enable full customer engagement.
‘This ruling is a step toward providing the certainty needed for future development of grid-scale renewables – like wind power and hydropower – as the state's current program expires this year,’ says Anne Reynolds, executive director at the Alliance for Clean Energy New York. ‘Industry has been awaiting a signal that New York will have a long-term renewables policy to replace it. We are also pleased that there will be strong energy-efficiency goals during the transition, and we look forward to working with the commission on building new business opportunities for energy efficiency, which will help to ensure that New York does not backslide on its previous successes in reducing energy demand.’