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NYISO studying climate change impacts to 100% emissions-free energy system


Law mandates zero power sector emissions by 2040

Drought, extreme heat, storm surge impacts to be studied

  • Author
  • Jared Anderson
  • Editor
  • Keiron Greenhalgh
  • Commodity
  • Electric Power
  • Topic
  • Energy Transition Environment and Sustainability

As New York moves to meet the US' most aggressive climate change mitigation goals, its power grid operator is to study how a system powered with 100% emissions-free energy could be impacted by climate change.

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The New York Independent System Operator is conducting a climate change study that will examine various scenarios that could potentially impact the electric system as a result of climate-related disruptions, according to a presentation posted to the grid operator's website Tuesday.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in July signed the state's landmark Green New Deal, which calls for a carbon-free power system by 2040 and codifies the goal of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

The legislation - the New York State Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act - includes two features that will impact the power sector.

First it creates a framework to meet the economy-wide zero emissions by 2050 goal that the Department of Environmental Conservation is responsible for administering.

Second is a strengthening of the existing Clean Energy Standard and the Public Utilities Commission is responsible for implementing those measures with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. That involves a process to strengthen existing goals of 50% renewable energy by 2030 to 70% renewables by 2030, while setting a path toward 100% zero power sector emissions by 2040.

One tool for achieving those targets is the installation of 9,000 MW of offshore wind by 2035 from 0 MW installed currently.

The NYISO's climate study will examine whether the bulk power system in 2040 will be able to serve its load and meet reserve requirements under a variety of conditions.

The power generation mix will be based on the CLCPA's 100% emissions-free energy target and all generation will be modeled as zero air emissions, NYISO said. The law indirectly drives natural gas and other fossil fuels out of the power system by 2040 through its mandate of net-zero emissions by that date.


The study will assume power is generated from onshore and offshore wind, utility and behind-the-meter solar, hydropower, nuclear power, energy storage and imports.

The kinds of events that will be modeled include drought impacts to hydropower resources over different time periods measured in days. Extreme heat impacts to generation, transmission and load for various lengths of time.

Additionally, storm surge impacts to load and generation along coastal areas will be modeled.

When it comes to the study's metrics, results will be reported as number of hours in which load is not served, reserve requirements are not met and Special Case Resources are called upon, according to NYISO.

SCRs are part of the NYISO's demand response program, in which resources capable of reducing the power consumed are employed for discrete periods of time under the direction of the grid operator.

The final report will be presented and posted by the NYISO Planning Department.

(Revises wording in headline, 1st and 8th paragraphs)

-- Jared Anderson,

-- Edited by Keiron Greenhalgh,