New York City’s ConEdison said it bases its decision-making and planning process on projections for climate change, according to their recently released annual sustainability strategy report. The utility is currently the second-largest generator of solar power in North America, and the seventh largest worldwide.
This work has been guided by ConEdison’s Clean Energy Commitment, a vision that includes tripling energy efficiency by 2030, achieving 100% clean energy by 2040, “all-in” support for electric vehicles, and the reduction of fossil fuel use for heating.
Large-scale generation and transmission
Owning over 2.8 GW of solar and wind projects in 20 states, and with another 400 MW with construction underway, ConEdison has invested over $600 million in large-scale renewables in 2020. Their renewables portfolio is comprised of 85% solar and 15% wind.
Three New York City large-scale transmission projects will also be constructed, as well as a $780 million project that will connect the city to large offshore wind generation sources. This announcement came coupled with ConEdison’s renunciation of their core focus on natural gas transmission, with the utility selling its stake in Stagecoach Gas Services, a gas pipeline and storage business.
Distributed resources and energy efficiency
ConEdison is also working on supporting distributed energy resources (DER) within their service territory. Their customers have installed some 45,000 solar systems, totaling over 500 MW in capacity.
One way ConEdison supports DER projects is through the free offering of ConnectDER, a device that uses the electric meter socket as a point of interconnection for solar power. The utility said this can allow solar customers to avoid the cost of upgrading a circuit breaker panel, a common step in making older New York homes solar-ready. It also provides the utility with greater access to solar production data, allowing for a more accurate system forecasting.
Con Edison issued Green Bonds in 2020 and 2021, generating approximately $2.375 billion of proceeds. They said these proceeds were primarily used to support ConEdison’s 5 million smart meter deployments and other energy efficiency projects.
$125 million in funding was provided to customers to implement energy-saving HVAC, lighting, building management systems, and other equipment. The energy savings upgrades last year led to over 575,000 mWh in reductions, the equivalent of powering over 35,000 homes for a year.
EVs and Storage
ConEdison’s PowerReady program has more than $310 million in investment by 2025 to incentivize the connection of thousands of new EV charging stations. The utility said it will enable deployment of more than 21,000 level 2 plugs and 525 DC fast chargers. ConEdison is also collaborating with the NYC Department of Transportation for the installation of another 120 curbside level 2 chargers in a pilot program.
Energy storage is another arena the utility is beginning to operate in, with ConEdison deploying 4.8 MW so far this year through their Non-Wires Alternatives (NWS) program. NWS has another 11.9 MW of storage planned through summer 2023, a number that lags the utility’s massive investments in generation and transmission.
Climate and Resiliency
ConEdison released a 36-month study that evaluated present-day infrastructure for NYC and Westchester county, creating design specifications and procedures under a range of potential climate futures. The plan focuses on the specific threats of sea level rise, coastal storm surge, inland flooding from intense rainfall, hurricane-strength winds, and extreme heat.
The study estimates a need for between $1.8 billion to as much as $ 5.2 billion by 2050 to protect electric, gas and stream delivery systems against these impacts.