Improvements Expected for New York Small Wind Power

For those of you interested in renewable energy interconnection, the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) reported on expected changes to the way small wind power systems are net-metered in New York state. The wording is technical and suggests an improved situation for small wind in the state.

According to IREC, the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) issued an order modifying and approving utility tariffs related to the modification of the state’s Standard Interconnection Requirements (SIR) to support net-metered wind-energy systems. Utilities filed the tariffs as a result of legislation enacted in 2004 allowing net metering for residential wind turbines up to 25 kilowatts (kW) and farm-based wind turbines up to 125 kW. In reviewing the utilities’ tariffs, the PSC considered the accuracy of standard meters measuring net-metered systems by running in reverse, and the implementation of net-metering requirements at a location where a customer installs a hybrid facility. Although the PSC determined that the utilities filings generally correctly implement the 2004 state law, the commission added that the utilities “took divergent approaches to wind net metering under demand service classifications, raising issues as to the statutory underpinnings of each approach.” The commission noted that a number of components included by utilities in their proposed SIR and tariff provisions require modification. The PSC accepted a proposal by Niagara Mohawk and NYSEG/RG&E to eliminate the SIR provisions on the potential inaccuracy of meters running in reverse that prevent the use of that metering data in billing disputes. The commission rejected proposals by the two utilities to continue imposing data restrictions on new net-metering installations. In their individual tariff filings, utilities also proposed minor revisions to the SIR glossary and application process, SIR metering provisions and various other SIR provisions. Most of these proposed revisions, deemed necessary by the PSC to implement the 2004 net-metering statute, were accepted. The commission required individual utilities to make a handful of specific revisions to their proposed tariffs. The 2004 net-metering law does not include provisions for hybrid systems. However, Niagara Mohawk made a proposal to allow net metering for residential solar and wind generators installed at the same location. Under terms of Niagara Mohawk’s proposal, if both generators are sized 10 kW or less, the utility would credit any net excess generation (NEG) to the next month’s bill. If, however, a wind generator of between 10 kW and 25 kW were installed, NEG would be credited at avoided cost. The commission accepted the proposal on an interim basis, noting that the proposal is incomplete because (1) it does not address interconnection costs and (2) it does not address other hybrid configurations, although the proposal implies other types of hybrid configurations are potentially feasible. The commission ordered the utilities to file revised tariffs; the revised tariffs were to take effect September 30, 2005.
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