Customer & Community
Energy Efficiency, Renewables & Distributed Energy
As part of our commitment to alternative forms of energy, including large-scale battery storage, CEBs invested $2.5 billion in renewable-resource projects in 16 states. Con Edison Development began operation of a 2-megawatt, 8-megawatt-hour battery storage system at one of its solar facilities in California. Renewable sources, such as solar and wind, produce energy when the sun is shining or the wind is blowing. That means the value of batteries to store power when it is produced, and deliver power when it is needed, is especially important to the electricity grid in terms of ensuring reliability and reducing peak demand.
Twenty four percent of electricity used by O&R customers was generated from renewable-energy resources. We continue to make our customers aware of energy-efficiency improvements that will help them save money on their bills and give them more control over their energy usage. We work regularly with customers and regulators to test new models for the distribution of energy.
Energy Efficiency & Demand Response
Customers who chose energy-saving HVAC, lighting, building management systems, and other equipment received $40.8 million in incentives from us in 2016. O&R customers purchased 649 six-packs of LED lights the Monday after Thanksgiving (a.k.a., Cyber Monday)—the highest single-day sales for a specific product since the O&R online store went live in January 2016.
Technology is giving households and businesses new ways to reduce their energy use, and we’re in the forefront in helping customers get more value for their money while protecting the environment. For example, upgrades made by customers last year through our energy efficiency programs reduced electrical usage by 160,200 megawatt hours and saved 266,500 dekatherms of gas—that’s equivalent to taking more than 23,000 cars off the road.
Meanwhile, our crews continue to lay the groundwork for the introduction of smart meters, installing nearly 200 access-point and relay devices on utility poles along our AMI network. Most meters will communicate first with a neighboring meter or relay device. Since the meters can talk to each other, a meter can pass on information from other meters. Data will be sent to an access point, connected to Con Edison or Orange & Rockland centralized data systems, allowing vital information to be reported quickly and minimizing the potential loss of data.
Con Edison, Inc. Utility Customer Cumulative Energy Savings (thousand MWh and MDt)
Con Edison continues to take a leading role in making distributed energy resources (DERs) available to customers. Our Brooklyn-Queens Demand Management project aligns very nicely with New York’s REV initiative. Instead of spending $1.2 billion to build a substation to serve Brooklyn and Queens, we issued an RFI that provided alternative forms of energy. We awarded contracts and procured smart thermostats, lighting controls, batteries, and other distributed energy resources to meet the demands of customers during the peak period of 4:00 p.m. to midnight while easing the burden on our substations.
Con Edison is warmed by the news that New York City residents and businesses are using the power of the sun to generate more than 110 megawatts of clean, renewable energy. That’s enough energy to power over 16,000 homes. At O&R, the number of solar projects increased for the 10th consecutive year—to 5,395 in 2016. O&R implemented a community net metering program, intended to allow customers who cannot install rooftop solar to participate.
For the past decade, CECONY and O&R along with Sustainable CUNY (at the City University of New York), government agencies, and other parties have encouraged residents and businesses to consider solar to reduce their energy bills and protect the environment. CECONY and O&R want clean energy, including solar, to be available to customers of all income levels, whether they live in a house or an apartment. We advocate policies that ensure funding for the kind of robust grid that makes solar energy possible.
We completed more than 12,500 solar installations in our service territory by the end of 2016. We make the interconnection quick and easy for customers who choose solar. For example, we don’t require an engineering review for systems under 25 kilowatts. We even installed solar panels on a roof of our headquarters building in Manhattan. The 200 panels generate 40 kilowatts of energy.
In 2018, we will begin making renewable energy available to low-income customers by placing solar panels on company roofs and grounds. The New York Public Service Commission says our innovative solar program “is filling a niche that hasn’t been fully served in the state.”
We are also a member of the Solar Progress Partnership, a group of six New York State energy companies and four leading solar companies. The partnership wants solar energy to continue to develop in a way that is fair to all customers and that provides sufficient funding for a reliable grid.
Cumulative Utility Customer MW Installation
Large Scale Battery Storage
This year Con Edison will be installing a novel 800 kilowatt-hour portable emergency generator using lithium batteries at a company facility for testing and evaluation. We have also developed two new utility-scale distributed battery storage projects this year totaling 8 megawatt hours. These projects will test new business models for economically deploying distributed storage on the system, either through a customer-sited, aggregated model or mobile battery trailer. The projects are expected to be in service in summer 2018 and January 2019, respectively. Each project will provide distribution relief and reduce network peak demand that may have otherwise been served by diesel mobile generators or peak-power generation facilities. Additionally, O&R is in the planning stages of a demonstration project that would support the deployment of large scale battery storage.
Con Edison has taken the lead in addressing concerns around battery safety working closely with the Fire Department of New York (FDNY), battery technology developers, and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) on a battery safety testing program. Con Edison and NYSERDA partnered on an effort to better characterize battery hazards and suppression agent performance through burn tests by an independent lab as well as tests by Con Edison at FDNY’s training facility. New response procedures and permitting requirements are under development as a result of this testing program. We will continue to work with the FDNY, battery technology vendors, and NYSERDA on this effort.