The Draft Scoping Plan, Integration Analysis, New York Independent System Operator (NYISO), and the New York State Reliability Council all have noted that a new category of generating resources called Dispatchable Emissions-Free Resources (DEFR) is necessary to keep the lights on during periods of extended low wind and solar resource availability. The NYISO 2021-2040 System Resource Outlook states:
DEFRs that provide sustained on-demand power and system stability will be essential to meeting policy objectives while maintaining a reliable electric grid. While essential to the grid of the future, such DEFR technologies are not commercially viable today. DEFRs will require committed public and private investment in research and development efforts to identify the most efficient and cost-effective technologies with a view towards the development and eventual adoption of commercially viable resources. The development and construction lead times necessary for these technologies may extend beyond policy target dates.
In my opinion this requirement is the major reliability risk of the Climate Leadership & Community Protection Act (Climate Act) zero-emissions electric grid by 2040 target. DEFRs must be developed and deployed at scale well before 2040 to ensure reliability and meet climate mandates and are not commercially viable today. This page provides links to DEFR material.
Potential DEFR Technologies
I summarized key points of the paper Getting to 100%: Six strategies for the challenging last 10% that described six potential ways to deal with peak load intermittency which are all potential DEFR strategies.
I believe that the laws of physics are a fundamental challenge for any DEFR technology as documented in my comment on renewable energy systems and the second law of thermodynamics.
Long duration storage is one strategy but there are issues: The Energy Storage Conundrum
The Draft Scoping Plan placeholder strategy for DEFR is hydrogen but there are issues:
- Pragmatic Environmentalist of New York Hydrogen Economy Issues Page
- Hydrogen as an Alternative to Batteries
Climate Act DEFR
In their presentation to the Power Generation Advisory Panel on September 16, 2020 Energy and Environmental Economics (E3) included a slide titled Electricity Supply – Firm Capacity that explains the problem. Consistent with the above the slide states: “The need for dispatchable resources is most pronounced during winter periods of high demand for electrified heating and transportation and lower wind and solar output”. The slide goes on to say: “As the share of intermittent resources like wind and solar grows substantially, some studies suggest that complementing with firm, zero emission resources, such as bioenergy, synthesized fuels such as hydrogen, hydropower, carbon capture and sequestration, and nuclear generation could provide several benefits.
Draft Scoping Plan Appendix G: Integration Analysis Technical Supplement uses the term zero-carbon firm resource to describe DEFR. The document notes:
In Scenarios 1, 2, and 4, the “zero-carbon firm resource” represents a combination of existing and new combustion-based resources (i.e. combustion turbines and combined cycle gas turbines) that convert to utilizing hydrogen as a zero-carbon fuel. In Scenario 3, firm zero-carbon capacity represents a combustion-free resource, modeled as hydrogen fuel cells.
The latest analysis of DEFR requirements for the Climate Act as determined by the NYISO are in the 2021-2040 System & Resource Outlook that can be downloaded from NYISO. A datasheet summary of key takeaways of the Outlook report is also available.
Related Reliability Issues
I have written that the Climate Action Council has not confronted reliability issues raised by New York agencies responsible for keeping the lights on. The first post (New York Climate Act: Is Anyone Listening to the Experts?) described the NYISO 2021-2030 Comprehensive Reliability Plan (CRP) report (appendices) released late last year and the difficulties raised in the report are large. The second post (New York Climate Act: What the Experts are Saying Now) highlighted results shown in a draft presentation for the 2021-2040 System & Resource Outlook that all but admitted meeting the net-zero goals of the Climate Act are impossible on the mandated schedule. Recently I wrote about the “For discussion purposes only” draft of the 2021-2040 System & Resource Outlook report described in the previous article and the concerns raised. I compared the NYISO Resource Outlook and Draft Scoping Plan Generating Resource Projections and argued that they needed to be reconciled. At the October 25, 2022 Climate Action Council meeting (presentation and recording) Carl Mas described the differences between the NYISO resource projections and his Integration Analysis projections and I wrote about that here.
Pragmatic Environmentalist of New York Reliability-Related Comments on the Climate Act
This comment explains why an accurate and detailed evaluation of renewable energy resource availability is crucial to determine the generation and energy storage requirements of the future New York electrical system. I describe the history of blackouts in New York and specific lessons from Texas that must be incorporated into New York planning to prevent a similar problem in New York. I explain that in order to ensure electric system reliability for an energy system that depends on renewable generators and energy storage, the resources available during periods of low wind and solar energy production must be known.
This comment addresses the use of hydrogen in some form or other as the Draft Scoping Plan placeholder technology for the Zero-Carbon Firm Resource or Dispatchable Emissions-Free Resource (DEFR) generally accepted as a complementary requirement when intermittent resources like wind and solar make up a significant portion of the electric grid resource mix.
Caiazza Electric System Comments June 30, 2022
These comments address a few Draft Scoping Plan electric system issues. The ultimate problem is that the Climate Act presumed that converting the electric grid from its current reliance on fossil fuels to provide reliable electricity when needed most was just a matter of political will. The presentation addressed many of the comments included in this submittal.
The Integration Analysis and the Draft Scoping Plan zero-emissions electric grid transition plan depend on a long-duration, dispatchable, and emission-free resource that does not exist. This comment explains why there are reasons to believe that a commercially viable and affordable resource like this may never be developed.