In June, Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp. filed its Distributed System Implementation Plan (DSIP) with state regulators. The filing provides an update on several clean energy initiatives already underway including: Grid modernization, solar integration, electric vehicle adoption and energy efficiency programs.
The DSIP is a report submitted by each New York investor-owned utility every two years to the State Public Service Commission (PSC). DSIPs are intended to be a thorough self-assessment addressing each utility’s system while identifying changes that can be made to effectuate goals and objectives established by the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) and New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV).
The CLCPA and REV are New York State laws and initiatives aimed at transitioning the energy industry by enhancing efficiency, promoting renewable energy, encouraging wider deployment of distributed energy resources and providing customers with advanced energy management tools and products.
“New York has established nation-leading goals in the transition to cleaner energy and Central Hudson is proud to support this endeavor,” said Charles A. Freni, President and C.E.O. of Central Hudson. “Our Distributed System Implementation Plan not only shows what we’re doing to help meet these goals, but also details our continued initiatives for an efficient, affordable, safe and reliable energy system.”
Energy efficiency is the most cost-effective way to reduce carbon emissions. Central Hudson’s 2020 DSIP emphasizes the role of energy efficiency programs that reduce carbon emissions and help customers manage their energy use. The utility has committed an additional $43.2 million to support 75 million kilowatt-hours of energy savings, or the equivalent annual electric use of 10,000 homes, through heat pump electrification. Heat pump technologies provide efficient heating and cooling for residences and businesses, with emissions savings as compared to heating with oil and propane. Through program rebates that fund one third to one half of typical installations, Central Hudson aims to incentivize approximately 12,000 heat pump installations by 2025.
Central Hudson is also replacing aging natural gas infrastructure to improve efficiency, safety and reduce ongoing maintenance costs. While heating with natural gas is an economical and environmentally beneficial alternative to oil and propane, replacing pipelines in some specific areas can be challenging or impractical. As an alternative to direct replacement, a Non-Pipes Alternative (“NPA”) initiative is underway to displace the need for this type of traditional gas infrastructure investment. Central Hudson has identified several locations throughout its service territory where it is feasible and cost-effective to retire sections of older gas lines. This program requires affected residents to completely convert to electric appliances, such as heat pumps, electric cooking and heat pump water heaters.
The continued modernization of Central Hudson’s electric infrastructure, in alignment with state objectives to provide safe and reliable service, enhance system efficiency and create customer value, remains a top priority. Central Hudson has continued its effort implementing several large scale transformational projects designed to improve the intelligence of its system including the installation of a Distribution Management System (DMS), increased levels of Distribution Automation (DA), and an enterprise Network Strategy communication system that allows field devices to communicate with operators through an Energy Management System (EMS). Included is the development of a new Primary Controls Center to oversee the electric system, and an overhaul of the customer information system software to integrate these new technologies.
The state-of-the-art equipment and systems being deployed will improve the efficiency, durability and reliability of the energy delivery system. Devices will automatically re-route power during storm outages to reduce electric service interruptions, improve system efficiency by maintaining optimum voltage levels and provide real-time information on the state of the local electric system. This technology is also necessary and critical to integrating the growth and expansion of clean, distributed resources such as solar and battery storage.
Distributed Energy Resources (DER)
Central Hudson has continued to process and enable the interconnection of Distributed Energy Resources (DER), the majority of which are solar photovoltaic (PV). Applications for larger solar farms and also Energy Storage Systems (ESS) are on the rise.
Solar installations within the utility’s service area are among the highest in New York on a per-capita basis, with nearly 9,370 systems installed by residents, businesses and developers with 129 megawatts of total solar capacity, and offsetting more than 5,600 tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year.
Electric Vehicle (EV) Initiatives
Central Hudson supports New York State’s goals of increasing EV adoption to reduce operating costs and vehicle emissions, the largest source of greenhouse gasses in the state. Central Hudson’s current focus is on utility infrastructure to enable charging station planning and deployment. Expansion of advocacy efforts include an “EV Summit” or similar annual events, increased outreach to local counties and municipalities and proposing a transportation electrification program.
Central Hudson continues to plan for investments that will enable a cleaner and more efficient energy system serving the Mid-Hudson Valley while maintaining service reliability and safety. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the scope and timing of these plans may be adjusted during the economic recovery,
To learn more about Central Hudson’s energy efficiency programs, tips on saving energy and more, log onto www.SavingsCentral.com; for more on the benefits electric vehicles, cost and emissions savings, tax incentives, New York State rebates and more, visit www.CentralHudson.com/ElectricVehicles; and to learn of Central Hudson’s environmental initiatives, go to www.CentralHudson.com and click on “My Energy.”
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