Updated May 22, 2020
Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) is Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s comprehensive energy strategy for New York. This post describes a component of the program – the Clean Energy Dashboard that summarizes results from the programs mandated by Cuomo’s energy program.
According to the Clean Energy Dashboard website, it is a “resource to provide you with a snapshot of program activity by electric and gas utilities and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA)”. It “aggregates and provides information on utilities’ and NYSERDA’s programs” and is updated quarterly. I spent a lot of time and had very little success trying to pick out the costs of REV so this is a promising development. In addition, the complete underlying dataset can be downloaded on Open NY.
There is a Users Guide for the dashboard that explains how the dashboard is laid out and how you can dial down within the system to extract specific information. In the remainder of this section I will explain provide more detail for outsiders to the New York energy system.
The dashboard consists of a top graphic with a bar chart and filters to control what is displayed. Below that there is a graph with the progress for the selected data. There is an option to access the data tables. When exercised you get data that can be downloaded and more detailed graphics. Finally note that there is a glossary of terms at the bottom of the dashboard.
There are three filters on the top graphic. Users can look at program activity for 13 metrics:
- Budget (Dollars)
- C02e Emission Reductions, Gross Annual (Metrie Tons)
- C02e Emission Reductions, Gross Lifetime (Metrie Tons)
- Electricity Peak Demand Reductions, Gross (MW) Electricity Savings, Gross Annual (MWh)
- Electricity Savings, Gross Lifetime (MWh)
- Fuel Savings, Gross Annual (MMBtu)
- Fuel Savings, Gross Lifetime (MMBtu)
- Participants (Count)
- Renewable Energy Capacity, Gross (MW)
- Renewable Energy Generation, Gross Annual (MWh)
- Renewable Energy Generation, Gross Lifetime (MWh)
- Total Energy Savings, Gross Annual (MMBtu equivalent)
- Total Energy Savings, Gross Lifetime (MMBtu equivalent)
These metrics suggest that we should be able to determine total costs and costs per emission reductions, electricity savings, fuel savings, renewable energy development and total energy savings.
The dashboard lets the user view data by program administrator and primary end-use sector in the second top-line filter of the top graphic. Program administrators are the nine regulated load-serving entities in New York State and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). “Load serving entities” is the current label for the original electric utility companies in New York and the energy service companies. In this context it only refers to the original electric and gas utility companies that are regulated by the Public Service Commission:
- Central Hudson
- Consolidated Edison
- National Grid (KEDLI) – formerly the Long Island Lighting Company
- National Grid (KEDNY) – formerly Brooklyn Union Gas
- National Grid (NiMo) – formerly Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation
- National Fuel Gas
- New York State Electric & Gas
- Orange & Rockland
- Rochester Gas & Electric
There are six primary end-use sectors:
I think this is self-explanatory.
On the right side of the top graphic are seven options to filter the data. Four are straight-forward and require no further explanation. The first option allows the user to filter by program administrator. The third option filters by primary end-use sector. The fourth one, fuel-type funding source, simply filters by electric or gas projects. The last simple one is the sixth filter that lists the program names. The remaining filters require a bit more explanation.
There are three portfolios to choose from in the second option:
- CEF – Clean Energy Fund
“The Clean Energy Fund (CEF), one of Reforming the Energy Vision’s (REV) three strategic pillars, is designed to deliver on New York State’s commitment to reduce ratepayer collections, drive economic development, and accelerate the use of clean energy and energy innovation. It will reshape the State’s energy efficiency, clean energy, and energy innovation programs.”
- EE Portfolio – Energy Efficiency Portfolio
“On June 23, 2008, the Public Service Commission established the New York Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (EEPS) proceeding. As part of a statewide program to reduce New Yorkers’ electricity usage 15% of forecast levels by the year 2015, with comparable results in natural gas conservation, the Commission established interim targets and funding through the year 2011. The State’s utilities were required to file energy efficiency programs, and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, as well as independent parties, were invited to submit energy efficiency program proposals for Commission approval. Since June 2009 the Commission has approved over 90 electric and gas energy efficiency programs, along with rules to guide implementation and measure results, through a series of orders.”
- EE Transition – Energy Efficiency Transition
“In its February 26, 2015 Order (REV Order), the Commission required each utility to submit an annual Distributed System Implementation Plan (DSIP), which will serve as the template for utilities to develop and articulate an integrated approach to planning, investment and operations. As required by the February REV Order, the DSIP will be a comprehensive filing, to include information related to all Distributed Energy Resources, including energy efficiency, demand response, distributed storage and distributed generation. In order to ensure continued energy efficiency efforts during the transition to more REV-aligned activities, the order also established explicit energy efficiency budgets and targets for 2016 and set forth an annual process whereby utilities will propose post-2016 energy efficiency budgets and targets for approval. As part of that process, the order directed the filing of Energy Efficiency Transition Implementation Plans (ETIPs), to address the energy efficiency efforts specifically associated with proposed budgets and targets.”
The fifth filter is for LMI or Market Rate. The glossary definition states “Low-to Moderate-Income (LMI), defined as households at or below 80% of State or Area Median Income; Market Rate, used when not LMI or for Residential/Multifamily households above 80% of State or Area Median Income.” I think this is included so that environmental justice parameters can be calculated.
The seventh filter is for Committed or Acquired savings. Committed energy savings are “considered committed when the funds associated with the measure are encumbered. This does not include acquired savings.” Encumbered funds are defines as “the current amount of funds that are tied to executed contracts, completed applications which have been determined to meet basic eligibility criteria but for which the program administrator does not have in hand an executed contract, and contracts awarded through competitive solicitations which are not yet executed.” Acquired energy savings are “generally considered acquired when both the measure is installed and currently operational, and the funds associated with the measure or project have been expended.”
The cost efficiency of CO2 reductions is an important parameter. After all the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act requires an 85% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050 from 1990 levels so knowing how effectively the state program investments are reducing CO2 is important. Table S-2 in the NYSERDA GHG emissions inventory states that 1990 emissions were 236.19 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent and that in 2016 emissions were down to 205.61. That means the state has to reduce its emissions another 170.18 million metric tons.
In order to determine how effectively the mandated programs that Cuomo’s energy vision requires we can filter data twice and calculate a cost per ton reduced. To get emission reductions, the Clean Energy Dashboard needs filters for C02e Emission Reductions, Gross Annual (Metric Tons) and acquired savings. The resulting bar chart of cumulative progress by quarter shows that to date the programs have reduced emissions by 3.1 million metric tons. I asked for the data download and downloaded a file that lists the quarterly CO2e emission reductions. Summing the total of the projects, the reduction to date is 3,057,131 tons.
To get the money spent to get those emission reductions, the Clean Energy Dashboard needs filters for Budget (dollars) and acquired savings. Remember that we are asking for the money spent when “both the measure is installed and currently operational, and the funds associated with the measure or project have been expended.” The resulting bar chart of cumulative progress by quarter shows that to date the programs have spent $1,051.3 million I asked for the data download and downloaded a file that lists the budget. Summing the total of the program administers in the final quarter the total spent to date is $1,051,359,837.
Dividing the funds spent by the CO2 reductions we can determine that the CO2 investment efficiency is $343.90 per ton of CO2 equivalent reduced. Given that the state has to reduce emissions another 170.18 million metric tons if we have to rely on these programs mandated by the State of New York then the cost to the state will be over $58 billion. The Social Cost of Carbon (SCC) is supposed to represent the future price impact to society of a ton of CO2 emitted today. This cost reduction efficiency is far in excess of the global social cost of carbon at a 3% discount rate of $50. Because the social cost of carbon is an estimate of the economic damages that would result from emitting one additional ton of greenhouse gas this means that New York State’s reduction programs are not effectively reducing CO2 emissions.
Update May 22, 2020: NYSERDA contacted me and pointed out that if the lifetime savings were used then the CO2 investment efficiency in the preceding paragraph is $30.50 which would be less than the Social Cost of Carbon. I should have noted the difference in the numbers due to annual versus lifetime savings. Normally when an agency provides annual and lifetime CO2 emissions reductions, I note that in order to account for future emission reductions against historical levels the annual reduction parameter is more appropriate. In other words, the annual reduction is comparable to annual 1990 emissions. The lifetime reduction is not an apples to apples comparison with New York’s annual 1990 baseline. I leave it to the reader to decide which is more appropriate.
There is a lot of information in the Dashboard data that I am sure many will find useful trying to figure out New York’s energy transformation attempt.