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FERC Slams New York With Higher Renewable Energy Prices

New Yorkers may have to pay more for electricity from renewable sources after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commissions issued a series of four orders that call for providers of wind, solar, and energy storage—all subsidized—to meet the price floor in the state’s capacity market, the regulator said in a news release.

According to FERC, the orders will protect competition in the New York Independent System Operator’s capacity market “by improving the buyer-side market power mitigation rules to send accurate price signals to markets and to ensure adequate supplies for consumers.”

Reuters reports, however, that the move could make it harder for the environmentally ambitious state to hit its targets for renewable energy. The state has plans to get 70 percent of its electricity from renewables sources by 2030 and 100 percent by 2040.

According to environmentalists, the FERC orders will effectively support fossil fuels in their competition with wind and solar, by forcing the latter to pay more in the capacity market.

According to power plant operators, on the other hands, the generous subsidies for wind and solar affect them negatively by reducing, Reuters writes, what they receive in capacity and energy markets.

“Competitive electricity markets, which were originally designed to provide reliable service at the least cost, are now at an inflection point,” said the president of the New York Independent System Operator, Rich Dewey. “The wholesale markets must now accommodate state policies; not conflict with them.”

These ambitious goals have put the state’s government at odds with the utility sector. Bans on new gas pipelines led to National Grid announcing that it will stop connecting new customers for lack of capacity to bring in the gas needed for the power plants last year.

In response, Governor Andrew Cuomo accused the company of either over-relying on a single gas pipeline to supply the necessary additional fuel for its power plants to respond to growing energy demand, or it “deliberately defrauded the people of the state by not developing or pursuing existing supply options to force approval and reliance on a private pipeline to further their business interests at the cost of the consumer." 

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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