NYISO chief: FERC rules won’t kill clean energy

Source: BY KELSEY TAMBORRINO, Politico • Posted: Tuesday, March 3, 2020

The chief of the New York Independent System Operator, Rich Dewey, told POLITICO that FERC’s recent mitigation decisions decried by renewable developers will not impede New York’s clean energy progress in the near term, Pro’s Marie J. French reports. “A lot of the initial response and reaction that we saw reported … made it seem like these orders were going to be pretty detrimental to New York, specifically to the renewable industry and the climate change efforts,” Dewey said in an interview.

While renewable developers and advocates derided them as “wrongheaded” and “a new subsidy to the fossil fuel industry,” the orders still allow NYISO to exempt some new subsidized renewables in the downstate region from an obscure test that could limit their revenues and make it harder to achieve the state’s goal of reaching carbon free electricity by 2040. FERC also rejected an effort by fossil fuel generators to block revenues for upstate renewables and subsidized nuclear plants. “That was really a win for renewables in New York,” Dewey said. “The FERC really wants … our markets to co-exist with the clean energy programs in New York and they’re going to give us a chance to make that work.”

State policymakers are more alarmed . New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration initially declined to comment on the orders issued Feb. 20, but NYSERDA spokeswoman Kate Muller on Thursday criticized FERC in a statement. “[FERC’s] rule changes are an attempt to undermine New York’s nation-leading policies to combat climate change,” Muller said. “This decision will force customers to pay more to prop up expensive fossil fuel power plants while destroying our great state’s precious natural resources and elevating community and resident risks in the face of increasingly severe weather events.”