Con Edison sustainability report highlights 3 GW of renewables deployments


In conjunction with Earth Day week, New York utility Con Edison filed its annual Sustainability Report, which provides an update on progress toward attaining a milestone of delivering 100% clean energy by 2040.

The report highlights the New York City metropolitan utility’s Clean Energy Businesses investment of $400 million in renewables projects in 2022. As of December 31, the utility operated a total of 3.07 GW of solar and wind capacity assets.

With targets for distributed solar, energy storage and zero emissions vehicles, Con Edison utilities continue to work with state and federal policy makers and stakeholders to remove barriers to distributed generation (DG) interconnection.

In mid-2020, Con Edison and its Orange & Rockland County, N.Y. utilities published a five-year Distributed System Implementation Plan that serves as an Integrated Planning, Information Sharing and Market Services resource for residents and various stakeholders. The Implementation Plan is designed to encourage the stakeholder engagement process, and Con Edison expects to update the 2020 document in report due out in June.

Solar + EV adoption

The shift to electric vehicles is accelerating in New York and will play a critical role in the state’s integrated plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Con Edison’s PowerReady incentive program is among the largest of its kind in the U.S., offering utility support for new EV charging infrastructure. Just two years after its establishment, PowerReady has already reportedly supported the deployment of more than 2,600 EV chargepoints, with a goal of 19,000 chargepoints by 2025, and 400,000 by 2035.

Distributed solar is another market that is growing rapidly in New York City. Con Edison’s metropolitan customers, plus Westchester, Orange and Rockland counties have installed more than 60,000 solar systems to date, totaling 700 MW of capacity, adding new clean generation capacity. About 52, 000 distributed generation systems have been installed in Con Edison’s metropolitan territory, while more than 10,000 systems have been deployed in its Orange and Rockland county utilities’ service territory, the company said.

To complement New York’s growing distributed energy resources, Con Edison has installed smart meters across nearly its entire customer base. Smart meters allow customers to track their energy usage in near real time, while giving Con Edison deeper insight into its electric network, improving system efficiency and reducing the impact of service outages.

The author of this pv magazine USA report can confirm Con Edison has lived up to its distributed energy roadmap, having a smart meter installed into his apartment building in the borough of Queens just before the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020. He can also confirm the accessibility to procure community solar to offset his energy consumption via Con Edison from a rooftop warehouse solar generating facility in Long Island City, in the western terminus of the Queens borough.

Con Edison’s cumulative utility solar installations, between its main utility (blue) and Orange & Rockland Utilities (red).

Image: Con Edison

Heat pumps

While residents and businesses continue to use natural gas and heating oil for heat and cooking throughout the year, Con Edison expects its deliveries of natural gas to decline significantly in the years ahead, as demand for electricity rises with the adoption of EVs and heat pumps.

The utility is supporting New York’s energy transition away from fossil fuel systems. The company has incentivized the installation of heat pumps and other clean heat technologies in more than 24,000 buildings, with a goal of electrifying 150,000 buildings by 2030.

Energy storage

Con Edison’s two main utility groups have a combined energy storage target of 1.5 GW deployed by 2025 and 6 GW by 2030, in line with the state of New York’s Energy Storage roadmap filed in December 2022.

With energy storage the utility anticipates storing energy produced by up and downstate wind and solar resources, which will allow for increased reliance on these clean but intermittent sources of electricity. Various storage assets will participate in NYISO’s wholesale market, the utility said.

Storage connected to distribution end points also provides opportunities to defer infrastructure build, such as non-wire solutions, enhance local reliability, support the deployment of EV charging, and help commercial and residential customers manage their bills.

Through 2022, Con Edison interconnected a total of 446 DG customer energy storage systems, totaling 24.6 MW of capacity, while its Orange and Rockland county utilities interconnected 403 projects with 19.1 MW of capacity.

BQDM storage RFP

Under the utility’s Non-Wire Solutions program, more than 4 MW of utility-scale energy storage systems were deployed through late 2022, with additional storage systems under contract for commercial operation in 2023 and 2024.

In 2022, Con Edison also announced incentives for customer-sited energy storage systems that provide demand relief in the Brooklyn-Queens Demand Management (BQDM) program area. The BQDM program is seeking project applications for up to 15 MW of grid-connected or load-following energy storage systems that will be in operation by summer 2026.

Con Edison has $69 billion of total assets under management and today traded for a $34 billion market capitalization. In March, Con Edison closed the divestment of its renewable energy division, Con Edison Clean Energy Businesses, to German utility RWE AG in a $6.8 billion transaction.

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