Consolidated Edison Inc. (ConEd) and 174 Power Global are set to move forward with the East River Energy Storage Project, a 100 MW battery storage system in New York City, after the state Public Service Commission (PSC) gave recent approval for the project. 

Irvine, CA-headquartered 174 Power Global, which specializes in renewable energy projects, has directed subsidiary East River ESS LLC to develop the battery system at the site of the former 885 MW natural gas- and oil-fired Charles Poletti Power Project in Astoria, in the western part of the city’s Queens borough. 

Through a seven-year contract between ConEd and 174 Power Global, the batteries will connect to a ConEd transmission substation, allowing ConEd to bid power from the batteries into New York State’s wholesale market. At the end of the contract, 174 Power Global will dispatch the batteries’ power to the state’s bulk power transmission system. 

Utility-scale battery storage may become a necessity as ConEd is under increasing pressure to include more renewables in its energy mix in New York. In addition, the PSC in December 2018 directed ConEd to procure and deploy 300 MW of qualified energy storage systems within the city by 2023. 

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In February 2020, Mayor Bill de Blasio issued a statement that the Big Apple must “say goodbye to fossil fuels” in “large building systems” by 2040. That has led ConEd,  the city’s largest utility, to consider “9,000 MW of offshore wind, 6,000 MW of solar, and 3,000 MW of storage,” said CEO Timothy Cawley last month. 

While the company’s owned generating capacity consists of 64.1% solar, 21.4% natural gas, 12% wind and 2.5% petroleum generation, ConEd’s energy mix for its New York customers is 51.1% natural gas, 37.5% nuclear, 7.4% hydropower, 1.1% oil, 1% wind, 0.3% coal, 0.2% solar and 1.3% other fuel sources. 

According to ConEd Customer Energy Solutions vice president Leonard Singh, “bulk storage will let us bring large amounts of renewable energy to our customers without compromising our industry-leading reliability, even as fossil fuel generators in New York City are shuttered into retirement.”

The East River Energy Storage Project will be owned by 174 Power Global, and is expected to come online for commercial operations by Jan.1, 2023. 

In addition to the East River project, ConEd put out two request for proposals (RFP) earlier this year for battery projects that can “contribute towards New York State’s goal of deploying more than 3 GW of energy storage by 2030.”

The utility’s first RFP asks for fire engineering services for its upcoming 7.5 MW Fox Hills energy storage project. The second RFP is for the 2 MW Ozone Park energy storage system, completed in 2019, and calls for maintenance information that will ensure the batteries endure a full lifecycle.