New York Utility Seeks Bids for Non-Wires Alternatives to Avert Building $11.8M Substation

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Rochester Gas and Electric has issued a solicitation for non-wires alternatives to avert construction of an $11.8 million substation.

The New York utility seeks distributed energy resources to reduce the peak load on transformer banks at its Station 43 substation.

To maintain reliability, the utility needs the resources from 2019-2025. The first-year requires at a minimum 1.53 MW to avoid overload and 6.22 MW for contingency – that amount necessary to maintain a long term emergency rating for an N-1 contingency. This rises to a minimum of 2.84 MW to avoid overload and 7.53 MW for contingency by 2025.

RG&E says it will consider proposals for distributed generation (including combined heat and power), demand response, energy efficiency, energy storage or other resources that are able to meet the reliability need.

The projects must be new – no facilities will be considered that are already in service.

The utility is seeking non-fossil fuel proposals, with the exception of projects that use natural gas or propane.

Any distributed generation resource must demonstrate to RG&E that it can respond to automated generation control signals provided by the utility.

Bids are due October 14, and the utility expects to have a short list of potential winners by March 17, 2017. The schedule calls for completing contract negotiations Nov. 24, 2017 and filing the plan with the New York Public Service Commission by Dec. 22, 2017. The winning project would go into service Jan. 1, 2019.

RG&E will evaluate the non-wires alterantives based on their cost and their ability to alleviate reliability problems and reduce load-shed risk.

The utility also may take into account a range of other criteria, such as environmental and economic impact (jobs created), ability to compete in New York markets, credit-worthiness, developer qualifications, project viability, technical reliability, and adherence to RG&E’s non-price terms.

Contracts are contingent upon approval of the New York PSC.

The non-wires alternative solicitation is a product of New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision, a radical change in energy policy that encourages the market to move away from centralized generation and toward creation of a distributed energy grid.

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The solicitation can be found on RG&E’s website. The utility is a subsidiary of Avangrid, an affiliate of Iberdrola.

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About Elisa Wood

Elisa Wood is the chief editor of She has been writing about energy for more than three decades for top industry publications. Her work also has been picked up by CNN, the New York Times, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal Online and the Washington Post.