The Impact of COVID-19 on New York Energy Compliance & Incentive Deadlines

David Energy

In our inaugural post on commercial energy management in the age of Covid, we analyzed data from selected commercial building customers in NYC and found significant reductions in energy consumption, prompting building managers to further reduce or shut down HVAC systems. As part of an ongoing review of the significant impacts COVID-19 is having on the commercial energy industry, this post provides updates on changes to existing regulatory, compliance, and incentive programs for commercial buildings and renewable developers in New York.

Name Authority Previous Requirement New Requirement Applies to
EPA Portfolio Manager Federal

Submit building for Energy Star certification when:

– Score is 75

– Have conducted a site visit

– Have 1 full year worth of data

Wait for EPA’s metric updates for submission if reporting period coincides with COVID-19 operational & occupancy changes + write description of changes Building Owners interested in certifying with Energy Star
Wholesale & Utility Demand Response Programs NYISO
NYPSC
ConEd
Deadlines for Summer 2020 enrollment were 3/31 & 4/30 Petitions are currently before the NYPSC to request extensions of enrollment periods Registered CSP and DR Providers
Commercial Building Owners
Standardized Interconnection Requirements NYS Rolling deadlines requiring developers to pay remaining 75% of interconnection costs All deadlines paused until earliest 10/1 (lifting of Emergency Order + 30 days) Generators & Developers
Local Law 84 NYC 5/1 deadline to submit benchmarking reports Deadline extended to 8/1 NYC Buildings larger than 25,000 sqft

 

CHANGES TO UPCOMING COMPLIANCE DEADLINES

Commercial buildings are experiencing significant changes to occupancy and energy consumption patterns as a result of state responses to Covid-19. Some have observed large reductions in energy consumption, while others have seen either no change or even usage increases (i.e. multifamily buildings, hospitals), leading federal and state regulators to delay or amend certain requirements.

Federal – EPA Portfolio Manager – Reporting Extended & Building Metric Updates

The EPA announced it will assess the potential impacts on ENERGY STAR scores and certification eligibility, and provided updated metrics by Fall 2020. Beginning in mid-May 2020, applications will be required to include a description of changes that took place in building operations as a result of COVID-19. EPA also removed the requirement to submit a building 120 days after the Period Ending Date, and applicants whose 12-month data coincides with a timeline of changed operations are advised to wait for certification until EPA provides further benchmarking guidance. Any EPA updates will also impact NYC Building Energy Efficiency Grades, which are determined by Energy Star scores. To learn more, click here.

Wholesale Utility – Economic Demand Response – Potential Changes to Market Structure & Enrollment Periods

Covid-19 is also having a profound impact on the calculations for wholesale and utility dynamic load management (DLM) summer programs. These demand response (DR) programs are designed – somewhat ironically – to help ‘flatten the curve’ of electricity consumption by compensating customers for reducing their load during peak summer usage periods. Typically, the DLM season starts in May, with enrollment deadlines in March and April. However, stay-at-home policies has led to fewer on-site staff, affecting the ability of commercial buildings to enroll in DR programs, and potentially the ability to respond to DR program dispatches. In response, the New York State Department of Public Service issued an order directing the following changes to utility-side programs (to learn more, click here):

  • Utilities must extend Commercial System Relief Program (CSRP) and the Distribution Load Relief Program (DLRP) deadlines to allow enrollment by June 1 for a July 1, 2020 start date.
  • Utilities cannot call a Test date before July 1, 2020 (unless otherwise warranted);
  • Utilities are directed to allow participants that have already enrolled to modify the amount of load relief enrolled in the DLM programs if such requests are made by June 1, 2020

NYC – Local Law 84 – Benchmarking Deadline Extension

On April 21st, 2020, NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) announced it would extend the May 1 deadline for Local Law 84: Benchmarking reporting, and would not issue violations for non-compliance as long as fully compliant reports are submitted by August 1, 2020. [On April 29, the NYC Sustainability Help Center emailed a confirmation that the Local Law 33 timelines remain in effect; energy efficiency building grades will still be assigned by October 1 and must be posted within 30 days of their issuance.]

NYS – Interconnection Payments – Payment Schedule Paused through Fall 2020

Effective April 6, 2020, the NYPSC suspended utility interconnection payment deadlines for new renewable projects (usually required in order to qualify for incentive programs). Specifically, the Order suspends the Standardized Interconnection Requirements (SIR) deadline requiring payment of the final 75% of estimated interconnection costs to the utility. The suspension will continue for the length of the Disaster Emergency + 30 days. To learn more, click here.

CHANGES TO RENEWABLE PROJECT INTERCONNECTION & SITING RULES

New York passed the “Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act” on April 3. The Act provides additional support for renewable projects and aims to expedite existing permitting and siting processes.

The NYS Renewable Office & Consolidated Permitting Requirements

A first-of-its-kind Office of Renewable Energy Siting within the Department of State will:

  • Establish uniform Energy Impact Statements (EIS) standards for large renewable projects;
  • Require agencies to act on completed applications within 1 year (6 months for certain C&I)
  • Set New Project Size Rules for Renewable Projects. All projects 25MW+ will be required to seek an permit through the new Siting Office, and projects currently in process or between 20-25MW can stay with Article 10 or opt-in

New Clean Energy Resources Development and Incentives Program

The program, administered by New York State Energy Research & Development Agency (NYSERDA), will seek to:

  • Advance new “Build-Ready” projects, prioritizing development of existing / abandoned commercial sites, brownfields, landfills, etc.
  • Begin pursuing site control and pre-construction development activities
  • Competitively auction the developed sites, and bundle them with contracts for renewable energy payments, to provide a fully de-risked package for private developers

Grid Planning and Energy Delivery Constraint Relief (Transmission)

NYS Agencies will develop a State Power Grid and Study Program to accelerate bulk & local transmission / distribution infrastructure for renewable energy:

  • Conduct a Study to identify cost-effective distribution, local & bulk electric system upgrades
  • Establish a distribution & local transmission system capital program for each utility in need of local upgrades
  • Apply a streamlined siting process of no more than 9 months from complete application for transmission infrastructure built within existing rights-of-way

David Energy Systems is an energy start-up, focusing its software-driven approach on aggregating flexible demand and leveraging that demand on an energy grid increasingly made up of intermittent and distributed power resources. David Energy has helped a diverse portfolio of clients secure these incentives, and we can help your team navigate these adjusted deadlines and requirements. Contact us at info@davidenergy.com or (914) 909 – 3940 for a complimentary, no-obligation consultation.

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