Con Edison Proposing New ‘Smart’ Solutions for Gas Reliability, Environmental Benefits
Con Edison is proposing to invest in renewable natural gas and offer new incentives for customers who upgrade their heating equipment or install heat pumps to reduce natural gas usage. The company’s proposal comes at a time when the need for natural gas has grown rapidly in New York City and Westchester County.
“This program will help us maintain reliable service so that our customers can keep their homes and businesses warm and comfortable, while helping to support state and local energy goals,” said Marc Huestis, Con Edison’s senior vice president, Gas Operations. “However, these measures do not eliminate the need for a new natural gas pipeline to keep up with our region’s energy needs.”
Con Edison’s proposal to the New York State Department of Public Service includes measures to offset peak-day gas demand by 84,500 dekatherms, enough to avoid greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 5 million tons of carbon dioxide over the life of the program.
The measures – which were proposed by respondents to a Con Edison competitive solicitation - include:
- The construction of up to three renewable gas facilities that would turn food waste, sludge, yard and other waste into natural gas. These projects would reduce the need for conventional natural gas by up to 7,100 dekatherms on a peak winter day.
- Payments to encourage customers to invest in energy efficient heating equipment to replace older, less efficient equipment. These measures would reduce peak winter-day demand by up to 25,000 dekatherms.
- Payments that reduce upfront costs for customers who invest in heat pumps to electrify their heating systems. This program would reduce peak winter day demand by up to 12,400 dekatherms.
- The construction of two to five compressed natural gas (CNG) and liquefied natural gas (LNG) storage sites in Westchester County. The supply would reduce the need for conventional natural gas pipeline supplies by 40,000 dekatherms on peak winter days.
The company is seeking $305 million in funding for the program. The maximum increase in the gas bill when the program funds are fully spent around 2025 would be approximately 1.5 percent for an average residential or small business customer. For a typical residential heating customer, this would be about $2 per month. But that does not include savings and environmental benefits the company expects the program to produce for customers.
Renewable natural gas is produced without combustion and with little odor outside the facility. The process reduces emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas, which would otherwise occur if the food waste were put in a landfill.
The energy efficiency incentives build on programs the company already offers for upgrades by residential, business and multi-family customers. Con Edison will target some of the incentives toward low-income customers and government buildings.
The plan to work with customers to electrify their space heating is an important part of the proposal. The plan calls for installing ground-source heat pumps at up to 8,800 single-family homes in Westchester County and air-source heat pumps at up to 1,000 small and mid-sized multi-family buildings currently using fuel oil for heating in the Bronx and other areas of Con Edison’s service territory.
The company would also provide incentives for heat pumps at more than 1,000 small commercial and large residential facilities in the region. The company would target some of these efforts at buildings housing low-income tenants.
Con Edison is working with potential partners to identify possible locations for the renewable natural gas, CNG and LNG facilities.
The CNG and LNG storage plants would accept fuel transported by trucks. The fuel would be stored and flow into Con Edison’s gas distribution system on winter days when demand is high. The LNG would be stored in tanks. On cold winter days, the supply would be replenished with additional deliveries by truck.
Con Edison is a subsidiary of Consolidated Edison, Inc. [NYSE: ED], one of the nation’s largest investor-owned energy companies, with approximately $12 billion in annual revenues and $49 billion in assets. The utility delivers electricity, natural gas and steam to 3.4 million customers in New York City and Westchester County, N.Y. For financial, operations and customer service information, visit conEd.com. For energy efficiency information, visit coned.com/energyefficiency. Also, visit us on Twitter and Facebook.