Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Renewable Energy Reporting Sparks Privacy Concerns in New York

By William Opalka

Market participants in New York are concerned that their proprietary information might not be adequately protected as NYISO plans to bring the RTO’s reporting system for renewable energy generation into compliance with state law.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), which procures clean energy, was required by a 2012 law to develop the Generating Attribute Tracking System to ensure compliance with the state’s renewable portfolio standard.

Generators’ representatives raised concerns Wednesday when the NYISO Business Issues Committee discussed a proposed change in the ISO’s code of conduct that states the information would be confidential and that market participants will be notified of any requests for confidential data or any decision to disclose it.

The discussion came as New York Assemblyman James Brennan is petitioning the Public Service Commission to force disclosure of bidding information from power generators that they say is proprietary and threatens to disrupt the market if not protected. The PSC and the secretary of the state’s Department of Public Service last year dismissed a similar request under the state’s Freedom of Information Law. (See NYPSC Chair Zibelman Acknowledges Costs Concerns.)

Market participants fear that if the proprietary information from the traditional generators is disclosed, by either the PSC or by the courts following any legal action that the assemblyman may initiate, GATS information would be released as well.

“There’s a lot of concern about the release of information that everybody agrees is confidential,” said Howard Fromer, who represents PSEG Long Island.

NYISO would provide data on megawatts produced and consumed and on import and export transactions. No financial data on settlements and revenue would be included.

No trading is available in the self-contained New York renewable energy market, which officials said Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants to change. Renewable energy certificates (RECs) are traded in the neighboring jurisdictions of ISO-NE and PJM.

NYISO is negotiating an agreement with NYSERDA’s vendor, APX, which will keep data confidential except for identified purposes, NYISO said. APX runs several REC registries, including those in Michigan, North Carolina and New England.

Peter Keane, NYSERDA’s deputy general counsel, said that since the New York portfolio standard was set in 2004, only one request for private information has been made. That involved a dispute over lease payments between a property owner and the owner of wind turbines at the owner’s site. The dispute was resolved before a decision had to be made on the release of the information.

The proposed code of conduct change moves to the ISO’s Management Committee at the end of the month. GATS is expected to be publicly available in March.

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