Community Choice Aggregation for New York City

New York City Mayor’s Office of Sustainability
Project Complete

The New York City Mayor’s Office of Sustainability engaged Synapse to assess the feasibility of implementing a local community choice aggregation (CCA) program. Synapse performed an in-depth study of the local context as well as the policy landscape for CCA programs across the U.S. and in New York State. In partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, we developed three CCA pathways for detailed scenario modeling:

  1. Traditional Pathway: a structure that is typical of CCA programs that purchase bulk renewable energy for customers while attempting to maintain affordability
  2. High Ambition Pathway: a program design that pursues aggressive environmental and community impacts through bulk purchase of new local renewables and value-add services, such as demand response
  3. Low-Income Community Solar Pathway: a novel design that would unlock distributed community solar projects and take advantage of state incentives to provide energy savings to low-income participants

The pathway designs were devised based on interviews with national experts on CCA programs and careful consideration of CCA literature, state rules, and NYC decarbonization goals. Synapse quantified the environmental, health, and consumer cost impacts—including the cost of renewable attributes, administrative fees, and other program offerings—for each of the three CCA pathways. Our model forecasted renewable energy production in both the state and NYC through the year 2035 and quantified state and local emissions of greenhouse gases and criteria pollutants, effects on electricity rates, and electricity bill impacts of CCA offerings compared to the local electric utility’s default service. Synapse evaluated the benefits and costs for NYC relative to a reference case in which the city does not adopt a future CCA program. This comparative approach provides a lens for New York City Council into the incremental impact of various CCA policy options.

Synapse prepared a series of conclusions and recommendations to help guide the City Council in its careful consideration of the merits and risks of enacting a CCA program. We identified key considerations for program design, including:

  • Regulatory barriers and financial risks to New York City
  • CCA program scale, including customers served and geographic scope
  • Effects on equity and energy affordability
  • Methods to guarantee savings to low-income participants
  • Technical potential for local renewable energy
  • Grid hosting capacity for distributed energy resources
  • Customer engagement and opportunities to provide value-add services
  • Consumer protections for participants