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Volume Control with Halcyon

There are many challenges with energy transition information today. Verity is one: is the data that you have collected correct, and from a definitive source? Validity is another: is the data that you are seeking the right data for your strategic or analytical purposes? Variance is yet another: how does the information you have now differ from what you collected in the past? Each of these is a significant challenge in its own right, worth solving with technology. 

But there is another challenge overlaid upon all others: Volume. Regulatory bodies and public institutions crank out hundreds or thousands of documents a day, and strategy, development, and finance professionals are likely monitoring dozens if not hundreds of discrete information sources in order to inform their decisions. Information is missed not just because its existing public indexing might be confusing or antique - it is also missed as a function of volume. 

That is why Halcyon has been developing push notifications for state public utility and public service commissions which send links to newly-posted public information directly to users. This is what we use to stay informed, and which we can now use to inform others. For instance, a 650 megawatt battery energy storage project under development on Staten Island just received its Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) from the State of New York Public Service Commission. 

Once the document was pushed to us, we quickly discerned: 

  • The project is called Hecate Grid Swiftsure, developed by Hecate Energy, a US-based renewable power and energy storage developer
  • The project will be built on a 12.66 acre industrially zoned parcel, with up to 650 megawatts of lithium-ion battery storage capacity constructed in “self-contained all-weather cabinets approximately eight feet tall and 12 feet wide”
  • Total cost is estimated at $300 million, and Hecate Energy closed $100 million of project debt for the asset in January 2023 
  • The project will operate ‘on a merchant basis’ without a long-term offtake agreement, and will participate in the competitive power market run by the New York Independent System Operator (ISO)
  • New York State has not only granted the CPCN, it has also “granted a lightened ratemaking regulatory regime because it is a merchant project” 

This information is published by New York State - so where else can you find it easily? The short answer is: you cannot. As of June 25 – a full five days post decision – the developer’s website has not been updated to reflect the certificate of public convenience and necessity, and its press release feed does not have any project updates. The most recent local press coverage (discussing the developer’s statements at a Staten Island Economic Development Corporation sustainability forum) was over four months ago in February. The most recent trade press was published in October 2023

The closest that an interested party could get to the information above is the Public Service Commission of New York. The web page for its June session includes an agenda and video of its proceedings, but as of yet, no transcript. The closest we can find to an easily accessible mention is this list of consent items on the agenda, which mentions the Swiftsure project, but contains none of the information found in the order. 

Unearthing, and delivering, a key regulatory milestone such as this one is worthwhile in and of itself. But for Halcyon, it is the start of an inquiry, not its end. Once a document like this is within Halcyon’s platform, there are many other things to be done with it.  

One option would be to explore the regulatory justification for the project being granted its lightened regulatory regime. Another battery energy storage system developer active in New York State would be interested to know how this particular project gained this status.

Another option would be to compare this project to others in the state’s approval and interconnection queue in terms of development timelines, or assumed capital cost, or financing secured.  

Yet another option would be to use this project’s approval to consider the implications for the competitive power market in New York State. The developer says that the project can store enough energy to power 500,000 homes, which is more homes than are on Staten Island itself.  The state is also expecting an energy shortage on peak demand days starting next year, which substantial energy storage assets could alleviate. 

Information is only as good as how quickly one can act on it. Whether dealing with Verity, Validity, Variance, Volume, or all of the above, we believe that technology can help humans discover and analyze information faster so they can spend more time deciding what to do with it and less time finding it in the first place.

Comments or questions? We’d love to hear from you -, or find us on LinkedIn and Twitter.