Using cordova-lib as a node module there is no way to install local plugins. It returns a 404 error from https://registry.npmjs.org/.
I've tried using the option "plugin_search_path" at the creation of the project and with "searchpath" when installing the plugin.
From the cli looks like there is some issue as well. Using the argument "searchpath" and plugin-name@* doesn't work but plugin-name@x works.
Update: I got it working, but it was necessary to use "searchpath" when installing the platforms AND the plugins. I don't see a reason to use "searchpath" with the installation of the platforms so I guess the ticket should be open.