New York Power Authority to invest $250M in electric grid for better access to renewables

Published on December 14, 2018 by Dave Kovaleski

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The New York Power Authority (NYPA) will invest $250 million to upgrade the electric grid to give residents greater access to renewable energy resources, such as wind and solar power.

The $250 million investment will add up to 150 megawatts (MW) of grid flexibility projects between now and 2015, NYPA officials said. It will help the state achieve its clean energy goals laid out in the Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision strategy that sets a goal of having 50 percent of the state’s electricity come from renewable sources by 2030.

“This significant investment will help reduce barriers for energy projects and increase access to renewable energy resources,” Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said. “We’re committed to advancing our aggressive clean energy goals, and this nation-leading initiative will continue New York’s efforts to help combat climate change and ensure a cleaner and greener environment.”

NYPA will invite New York State’s utilities and 51 municipal and rural cooperative electric systems to conduct “test-and-learn demonstrations” to determine the tools that could be used to provide services to the grid. NYPA will also be looking for partners in the public and private sector for its first set of projects.

“Our primary intent is to use the experiences gained from test-and-learn projects to provide value to customers,” Gil Quiniones, NYPA president and CEO, said. “At the same time, we can demonstrate to regulators and market participants the ways in which these flexibility tools increase the efficiency of the grid and inform the process of creating mechanisms that enable private markets to invest in them at scale.”

Many of the projects will focus on energy storage, which is essential to ensure that renewable energy resources are available when the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing.

Up to 30 percent of the $250 million will be allocated into three primary demonstration programs — energy infrastructure; distributed energy resources; and renewable generation.

“NYPA’s investment represents another significant contribution in the State’s overall investment to build a thriving energy storage industry here in New York,” Alicia Barton, president and CEO, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, said. “In order to meet Governor Cuomo’s ambitious energy storage target, public-private partnerships will play a critical role in ensuring the development of this evolving technology can provide the greatest benefit to both consumers and our electric grid.”

NYPA has also launched a $250 million, seven-year program called Evolve NY to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles by expanding fast-charging infrastructure on major traffic corridors and in urban hubs throughout the state.

“Since NYPA owns and operates a third of the state’s high voltage electricity grid, these investments and improvements in the Energy Highway are a welcome strategy for improving the grid through the better use of energy storage and demand management in support of our growing zero-emission resources,” Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee Chairman Joseph Griffo said.