Smart Grid

October 25, 2012

New York is in a Smart Grid State of Mind

This week, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today received the “Energy Highway Task Force's Blueprint,” a comprehensive plan that will add up to 3,200 megawatts (MW) of additional electric generation and transmission capacity and clean power generation statewide through up to $5.7 billion in private investments.

The 3,200 megawatts (MW) outlined in this blueprint would provide enough energy to power approximately 3.2 million homes.

Among the components of the plan is an investment of $250 million to develop smart grid technologies and “[to] create the most advanced energy management control center in the nation.” In addition, the state intends to initiate field studies of offshore wind development potential as part of a drive to develop distributed, renewable energy programs, to invest in new transmission capacity, and to retrofit existing high-emission plants.

The Energy Highway initiative, introduced in Governor Cuomo’s  2012 State of the State address (see video), is a centerpiece of the Governor's Power NY agenda, implemented to ensure that “New York's energy grid is the most advanced in the nation and promotes increased business investment in the state,” as Cuomo envisioned.

"As we work to grow New York's economy, we need reliable, affordable, and clean power to leverage significant private sector investments, to allow businesses to grow, and to create jobs," Governor Cuomo said. "The energy highway will ensure that businesses and residential consumers across New York State [will] have access to the affordable power they need to plan for not just today, but also for the future. An economy built to last requires a power infrastructure that gives businesses the confidence and security they need to hire new workers and plan for years to come, and this blueprint continues to position New York State as a national leader in clean energy production and investment."

The blueprint includes specific actions designed to add up to 3,200 MW in new generation and transmission, including plans to:

  • Invest $1 billion for 1,000 MW of new electric transmission capacity
  • Initiate $250 million in renewable energy projects, leveraging $425 million in private investment and creating 270 MW of new power
  • Retrofit and repower existing, inefficient, high- emission plants to create 750 MW of power, enabled by approximately $1.5 billion in investment
  • Generate 1,200 MW of additional capacity through approximately $1 billion in investment to help meet reliability needs to address retiring power plants across the state
  • Accelerate $1.3 billion of investment in existing transmission and distribution projects to enhance reliability, improve safety, reduce cost to customers and reduce emissions
  • Invest $250 million to develop smart grid technologies and create the most advanced energy management control center in the country
  • Initiate field studies of Atlantic Ocean offshore wind development potential

According to the Governor’s office, the interagency Energy Highway Task Force will take steps to “begin swift implementation of the proposed actions.” These steps will significantly reduce the time required for development of energy infrastructure and include a first-of-its-kind solicitation of new transmission projects by the Department of Public Service.

The blueprint reaches into every corner of the state with both locally focused and statewide actions to provide system reliability and economic development benefits.

In Northern New York, strategic investments in transmission system upgrades will facilitate access for renewable energy projects to electricity markets.

Western New York will undergo an immediate review of the viability of repowering options for power plants that have announced retirement plans and could benefit from a new Community Support Plan, in the event that plants are closed.

In the Downstate Region, repowering, reducing transmission congestion, and offshore wind initiatives will help to green the power plant fleet supplying the highest energy demand area of the state.

Upgrades throughout the state will support regional job growth and economic development.

The Energy Highway Task Force created the blueprint after reviewing 130 responses provided by 85 entities – including investor-owned utilities, private developers and investors – to its Request for Information (RFI (News - Alert)), issued in April. Public comments submitted on the RFI responses were also considered in the development of the plan, as were publicly available reports and analyses.

In April, along with the issuance of the RFI, the task force convened two conferences – an Energy Highway Summit, at which power industry leaders explored the State's energy issues and challenges, and a Conference of RFI Respondents and Interested Parties.

Governor Cuomo has named Gil C. Quiniones, president and chief executive officer for the New York Power Authority, and Joseph Martens, commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, as cochairman of the task force. Joining them on the Task Force are Kenneth Adams, president, chief executive officer and commissioner of Empire State Development; Garry A. Brown, chairman of the New York State Public Service Commission; and Francis J. Murray, Jr., president and chief executive officer for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.

Edited by Braden Becker