Community Microgrids Coming To New York

The NY Prize competition is aimed to inspire New York communities to develop local power infrastructures.
Published: Mon 08 Sep 2014

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced NY Prize as a US$40 million competition to engage local communities, entrepreneurs, businesses and electric utilities to design and implement community-based microgrids.

Support for resiliency and clean energy

The goal is to support innovative resiliency and clean energy projects across New York. The competition will prioritize project replicability and transparency as well as designate feasibility and design requirements.

“Adjusting to the new reality of extreme weather means making our communities as resilient as possible – and that is especially important when it comes to our local electrical grids,” said Governor Cuomo. “This competition will encourage individuals and organizations across the state to come up with plans for protecting and strengthening their electrical system in the face of major storms. That will mean safer communities for New Yorkers.”

The NY Prize competition will launch in the fall with a state tour involving utility partners and state officials among others to engage communities to gain a better understanding of consumer needs, modernization of critical infrastructure, and new ways utilities will interact with their customers. Stops will include potential community energy project locations.

At least 10 microgrids covering areas of approximately 40,000 residents are expected to be funded.

NY Prize will be administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). Micah Kotch, director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship and executive director of the New York City Accelerator for a Clean and Resilient Economy (NYC ACRE) at New York University’s Polytechnic School of Engineering, has been named director of NYPrize, and will design and oversee the competition. John Saintcross, NYSERDA Renewable Portfolio program manager, will serve as Assistant Director.

A microgrid leader

Governor Cuomo has been at the forefront of pursuing grid resiliency and has made this a policy objective of the Reforming the Energy Vision plan, currently under way. [Engerati-Reforming New York's Energy Vision]

At last count the state had 75 microgrid deployments with 200MW of installed capacity.

Among the projects under way, last October US$20 million was made available to fund microgrids in Nassau and Suffolk counties on Long Island, as part of the recovery and rebuilding of infrastructure following Superstorm Sandy.

Other recent initiatives include awards of US$3.3 million in July and US$4.3 million in February for the development of smart grid, including microgrid, technologies that add resiliency and efficiency to the state's electric grid. [Engerati-NY Invests in Smart Grid Technologies]

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