Microgrids and Local Generation are the Future: NYPA

April 2, 2014
The New York Power Authority, the nation’s largest state-owned utility, says it will focus on microgrids and local generation as part of a five-year strategic plan. Microgrids and distributed generation are the “hallmarks” of a modernized grid, NYPA says.

The New York Power Authority, the nation’s largest state owned electric utility, has laid out a new strategy to create a “reimagined” electric grid that focuses on microgrids and local generation.

NYPA outlined the idea in its recently released  “Strategic Vision 2014-2019.”

“What you will see in the pages of our strategic vision is more focus on our customers and how to serve their needs in the increasingly dynamic energy marketplace,” said Gil Quiniones, NYPA president and CEO.

NYPA envisions microgrids serving individual communities. The authority already is working with customers to encourage development of microgrids and distributed generation,  which will be “hallmarks of the new power system,” the plan said.

Known for its large hydroelectric resource, NYPA sees itself as well positioned to lead a grid modernization. The non-profit energy corporation is one of New York’s leading power suppliers. It operates 16 power plants and more than 1,400 circuit-miles of transmission.

What is a microgrid? Definitions continue to vary; some include thermal energy and others leave it as optional. NYPA describes a microgrid as “a group of interconnected loads and distributed energy resources with clearly defined electrical boundaries that acts as a single, controllable entity with respect to the grid. It can connect and disconnect from the grid, as needed, to enable it to operate in both grid-connected or island mode.”

The authority says it will work on strengthening its relationship with customers and private partners and offer a range of tailored energy products. This will require:

  • Detailed research into future customer needs
  • Development of a revised catalogue of services and products.
  • Demonstration and testing of microgrids, combined heat and power and other services

NYPA added that it recognizes risks inherent in taking a more visionary approach but believes “the scale of the opportunity warrants re-imagining our business.”

“With these new opportunities for customers, service providers are entering the market, sometimes in competition with local utilities in serving customers’ power needs,” the plan said. “Utilities that seek customer insights to understand and respond to their customers’ needs will be more effective in delivering value.”

The full NYPA plan is here.

Interested in microgrids? Join our new LinkedIn group, Microgrid Knowledge.

About the Author

Elisa Wood | Editor-in-Chief

Elisa Wood is an award-winning writer and editor who specializes in the energy industry. She is chief editor and co-founder of Microgrid Knowledge and serves as co-host of the publication’s popular conference series. She also co-founded RealEnergyWriters.com, where she continues to lead a team of energy writers who produce content for energy companies and advocacy organizations.

She has been writing about energy for more than two decades and is published widely. Her work can be found in prominent energy business journals as well as mainstream publications. She has been quoted by NPR, the Wall Street Journal and other notable media outlets.

“For an especially readable voice in the industry, the most consistent interpreter across these years has been the energy journalist Elisa Wood, whose Microgrid Knowledge (and conference) has aggregated more stories better than any other feed of its time,” wrote Malcolm McCullough, in the book, Downtime on the Microgrid, published by MIT Press in 2020.

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