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.
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