Con Edison, O&R Receive First Round of Funding Of Gov. Cuomo’s Future Grid Challenge Program

Real Estate In-Depth | July 2019

Alicia Barton, President and CEO, NYSERDA

ALBANY—Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced on July 11 the first round of funding for the $15-million Future Grid Challenge, a program to help solve technical challenges utilities face with energy transmission and distribution when integrating renewable energy resources into New York’s electric grid.

In this first round of funding, up to $6 million is available for projects that partner with Con Edison and Orange & Rockland utilities with up to $3 million available per utility challenge to support development of technical solutions. Proposals should focus on:

• Helping Con Ed advance Distributed Energy Resource (DER) monitoring, control, data analytics and advanced forecasting

• Assisting Orange and Rockland with improving smart inverter functionality to provide seamless integration of distributed resources, improve grid stability and reduce system losses

• Proposals are due by Oct. 9, 2019. The remaining funds will be made available through the second round of the program later in 2019 with new challenges and utilities identified and included.

To prepare for this important initiative, NYSERDA’s Smart Grid team has worked with the Joint Utilities of New York members Con Edison, Central Hudson Gas & Electric, National Grid, New York State Electric and Gas, Rochester Gas and Electric, and Orange & Rockland to identify transmission and distribution challenges that each utility faces. Together, these utilities provide electric service to more than 13 million households, businesses, and government facilities across New York State. Each specific challenge was developed in partnership with the utilities, and each utility will participate in the selection committee for their respective challenge. To be eligible for an award, proposals submitted must specifically address the unique challenges identified for the selected utilities.

Senator Kevin S. Parker, chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Telecommunications, said, “Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, New York has led the way to achieving clean and sustainable energy and preserving our natural resources for generations of New Yorkers to come. Today’s announcement and the state’s continued commitment will ensure New York continues to be on the forefront in the fight against climate change.”

Ben Brown, Orange & Rockland Project Manager – Smart Grid said, “O&R and NYSERDA have a long history of partnering on projects that have advanced the research and development of cutting-edge technologies that have brought the utility industry into the next generation of monitoring and control. The Future Grid Challenge is another example of this partnership. The results of this project will allow our utility, and the utility industry as a whole, to better understand smart inverter technology and the benefits that these inverters can bring to the distribution system.”

“Our participation in the Future Grid Challenge will yield innovative solutions to help us make it even easier and more beneficial for our customers to choose renewables,” said Matthew Ketschke, senior vice president, Customer Energy Solutions, for Con Edison. “This program is an example of the private and public sectors in New York State working together to build the modern grid that is essential to creating the clean energy future we want.”

Modernizing the grid supports the governor’s nation-leading mandate for 70% renewable electricity by 2030 and a carbon-free power grid by 2040 as included in the historic climate legislation that was just passed by the legislature—the New York State Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.

“New York is leading the fight against climate change and prioritizing more resiliency and reliability during extreme weather events,” Gov. Cuomo said. “These investments will add renewables such as wind and solar to create a grid of the future that serves the needs of communities across the state and drives us toward a clean, fully carbon-free power grid.”

Administered by the New York State Energy Research Development Authority (NYSERDA), the Future Grid Challenge will offer funding to grid technology companies and research institutions that will address challenges ranging from the need for greater real-time system data to incorporating smart technologies and energy storage into power grid planning and operations. This initiative will have two rounds with each round addressing different challenge areas.

Alicia Barton, president and CEO, NYSERDA said, “Deploying renewable energy such as solar, storage and wind at scale as we transition to 100% carbon-free electricity by 2040 requires continued investments in innovative grid modernization technologies like those supported under the Future Grid Challenge. Under Governor Cuomo, New York remains steadfast in its commitment to advancing clean energy solutions and this challenge will help identify forward-thinking approaches to some of the most critical energy challenges faced by interfacing and operating with the power grid.”

The Future Grid Challenge funding complements other NYSERDA smart grid funding announced previously, including the $30 million announced to support projects that develop or improve electric grid products or technologies, as well as the $5 million made available to enhance and support the connection of renewable resources to the grid.