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Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, D-N.Y., recently announced that $3.3 million has been awarded to seven research teams to develop smart grid technologies that add resiliency and efficiency to New York State's electric grid.

"As we continue to witness the impacts of extreme weather, it is more important than ever to invest in making our energy infrastructure stronger and smarter," said Cuomo, who later added, "By investing in these seven smart grids, we are further readying the state for the new reality of severe weather and ensuring that the work we do today will mean fewer power outages and more deliberate energy consumption in the future."

The projects were awarded support from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority's (NYSERDA) Electric Power Transmission and Distribution Smart Grid Program. According to NYSERDA, the projects include the following:

Brookhaven National Laboratory, Long Island ($250,000) - Using radar in real-time response for restoration of electric utility systems.

Using a computer model, Brookhaven will join with Electrical Distribution Design, Orange and Rockland Utility and Central Hudson Gas & Electric to create a program that can enhance storm model predictions and the expected responses through the use of radar storm data.

Clarkson University, Potsdam ($381,000)
- Design of a resilient underground microgrid.

NYSERDA is partnering with Clarkson University, National Grid, General Electric, SUNY Potsdam and other local businesses to plan and design a large microgrid system to generate electricity for a number of entities in the Village of Potsdam. The power system would supply electricity to Clarkson and SUNY Potsdam, along with Canton-Potsdam Hospital and National Grid's Potsdam Service Center. NYSERDA says the region has been particularly susceptible to power outages due to winter storms and flooding, and the underground system would provide a localized source of power that would be more energy-efficient and resilient.

ClearGrid Innovations Inc., New York City ($100,000)
- Using computer vision to analyze pictures of electric distribution problems.

Working with Con Edison, ClearGrid Innovations seeks to create a system of computer algorithms to recognize potential problems on the state electrical grid to improve response time. These include problems related to trees near lines, damage to poles and other infrastructure problems. The program will use 3-D imagery to create an algorithm to allow a quick comparison of normal and damaged lines. NYSERDA says that by using smart phone photos sent in by witnesses of damage, the utility will be able to determine where immediate attention is needed, reducing delays and unnecessary visits for false alarms.

Con Edison, New York City ($2 million) - Demonstrating GridLink, a non-synchronous microgrid solution.

Con Edison will partner with Pareto Energy and GE to investigate the use of Pareto's GridLink technology to connect the Kings Plaza Shopping Mall in Brooklyn to Con Edison's electrical networks for the purpose of selling excess power into the distribution grid and providing a variety of support services. The mall, which is already set up to function as a place of refuge during emergencies, could also provide power to other places of refuge in the area.

Cornell University, Ithaca ($227,000)
- Advanced microgrid integration with distributed energy resources.

Cornell University will study the potential of several improvements to an existing campus microgrid. Sophisticated modeling will be used to explore ways to improve campus heating, cooling and electric generation by integrating smart building controls and adding on-site renewable energy sources and energy storage. The system would be an integral part of Cornell's Climate Action Plan, which calls for university operations to be "climate neutral" by 2050.

Lockheed Martin Mission Systems Training, Owego ($300,000)
- Integrated aerial weather damage assessment system.

Lockheed Martin of Owego seeks to develop and demonstrate a computer technology that combines aerial data with an analytics system to immediately locate power outages or line damage after a major storm. The technology would allow utilities to accurately assess damage, distribute resources to the right place and resume normal operations quickly and efficiently. If demonstrated successfully in New York, this program could be expanded to include other utility-based applications. The project will be tested in New York State Electric and Gas Co.’s territory in Brewster.

Rochester Institute of Technology ($78,000)
- Microgrid cooperation for improving economic and environmental cost and grid resilience.

Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) seeks to improve energy grid flexibility by increasing the allowable "microgrid density." RIT would develop controls for microgrids to effectively allow the cooperation between utilities and microgrids. For instance, it would take into account all power generated from distributed generation, energy storage, utilities and other sources without any power quality issues to customers, according to NYSERDA.


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