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Executives from the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) and New York state's electric utilities were joined by officials from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) yesterday to highlight the benefits of a statewide $75 million smart grid initiative, which the DOE supported with a Smart Grid Investment Grant of more than $37 million.

The smart grid initiative aims to improve the efficiency of New York's bulk grid, which consists of hundreds of generating units and thousands of miles of high-voltage transmission lines. The NYISO says completion of the smart grid projects will allow it to better fulfill its core mission of maintaining reliability of the state's bulk power system and operating economically efficient wholesale markets.

In addition to the NYISO - which oversees the state’s bulk transmission grid - other utilities and transmission owners participating in the smart grid initiative include Con Edison; National Grid; Orange and Rockland; Rochester Gas and Electric; Central Hudson Gas & Electric; New York State Electric & Gas; the New York Power Authority; and the Long Island Power Authority.

The DOE provided smart grid grants to independent system operators, transmission companies and other utilities across the U.S. to install more than 800 networked phasor measurement units (PMUs) to help the country avoid future disturbances like the 2003 Northeast regional blackout.

The smart grid technology being implemented as part of this grant will modernize the electric grid by adding PMUs for measuring and reporting system conditions and providing enhanced voltage stability through the installation of capacitor banks in key areas. As the grant recipient and administrator for the project, the NYISO worked with the PSC and utilities to deploy this equipment in their respective operating regions of the state.

“Electricity is the lifeblood of our state’s economy, and the transmission grid is its circulatory system,” said Stephen G. Whitley, the NYISO’s president and CEO. “These smart grid investments will enhance the efficient flow of power and promote a robust, reliable electric system that will support the Empire State’s economic growth for decades to come.”

Garry Brown, chairman of the New York State PSC, said, “As the state regulator, the  PSC wants to ensure that the potential investments required for the smart grid will enhance the reliability of our electric transmission and distribution systems, maximize New York’s economic competitiveness and continue to maintain just and reasonable rates.”

The capacitor banks being installed at 234 locations around the state are designed to improve the efficiency of the bulk transmission system by reducing the amount of electricity that is lost when carried over long distances, thus reducing electricity costs in New York by approximately $7.6 million per year, according to the NYISO.

Meanwhile, the data provided by the 39 PMUs installed as part of a statewide network will improve grid operators’ ability to detect irregularities, predict problems and take corrective action to maintain reliability of electric service to New York state customers. The NYISO says the technology will relay system conditions at a rate of 60 times per second - 360 times faster than previously available.

The NYISO’s PMU network will eventually connect with PMU networks in New England, the mid-Atlantic, the Midwest and Ontario, Canada, to create broader situational awareness of grid conditions throughout the eastern U.S. and Canada.



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