Research centre to modernise New York electricity grid
April 1, 2015
The New York Power Authority (NYPA) and Suny Polytechnic Institute have signed an agreement to create a facility devoted to energy technology innovation and the rapid deployment of smart-grid technology to modernise New York’s electric grid. The facility, to be called the Advanced Grid Innovation Laboratory for Energy (Agile), aims to simulate, develop, test and deploy a more integrated grid.
“By building a world-class research and development facility that is focused on improving New York’s energy infrastructure, we are making a major investment in our state’s future,” said New York governor Andrew Cuomo. “This facility will cement New York’s position at the cutting-edge of clean energy technology, and create a new generation of high-paying, energy-related tech jobs in the process. I am pleased to see the project moving forward as we continue working to build a stronger and cleaner state for all New Yorkers.”
Agile will provide a setting for NYPA to pursue its own grid-related R&D and foster research of interest to transmission system operators, utilities, software and hardware manufacturers, government agencies, and universities.
The facility addresses one of the key recommendations identified by Cuomo’s Energy Highway Task Force, to use public-private partnerships to help modernise and enhance New York’s aging energy infrastructure and expedite the commercial development of new technologies. Agile is also consistent with the governor’s reforming the energy vision plan to revolutionise electric transmission and generation infrastructure while developing a clean, reliable and affordable energy system for New York.
“The electric utility system is undergoing a revolutionary change and this facility will place New York squarely at the vanguard of this transformation,” said Richard Kauffman, chairman of energy and finance in the governor’s office. “Research and development of smart-grid technology will ensure that sophisticated energy solutions are leveraged to harden electric infrastructure against physical and cyber threats, improve the efficient operation of the grid, and accelerate the use of renewable energy resources as we focus on building a cleaner and more affordable energy infrastructure.”
In the past, energy research labs have traditionally focused on accommodating the needs of large central power plants delivering electricity over long transmission lines to local utilities. Now, due to advances in technology and cost reductions in small-scale, clean generation, there is a need to reimagine the power system to meet the changing needs of an environmentally sustainable, energy-driven economy.
“The entire power system is changing at a fast pace, driven by technology and customer expectations,” said Gil Quiniones, NYPA president and CEO. “Agile will represent a quantum leap forward in realising the full value of central generation and transmission and distributed energy resources. This initiative will demonstrate how ongoing collaboration between academia, government and the private sectors can bring about innovative solutions to complex challenges.”
Newer electrical system technologies, such as advanced transmission system monitoring sensors, increasing electric vehicle stations and microgrids, need to be tested in an advanced laboratory setting before they can be deployed. By simulating the impact of expected changes to the grid, researchers can better understand the impacts and design system improvements to accommodate these emerging technologies and improve real-time operations. These simulations can lower grid improvement costs and enable a better response to conditions that could threaten power reliability and quality.
“Governor Cuomo continues to position New York state at the forefront of technology innovation and commercialisation,” said Alain Kaloyeros, Suny Polytechnic president. “Smart grid development is a critical component of the rising technology and energy demands of the 21st century. Suny Poly is excited to partner with NYPA on Agile, where our combined expertise in clean and renewable energy, as well as public-private partnerships, will undoubtedly lead to innovative power solutions for future generations, while providing New Yorkers with great employment opportunities."
Analytical tools will be developed so utilities can readily convert data from grid sensors to respond rapidly to challenges or threats to the grid. Research is also intended to aid utilities in making their transmission and generation operations more efficient and to help integrate renewable energy resources into the power grid.