Quick Take: A few months after Illinois' governor tried to veto smart grid legislation in his state (and was overridden), New York Governor Andrew Cuomo called for a major grid overhaul. In his State of the State address, he called for a "master plan" to set up an "electricity highway" to transport power from Quebec and Western New York to urban areas. - By Jesse Berst
"We have an excess of generation capacity and tremendous wind power potential in upstate Western New York and north of the border in Quebec. We have tremendous energy needs downstate," Cuomo was quoted as saying in the Watertown Daily Times earlier this week.
New York has an aging electricity infrastructure hampering upstate generation facilities. And undoubtedly, state officials and residents recall the massive 2003 blackout that knocked out power throughout most of the state.
Legislators generally praised the governor's master plan and transmission improvements for the state, although some resistance might be expected from the electrical workers union, which does not look kindly on bringing in power from Canada.
The comments did not come from out of the blue. In August, the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) announced plans for a $74 million smart grid initiative, supported with a $37 million DOE Smart Grid Investment Grant. During that announcement, the NYISO said it was beginning construction of a 64,000-square foot, $35.5 million power control center to replace its decades old existing facility. The two projects are expected to maintain reliability of the state's bulk power system and to enhance "economically efficient" wholesale markets. NYISO manages the state's bulk and wholesale electricity markets.
And later in the month, the state's Public Service Commission issued a policy statement that included the recommendation that utilities look at using carrier networks for smart grid initiatives.
Jesse Berst is the founder and chief analyst of Smart Grid News.com. He consults to smart grid companies seeking market entry advice and M&A advisory. A frequent keynoter at industry events in the US and abroad, he also serves on the Advisory Council of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's Energy & Environment directorate.
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