NY system operator launches $74m smart-grid initiative

NEW YORK - - The New York Independent System Operator NYISO has launched a $74-million smart-grid initiative supported in part by a Smart Grid Investment Grant from the US Department of Energy DOE.

The initiative involves the installation of capacitor banks and phasor measurement units PMUs on the bulk transmission system throughout the state.

According to the NYISO, the capacitor banks will improve the efficiency of the state’s bulk transmission system and save around $9 million per year by reducing the amount of electricity that is lost when carried over long distances on the bulk transmission system. The installation of PMUs and integration of the data provided will improve grid operators’ visualization capabilities and situational awareness.

Eventually, the NYISO’s aims to connect its PMU network with similar networks in New England, the mid-Atlantic, the Midwest and Ontario, Canada, to create a broader situational awareness throughout the Eastern Interconnection Planning Collaborative, a coalition of 24 transmission planning authorities in the eastern United States and Canada. The PMU initiative could help to avoid future disturbances like the 2003 Northeast regional blackout.

“Situational awareness plays a crucial role in improving the reliability and resiliency of the grid,” said Patricia Hoffman, assistant secretary for the DOE’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability.

“DOE funding of this NYISO project and others is allowing independent system operators, transmission companies and other utilities across the U.S. to install over 800 networked PMUs. As a result, system operators and utilities are getting more accurate and timely picture of the status of the grid, allowing them to respond more quickly and effectively when disruptions do occur.”

In addition to launching the smart-grid initiative, the NYISO has also begun building a new $35.5-million primary power control center next to its headquarters in Rensselaer. The 64,000-square-foot control center will serve as the primary operational nerve center for the non-profit NYISO, which oversees New York’s bulk electricity grid and wholesale electricity markets.

According to the NYISO, completion of the smart-grid and control center 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. For example, the new control facility is designed to meet 21st century grid reliability requirements through the use of control technologies and visual displays designed to improve the NYISO’s ability to receive, process and monitor changing conditions throughout the region.

“The project will help New York state achieve a number of key energy goals, including enabling the increased integration of renewable energy supplies, cultivating innovative energy storage technologies, addressing the growing complexity of modern electric grid operations and effectively implementing the broader regional markets initiative that will provide New York with approximately $190 million in annual savings,” said Stephen G. Whitley, the NYISO’s president and CEO.


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