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NYSERDA, NYSEG and RG&E Announce Future Grid Challenge Project Awards

March 31, 2022
Up to US$3 million now available for round two pilot projects that seek to maximize integration of renewable resources into transmission system.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), New York State Electric and Gas (NYSEG) and Rochester Gas & Electric (RG&E) have announced that two projects in the Southern Tier have received awards through the first round of the Future Grid Challenge to help forecast and assess the impact of increasing electrification on the electric grid.

Specifically, the projects will assess the impacts of increased building electrification, electric vehicle charging, heat pump use, and the integration of distributed solar. NYSERDA also announced that up to US$3 million is being made available in the second round for pilot projects that demonstrate sensing technology maximizing the integration of renewable resources into the existing energy transmission system.

These efforts support New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (Climate Act) goal to achieve 70% renewable electricity by 2030.

“The Future Grid Challenge awards will advance innovative technology to better understand the impact of integrating clean distributed energy resources into the electric grid. The state has made grid resiliency and stability a priority as we continue to address the impacts of climate change, and this program will help us build the grid of the future by predicting how power will flow to the transmission system as more renewable sources are deployed across the state.”, said Doreen M. Harris, president and CEO, NYSERDA.

“As the subsidiaries of the leading clean energy company in the United States, NYSEG and RG&E are committed to a clean and connected future and support the state’s ambitious clean energy goals. We were the first in the state to commit to structuring our natural gas planning with the goal of achieving a net-zero increase in usage and have focused our efforts on educating customers about the benefits of electrification. We look forward to continued collaboration with Governor Hochul and NYSERDA to make New York’s clean energy vision a reality across the state.”, said Carl A. Taylor, president and CEO, NYSEG and RG&E.

Round 1 Awards

The first round of the Future Grid Challenge sought to gain a detailed understanding of the net impact of increasing low carbon technologies, including electric vehicles (EVs) and heat pumps, while using energy generated from solar panels on electricity networks. The awarded projects will partner with Avangrid and its subsidiaries, NYSEG and RG&E, to develop technical solutions that forecast and assess system impacts of new electric loads and distributed energy resources (DER) in parts of the Southern Tier. The selected projects are:

  • Siemens PTI – Siemens PTI, in partnership with Streetlights Data and Cornell University, will receive $741,000 for a demonstration project hosted by the City of Ithaca to forecast scenarios for community adoption of electric vehicle charging, building electrification, and distributed solar generation and assess related electricity demands. Ithaca is expected to rapidly accelerate deployment of these technologies due to its commitment to achieving community-wide carbon neutrality by 2030 with an interim goal to meet the electricity needs of government operations with 100% renewable electricity by 2025.
  • ProsumerGrid – ProsumerGrid will receive US$ 1.3 million for a demonstration project to develop locational and temporal models of solar, electric vehicles that are charging from on-site solar versus the electric grid, and heat pump adoption in Binghamton, delivering tools that can analyze equipment loading and optimize electric system planning for this key market in Avangrid’s service territory. 

These projects will be the first demonstrations of their kind, addressing the specific technical and operational challenges of applying the technology in Avangrid’s service territories. NYSERDA’s Smart Grid program, which includes the Future Grid Challenge, seeks to further research and development and provide funding for innovative solutions like these, which support the advancement of a smart, modernized electric grid, remove barriers and enable the utility investments necessary for full deployment at scale of advanced technologies for the power grid. Demonstrations in cities like Ithaca and Binghamton access a representative customer base and distribution system infrastructure that is broadly applicable and scalable to other cities and municipalities throughout New York State.

Round 2 Funding

The announcement also made funding available under Round Two of the Future Grid Challenge that will support pilot projects for transmission line sensors with predictive capabilities in the Rochester, Buffalo, Ithaca, and Binghamton areas. NYSERDA and Avangrid’s subsidiaries, NYSEG & RG&E, seek to collaborate with solution providers to pilot advanced transmission line rating and monitoring solutions within the RG&E and NYSEG service territories.

These regions include the areas surrounding Rochester, Buffalo, Ithaca, and Binghamton. This challenge addresses a high priority recommendation contained in a Department of Public Service order released in Jan 2022 for deployment of advanced transmission and distribution technologies for improved transmission utilization. 

Solutions that track power line capacity with the integration of renewable power sources will give system operators tools to monitor in real time the condition of electric power transmission lines. Various methods for monitoring using sensing of power current, weather conditions, and other factors have been demonstrated previously but not deployed at scale in New York. 

NYSERDA is seeking the most cost-effective and scalable solutions that can be demonstrated on active transmission lines. Such first-of-a-kind demonstrations within a service territory are necessary to address specific, localized technical challenges and optimize designs, allowing utilities to invest in widescale deployment of advanced grid technologies throughout the state. Successful deployment at scale has the potential to maximize the amount of power that can safely flow through the existing transmission system, reducing grid congestion without the need to build additional transmission capacity and allowing faster integration of renewable energy resources.

Proposals  for Round Two funding are due by 3:00 p.m. on June 22, 2022. For additional details and associated documents, visit NYSERDA’s website. 

Administered by NYSERDA, the Future Grid Challenge offers funding to grid technology companies and research institutions that address challenges ranging from the need for greater real-time system data to incorporating smart technologies and energy storage into power grid planning and operations. Each specific challenge is developed in partnership with the Joint Utilities of New York members Con Edison, Central Hudson Gas & Electric, National Grid, New York State Electric and Gas, Rochester Gas & Electric, and Orange & Rockland to accommodate renewable energy sources and understanding their impact on the transmission and distribution systems. Together, these utilities provide electric service to over 13 million households, businesses, and government facilities across the State.

The Future Grid Challenge is part of the Clean Energy Fund (CEF) Grid Modernization Program, which is providing a total of US$ 110 million through 2026 to help modernize New York's electric grid and combat climate change. Under this program, since 2016, NYSERDA’s Smart Grid program has awarded approximately US$ 55 million under 97 contracts to grid technology companies and research organizations for projects including low-cost, high-accuracy grid sensors, modeling and simulation tools, and advanced engineering solutions for more effective integration of renewable energy resources. Learn more on NYSERDA's website.

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