Con Edison and the State University of New York at Albany (UAlbany) will place 17 weather-monitoring stations at company properties to gather data that will help the company better understand climate trends.
The New York City Micronet project will help Con Edison understand how the local climate is changing. It will also provide information on warming trends within the city. The information from the sensors will help the company perform a more detailed analysis than previously possible.
The company's conclusions will help guide the investments it makes to protect its energy-delivery systems from severe weather events.
"Climate change makes smart infrastructure planning and design essential," said Charles Viemeister, Con Edison's project manager. "We'll use data from the Micronet to gain additional insight into the local short-term and longer-term impacts of climate change. We are always looking for technologies that can help us maintain the resilient, reliable service our customers need."
Six of the monitoring stations will be on the roofs of Con Edison buildings and 11 will be at ground level. These stations will monitor real-time temperature, pressure, wind speeds and direction, precipitation, and other weather variables. One device will be on a dock off West 59th Street and monitor temperatures in the Hudson River.
The tallest station will be 30 ft and placed at a property in the Fresh Kills area of Staten Island. The stations produce no noise and will blend in with the other Con Edison equipment on each property.
The stations will send the data to the NYS Mesonet, infrastructure at the university. Con Edison will be able to view and download the data, which will be available to the public.
The Mesonet consists of 126 weather stations and is the largest early-warning, weather-detection network in the nation. The Mesonet stations are in every county in the state.
"This partnership with Con Edison is the latest example of the NYS Mesonet providing a service to make our state more resilient to weather extremes and better inform weather risk-management decisions," said Chris Thorncroft, director of the NYS Mesonet, along with UAlbany's Atmospheric Sciences Research Center and Weather and Climate Analytics Center of Excellence. "UAlbany has access to the largest concentration of atmospheric, climate, and environmental researchers in New York. We continue to create smart business solutions to empower industry partners statewide."
The partners plan to have the stations up by the end of the year. Con Edison is investing US$3 million in the project. That includes a US$1.6 million contract with the university.
Con Edison has been fortifying its systems against severe weather. Following Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the company spent US$1 billion over four years to harden its electric, gas, and steam infrastructure.
Last December, Con Edison completed a 36-month study into the impact climate change could have on the company's systems. The report estimated the company might need to invest between US$1.8 billion and US$5.2 billion by 2050 on targeted programs to protect its systems.