Cuomo’s energy plan changing NY’s electric grid
It wasn’t long ago that making sure the lights stayed on – and avoiding a major blackout – was the top priority at the New York State Independent System Operator in North Greenbush.
But with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 50 by 30 initiative that mandates that the state get half of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030, and the state’s massive overhaul of the way that utilities operate, the job at the NYISO has become so much more.
Bradley Jones, the CEO at the NYISO, relishes the challenge.
“The pace of change is driven by technology, and it’s driven by public policy,” Jones told the Times Union as he prepared to release the NYISO’s annual strategic plan on Thursday. “It (the plan) has been changing an incredible amount the last few years. It’s pretty extraordinary.”
Jones said the NYISO has been working with utilities and other groups to respond to what’s known as REV, or Reforming the Energy Vision, Cuomo’s plan to restructure the way that energy is sold in New York state and how utilities operate.
REV, which is still being put into place by the state Public Service Commission, will in theory allow consumers to sell any electricity they generate into the electric grid – just like power plants do today through the wholesale power markets that the NYISO operates.
The NYISO is helping to set up new wholesale markets that will also allow consumers to benefit as well.
Jones calls it the “animating” of the consumer market.
Just as pressing is making sure that the state’s high voltage electric grid can handle Cuomo’s 50 by 30 plan. The major issue is dealing with the massive amounts of wind and solar generation that will need to be added to the grid in order to reach that goal.
However, the wind doesn’t always blow, and the sun goes down every night in New York. But the NYISO still has to ensure that the lights stay on.
The NYISO and the Cuomo administration have moved to build or rebuild new high voltage transmission lines to help bring more renewable energy to downstate. Now it gets caught upstate in transmission bottlenecks.