Sandy's Aftermath Puts Micro-Grids in Perspective

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Herb Oringel for NWEAC

energyAfter Superstorm Sandy hit the northeast and left millions without power, and by default, heat, for nearly two weeks, it’s time for government to rethink the power grid infrastructure that was crippled by both nature and outdated technology. Together with the Pace Energy and Climate Center and Joule Assets Inc., NWEAC has applied for a grant to develop our thinking on so-called Micro-Grids which have the potential to enable efficient use of energy sources while serving smaller clusters of residents and businesses.

In addition to the technology, NWEAC wants to explore a business model that could make Micro-Grids a real option for region. Here is an excerpt of the plan:    
New York State stands at a crossroads in its electrical grid development. New technologies create enhanced customer opportunities for improved efficiency and reliability. Many of these opportunities specifically address small and medium end users at the “edge of the grid” and can unlock significant value for this market segment. However, this market segment is traditionally difficult to engage in smart grid solutions. Fostering a new market model to engage these end users would help advance State smart grid, efficiency, renewable, storage and economic development goals. Overcoming barriers to market engagement requires the development of business models and a legal/regulatory structure to facilitate this market segment capitalizing upon these new opportunities. We are pleased to propose a research project designed to complement NYSERDA’s Electric Power Transmission and Distribution (EPTD) Smart Grid Program activities by defining the key attributes of a new business model that can have an immediate impact upon New York State’s energy future.