Governor Cuomo announces next phase of $40m microgrid competition

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the next phase of the $40m NY Prize microgrid competition which seeks to modernize New York State’s electric grid, help communities reduce costs, and promote clean energy.

The next round of funding will provide $8 million in awards for engineering designs and business plans for community microgrids to ensure local power networks can operate independently during emergencies or outages. This phase was first announced by the Governor during his State of the State address in January 2016.

“This competition will help make communities more resilient as well as bring New York one step closer in its goal toward achieving 50 percent renewable energy by 2030,” Governor Cuomo said. “By creating strong local power networks, we can help modernize our energy grid while providing clean, reliable power to New Yorkers for years to come.”

Microgrids are an important component of Governor Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) strategy as they make the electric grid more resilient and reliable, add jobs and stimulate economic development, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and expand customer choice and control. By integrating local renewable energy into the power system, microgrids will help meet the Governor’s goal of achieving 50 percent of electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

New York State Chairman of Energy and Finance Richard Kauffman said, “Community microgrids will reduce costs and add more clean energy technologies like solar, wind and batteries into the electric grid. NY Prize is an essential component of Governor Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision strategy to modernize our energy infrastructure and provide New Yorkers with greater opportunity to choose how they power their communities for greater reliability, affordability and a cleaner environment.”

The NY Prize engineering design and business plan component will award up to $1 million to each of the eight winners. The deadline for proposals is October 13, 2016. For more information, visit: www.nyserda.ny.gov/rfp3044.

Local governments, community organizations, non-profit entities and for-profit companies can apply for the awards. Applicants do not have to have received feasibility study awards previously from NY Prize to win. However, all applicants must provide a completed benefit-cost analysis model and comparable feasibility analysis for their proposed microgrid.

Projects that are not chosen to receive engineering design and business plan funding will be connected to resources at NYSERDA, the New York Power Authority (NYPA), their local distribution utility and private sector companies to help them advance their clean energy agenda.

In February 2015, Governor Andrew Cuomo launched NY Prize to support the development of community microgrids. Last year, NY Prize received 147 community microgrid applications from communities across the State to conduct feasibility studies and awarded $100,000 to each of 83 proposals.

NYSERDA President and CEO John B. Rhodes said, “NY Prize encourages communities to act locally to ensure a cleaner and continuous energy supply in the event of extreme weather and to help secure their energy future. This program is an essential component of Governor Cuomo’s REV strategy and will help make community energy systems stronger and more resilient.”

NYSERDA Director of NY Prize and Strategic Advisor for Innovation Micah Kotch said, “Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, communities across the state now have access to meaningful data on the costs and benefits of building local microgrids to provide clean, reliable power in the event of emergencies, and many have already made significant progress in identifying world-class partners to help design and build these critical systems. The state looks forward to continuing our work with communities, their partnering utilities, and innovative companies to advance local power and create models for others to replicate.”