Energy Roundtable: Gil Quiniones
President and CEO, New York Power Authority
Q: What is the state’s ReCharge NY program and what are its accomplishments so far?
GQ: ReCharge NY provides low-cost power in exchange for retaining or creating jobs. It has been a tremendous success. Since the program went into effect in 2012, it has been linked to commitments for nearly 394,000 jobs and major capital investments by more than 700 enterprises receiving the power. NYPA’s mission is to power the economic growth and competitiveness of the state by providing customers with affordable power that is both clean and reliable. ReCharge NY is a great example of that.
Q: What role does NYPA play in Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision initiative?
GQ: At the core of REV is clean-energy innovation that brings in new investments and improves consumer choice while also protecting the environment. To that end, we’re showing our customers how they can lower their power costs and reduce their carbon footprint by using non-centralized power generation. We’re also playing a significant role in Cuomo’s push to bring about more local energy grids, known as microgrids, throughout New York. Clean, renewable energy has long been a NYPA priority. More than 70 percent of the electricity we generate comes from non-polluting hydropower. Another example is K-Solar, a new program we run with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to provide schools with the tools and expertise to bring solar energy into their facilities. Already, 30 percent of the state’s schools are signed up.
Q: What else is going on at NYPA?
GQ: NYPA has developed a five-year strategic plan that spells out our vision for how we meet the needs of cus-tomers, upgrade our resources and manage our assets in an energy-driven economy. The latter includes high-voltage transmission lines. We own about one-third of the ones in New York. Some of these assets date back to the 1950s and need replacing. We’re in the midst of a $726 million initiative to modernize and strengthen them. In ad-dition, we’ve taken steps to implement an agreement that will provide $115 million in additional benefits to the communities that host our hydroelectric plant in the North Country, a region badly in need of economic develop-ment. We’re also spearheading the governor’s Five Cities Energy Plans, which could save Albany, Buffalo, Roch-ester, Syracuse and Yonkers up to $400 million a year in energy costs.