Forces from two different directions are rearing a new age for the New York electric grid. First is the need for clean energy at affordable prices. Second is adapting advancements in technology that will help transform the energy industry and reshape the relationship between suppliers, consumers, and the entities in between.

Energy that is deemed too dirty is currently being eased out of the market by federal and state government action. For example, the Northeast states support renewable portfolio standards that, taken together, will soon require development of a huge amount of clean energy. Solar, wind and hydro are poised to be the energy future for the Northeast. However, to unlock their potential, New York’s New Energy Age will require more transmission cables to bring this clean power to market in an affordable way.

The increased use of high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission cables in New York over the last decade has demonstrated how transmission can expand the state’s access to affordable renewable resources while saving ratepayers millions of dollars. Transmission does so by functioning like an extension cord that injects clean energy into congested urban markets. Further making the case for transmission, this infrastructure is technically advanced, secured underground, and can be efficiently financed.

New York’s New Energy Age will also require better utilization of advances in technology. The aftermath of Superstorm Sandy revealed what industry experts have long known: utilities and their regulators have underinvested in the nation's electricity infrastructure, creating a grid that is less reliable and technologically developed than what New York requires to maintain a competitive, growing economy.

While the grid has suffered from underinvestment, the technology sector has undergone revolutions in cellular communications, microprocessor capability, and Internet connectivity. This technology revolution has enabled the development of microgrids. Most people think of microgrids as beacons of light during blackouts. Certainly, microgrids enable critical institutions like hospitals and schools to remain operational when the macrogrid goes down. However, at its core, the state-of-the-art technology embedded within microgrids allows these beacons of light to be so much more.

In a region rich in microgrids, renewables will be deployed with ease, overall emissions will decline, and distributed energy resources will be democratized and allowed to scale. At the same time, institutions that depend on microgrids will each become more efficient and more resilient. New York is ripe with sites that are ideal for microgrid development.

How do we create a reformed power grid in New York that brings reliable, renewable energy to market, enables distributed energy resource to scale, and achieves affordable rates? It begins with modernizing the way our electric grid functions – from the micro to the macrogrid. That is why Anbaric proposes a network of interconnected microgrids to develop distributed energy resources, complemented by a strategic expansion of transmission to integrate renewables with the macrogrid. Working together, microgrids and transmission promise to usher in a new age for New York’s electric system in line with the state’s energy goals.

Edward Krapels, Founder and CEO, Anbaric

Anbaric is an independent transmission and microgrid development company with more than $5 billion in infrastructure projects currently under development throughout the United States. As one of the developers of the Neptune Cable, Anbaric maintains unique experience helping New York ratepayers access clean, affordable, and reliable electricity. In the microgrid arena, Anbaric has partnered with Exelon to develop a series of microgrids at strategic locations throughout New York State.