New York State is going to fund 11 microgrid projects for $11 million as part of the second stage of the NY Prize Community Microgrid competition, says the office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Microgrids provide critical power backup for homes, businesses, hospitals and other vital facilities during extreme weather events and emergencies, while supporting development of on-site cutting edge renewable energy technologies. Additionally, microgrids support New York State’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030.
“It’s critical that communities across New York have reliable power to provide vital services when they are needed the most,” Governor Cuomo said. “These awards will help local government modernize and harden their power infrastructure, as well as join this administration’s fight against climate change, and create a cleaner, greener, Empire State for all.”
As part of the competition, each Stage 2 winner will receive $1 million through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, which administers NY Prize, to conduct detailed engineering designs and business plans for a microgrid to bring local clean energy generation and backup power to their communities. In addition, winners advancing to Stage 3 of the competition will have access to financing for microgrid construction through NY Green Bank.
Since community microgrids and clean energy projects are not easily financed through traditional capital providers like banks, access to NY Green Bank financing will be especially important to the completion of these critical projects. NY Green Bank is prepared to facilitate up to $50 million in financing assistance per project to Stage 3 winners subject to its investment criteria, due diligence and financial analysis. This announcement represents a significant increase in financial support for the build-out of project designs in Stage 3 of NY Prize, in addition to the $20 million available through NY Prize. Stage 3 winners are expected to be announced by the end of 2018.
NYSERDA awarded over $8 million for Stage 1 of the competition to 83 communities across the State to conduct microgrid feasibility studies in 2015. Nearly 150 communities had applied for the initial stage of the competition. Utilities played an active role in Stage 1 of the competition by identifying “grid opportunity zones,” or geographic areas where microgrids may reduce utility system constraints, and defer expensive infrastructure investment costs. Utilities also assisted communities and other partners with submission of their applications. Funding for Stage 1 and Stage 2 totals nearly $20 million.
NY Prize applications came in from combinations of community organizations, local governments, non-profit entities, developers, for-profit companies and municipally owned utilities. The 11 projects receiving funding are in the following locations:
Capital Region: Empire State Plaza; University Heights
Central New York: City of Syracuse
Long Island: Town of Huntington; Rockville Centre; Village of Freeport
New York City: East Bronx; Clarkson Avenue; Sunnyside Yards
Southern Tier: City of Binghamton
Western New York: Buffalo-Niagara Medical Campus
The Town of Huntington microgrid project partners include TRC Energy Services, National Grid, PSEG Long Island, and the New York Power Authority. NYPA will provide financing directly for projects designated and implemented by the Power Authority.
— Solar Builder magazine