New York State Electric & Gas (NYSEG) and Rochester Gas and Electric (RG&E), subsidiaries of Iberdrola USA, together serve 1.26 million electricity customers and 573,000 natural gas customers across almost half of upstate New York. Iberdrola USA is an energy services and delivery company that serves more than 2.4 million electricity and natural gas customers in New York and New England. Iberdrola USA is a subsidiary of Spanish global energy leader, Iberdrola, S.A., which supplies electricity to more than 28 million customers on four continents.
Building on Iberdrola’s commitment to environmental stewardship and its focus on delivering value to customers, employees and shareholders, NYSEG and RG&E are engaged in transforming the industry in partnership with regulators, consumers and other market participants.
Some of the two companies’ transformative initiatives include:
• Developing an “energy smart community” project to serve as a test bed for the state’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) initiatives.
• Proposing three innovative REV demonstration projects to bring added value to consumers in the evolving energy marketplace.
• Substituting traditional system investments with investments in energy efficiency, demand response and other distributed energy technologies.
• Testing aerial visual imaging in partnership with Lockheed Martín to speed up storm damage assessments.
• Implementing a workforce training and realignment to develop “distributed service provider” capabilities.
In concert with REV and the companies’ vision for the future, NYSEG and RG&E see considerable potential in energy storage to help reduce peak demand and enhance reliability. They also see energy storage as an important driver for growth in the state’s economy. To cement the companies’ active support of NY-BEST, they have provided an economic development outreach grant of $100,000 to support the NY-BEST website and marketing efforts.
With the growth of renewables, NYSEG and RG&E see energy storage as an essential technology for the evolution of the grid. The companies are engaged in a pilot program to investigate the use of fuel cells – instead of generators or batteries – as backup power for power stations and substations. Another area of interest to NYSEG and RG&E is the potential for two-way charging capabilities for electric vehicles, or V2G technology.
In addition, because a key requirement for utilities is to be able to manage supply-demand imbalances, NYSEG and RG&E energy storage technology as powerful tool for this purpose. Looking out into the future, the companies see a potentially promising opportunity for using hydrogen as a storage medium.
NYSEG and RG&E have also been a leader in supporting the development of customer-owned generation. From 2009 through 2014, the companies connected 2,796 projects to the grid with a total generating capacity of more than 378 megawatts – enough generating capacity for more than 209,000 homes.
NYSEG and RG&E are active participants in supporting proposed microgrid projects that are advancing through the NY Prize competition. The companies see microgrids as valuable additions to grid reliability and resiliency. As microgrids become more prevalent, there is a growing need for appropriate “middleware”, which allows efficient and effective communication between the microgrid (which generally has its own operating software) and the grid to which it is connected. NYSEG and RG&E are collaborating with the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) on this topic and the two organizations are seeking external funding for a project.
Mark S. Lynch, president and CEO of NYSEG and RG&E explains: “NYSEG, RG&E and Iberdrola USA are keenly interested in learning how energy storage technology can help us increase the efficiency and reliability of the grid. We believe energy storage will be a key ingredient to optimize the use and proliferation of intermittent renewable energy sources like wind and solar. We intend to invest to strengthen and smarten our grid and be ready to integrate multiple energy storage methods with any type of distributed generation in order to maximize their benefits for our customers.”