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NYPA to invest $173M in data sensor monitoring of assets, new communications

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NYPA to invest $173M in data sensor monitoring of assets, new communications

America's largest state government-owned electric utility, the New York Power Authority, is investing approximately $173 million to modernize the statewide power grid into a more reliable and resilient system.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Oct. 5 announced the investments, which aim to help the authority, or NYPA, collect data more quickly and accurately and to allow for a faster response time when addressing power outages and other grid issues.

"Modernizing New York's public power grid is a smart investment toward creating a more resilient and affordable system across the state," Cuomo said in a press release. "This funding is critical to ensuring that New York is prepared to withstand increasingly common extreme weather events that threaten our power system, and continues New York's commitment as a leader in a clean energy economy."

Aiming to combat climate change by cutting emissions, New York state under Cuomo is pursuing a goal of procuring 50% of its electricity needs from renewable energy by 2030 with the aid of renewable energy credit incentives while incentivizing the preservation of three update nuclear power plants through zero emissions credits. The Renewable Energy Standard strategy is a part of Cuomo's larger Reforming the Energy Vision, or REV, plan of delivering a cleaner, more resilient and affordable energy system.

Of the more than $173 million in new funds, the NYPA trustees authorized $95.7 million for the authority's Sensor Deployment Program and $77.5 million for its Communications Backbone Program. Both programs advance the REV plan as well as the authority's Vision 2020 strategy to become the first, end-to-end digital utility in the country.

Launched in April, the Sensor Deployment Program will enable the NYPA to measure up to 117,000 new data points across its generation and transmission system by 2019. The improved data point sensor measuring in turn enhances the NYPA's monitoring capabilities and ability to preempt maintenance and service issues.

The new funding for that program specifically will go toward the second phase of the initiative, which will focus on placing new sensors on generator turbines, circuit breakers, cable systems and battery banks, and will connect the sensors to the NYPA's Integrated Smart Operations Center in White Plains. As part of that second phase funding, NYPA trustees ratified a five-year, $76.2 million contract to a statewide consortium of engineering firms to design, build, and install new sensors and associated networking across NYPA facilities.

Moreover, $77.5 million of the newly authorized funding will go towards creating a new communications network to replace NYPA's legacy technology and manage data from NYPA facilities and equipment. When completed, the communications backbone program will allow the NYPA to be less reliant on third-party carriers and provide more flexibility to deliver and expand services.

The NYPA owns and operates approximately one-third of New York's high-voltage power lines, which transmit and connect nearly 7,000 MW of renewable power from NYPA's wind farms and three large hydroelectric generation facilities to the New York ISO's power grid.