Governor Cuomo Announces $11 Million Awarded for Community Microgrid Development Across New York

Projects from Across the State Will Have Access to Financing from NY Green Bank in Next Stage to Assist in Building Microgrid Energy System

March 23, 2017

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced $11 million in funding for 11 microgrid projects across New York State as part of the second stage of the NY Prize Community Microgrid competition. 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.

"New York has been a nexus for energy innovation since Thomas Edison flipped the switch at the Pearl St. Station 133 years ago," said Lieutenant Governor Hochul. "Governor Cuomo has made it a priority to scale up New York’s clean energy and build a more resilient, affordable system. Microgrids provide critical power backup while supporting the development of on-site cutting edge renewable energy technologies, which is why we are continuing to incentivize communities through NY Prize to invest in sustainable development."

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.

For a full list of project descriptions, click here.

New York State Chairman of Energy and Finance Richard Kauffman said, “Community microgrids are a vital component of Governor Cuomo’s REV strategy to modernize our energy infrastructure and ensure reliability and resiliency for the grid. NY Prize enables innovative clean energy business models developed by local communities that can be replicated across New York State, providing New Yorkers with more choice in how they get their energy while safeguarding their communities from extreme weather events."

NYSERDA President and CEO John B. Rhodes said, "NY Prize supports Governor Cuomo’s ambitious energy agenda and will help make community energy systems stronger and more resilient. These communities are developing energy solutions that meet their local energy needs with technical designs and financial commercial plans that demonstrate REV principles in action."

New York Power Authority President and CEO Gil C. Quiniones, said, "Microgrids are a key source of power for homes, businesses, hospitals and other vital facilities during weather events and other power outage emergencies. They are vital to our clean energy future. We need communities with creative local energy solutions – like these innovative microgrids - to partner with us in creating the energy system of today and tomorrow. These microgrid grant funds enable us as a State to move another step closer to our reliable, renewable energy goals. We, at NYPA, are especially proud to be working with the Town of Huntington as their energy advisor to help them design and plan their microgrid."

NY Green Bank President Alfred Griffin said, "NY Green Bank is pleased to provide the opportunity for winners in the NY Prize competition to obtain innovative financing solutions for cutting-edge community microgrid projects. Community microgrids are an exciting prospective addition to NY Green Bank’s portfolio of renewable energy projects. As with all our prospective transactions, we look forward to utilizing a financing structure that encourages standardization and scaling of portfolios, which will lead to greater private market participation and ultimately to broader, less expensive and more resilient clean energy opportunities for all New Yorkers."

Huntington Supervisor Frank P. Petrone said, "One of the lessons we learned from Superstorm Sandy was the importance of ensuring that facilities providing vital services and emergency shelter continue to have power so they can address residents’ health and safety needs. This grant takes Huntington one step closer towards ensuring that if another storm like Sandy occurs, we can seamlessly transition into our emergency mode. I thank Governor Cuomo and NYSERDA for creating the NY Prize Community Microgrid Competition and for selecting Huntington as one of the winners."

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