Grid Modernization

NYPA gets sensor deployment, communications backbone funding

The New York Power Authority Board of Trustees recently authorized $95.7 million for the Authority's sensor deployment program and an additional $77.5 million for NYPA’s communications backbone program, NYPA said on Oct. 5. The funding was announced by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

The initiatives will help NYPA to collect data more quickly and accurately and allow for a faster response time to outages and other power grid issues, it said.

Launched earlier this year, NYPA's sensor deployment program will allow the Authority to measure up to 117,000 new data points across its generation and transmission system by 2019, improving NYPA's monitoring capabilities and ability to preempt maintenance and service issues.

NYPA trustees approved the use of the $95.7 million for the second phase of the program that will focus on placing new sensors on generator turbines, circuit breakers, cable systems and battery banks, and connect the sensors to NYPA's Integrated Smart Operations Center in White Plains, N.Y.

As part of the $95.7 million, NYPA trustees ratified a five-year, $76.2 million contract to a statewide consortium of engineering firms, E-J O'Connell Sensor Deployment Joint Venture of Long Island City, to design, build and install new sensors and associated networking across NYPA facilities. The remaining portion of the sensor deployment funding authorized will support sensor procurement, installation and commissioning, as well as overall project management.

The funding represents an expansion of the original scope of the program to include additional sensors for NYPA's generation and transmission assets.

Communications backbone program

NYPA's communications backbone program “will create a robust, secure and scalable communications network to replace NYPA's legacy technology and manage data originating from NYPA facilities and equipment,” NYPA said.

The board's funding reflects an expansion on the original scope of the optical ground wire portion of the statewide project. In addition to other types of communications networks, the expanded project encompasses an additional 550 miles of new optical ground wire installations on existing transmission towers in central, northern and western New York. Ultimately, this investment will lead to a nearly 700-mile optical ground wire installation by 2021. 

When completed, the communications backbone program will allow NYPA to be less reliant on third-party carriers and provide more flexibility to deliver and expand services.

"This work is an integral part of NYPA's strategic initiative to build and maintain a smart generation and transmission system," said NYPA CEO and President Gil Quiniones. "These projects provide an exciting opportunity to achieve NYPA's digital transformation goals as soon as possible so that we can better serve the state of New York with an industry-leading electric system."

NYPA said both programs directly support Cuomo's Reforming the Energy Vision strategy for creating a cleaner, more resilient and affordable energy system. In addition to advancing the state's energy plan, the work will increase grid resiliency and deliver value to customers in the near-term while supporting the Power Authority's Vision 2020 strategy to become the first, end-to-end digital utility in the country, NYPA said.