An energy revolution is coming to New York State, with huge advantages for the wind and solar industries around the country.
The N.Y. Public Service Commission plans to turn the existing electric utilities into a decentralized system. Rather than distributing electricity themselves, the utilities will switch to a role of coordinating energy ‘traffic’ from all sources of generation — both from large installations and also home power generators and solar panels. In effect, they’ll become traffic cops in a two-way flow of power.
In its new report, the Commission predicts the gradual decline of large generating stations. In their place, it sees a vast network of small wind turbines, rooftop solar panels and small natural gas generating stations. Some of these generators would be linked to micro-grids that would keep functioning during any major power blackout.
This kind of decentralized generation would provide power to local areas even after a hurricane or other natural disaster.
“The state has made a real compelling case, in light of all the natural disasters and storms we’ve had to deal with. This way, they’ll deliver energy in a more innovative, progressive way,” according to Gavin Donohue, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Independent Power Producers of New York, Inc. (IPPNY), a statewide trade association organized in 1986 as a not-for-profit corporation.
Ahmad Faruqui, an electricity expert at the Brattle Group, a national consulting firm, said the New York report was attracting enormous interest because it faced up to a critical national issue: how the proliferation of home and rural wind and solar installations is making the current system of pricing electricity obsolete.
The plan also holds out the possibility of far greater investments in small-scale wind turbines. Among other benefits, it would reduce peak demand, could be far better focused than they are today.
Dieter Sauer, CEO of Sauer Energy, sees this as the “coming of age” for the wind industry.
“The era of giant centralized power generation is ending, and it’s about time,” he said. “Alternative energy is becoming more cost-effective, and that’s the new reality that regulators have to face. The era of one-size-fits-all seems to be ending, and there is every indication that this trend will continue."
Stay tuned... there is sure to be more important wind energy news very soon.