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NYS power grid gets $74 million in upgrades

Marie Cusick
Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) helped break ground on a new $35 million power control center outside Albany that will help improve the efficiency of the state's electric grid.

Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) was in the Capital Region today promoting an initiative to modernize the state’s power grid.

The New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) is a nonprofit that manages the state’s electricity grid and wholesale energy market, and it’s receiving $74 million in upgrades.

Legislators and local leaders broke ground on a new power control center at the NYISO headquarters in Rensselaer, N.Y. The facility will track data from all over the state in an effort to improve reliability and efficiency.

In addition, NYISO unveiled a new “smart grid” initiative to improve the out-of-date power supply infrastructure. The aim is to reduce the amount of electricity that’s lost when it’s carried over long distances through the state’s 10,000 miles of power lines.

NYISO officials say the savings will be nearly $200 million a year and create 20 permanent jobs for the local economy in Rensselaer County.

Schumer adds that the upgrades are also vital to supporting the Capital Region’s high-tech industries.

“We’re one of the few places in the whole state where we see some job growth and a lot of it is because of chip fabrication and nanotechnology. Well those two activities depend on reliable power and cheaper power,” he says.

NYISO borrowed about half of the money needed for the upgrades, and the rest came from a U.S. Department of Energy grant. The project should be completed by the end of 2013.