NY Governor's Office of Storm Recovery
At a Glance
Clean and Renewable Energy
New York, NY
Ben Bovarnick looked into the feasibility of— and best practices around— the implementation of microgrids for the New York Governor's Office of Storm Recovery (GOSR).
Established in June 2013, GOSR coordinates Statewide recovery efforts for Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. Through its NY Rising Housing Recovery, Small Business, Community Reconstruction, Infrastructure and Rebuild by Design (RBD) programs, the agency invests $4.5 billion in Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funding from the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD). Vowing to not simply build back, but build back stronger and better, GOSR is working on a $20 million community Microgrids Program that would mitigate future instances of power outages. EDF Climate Corps fellow, Ben Bovarnick, was hired to develop up to five microgrids in municipalities to demonstrate the feasibility and best practices for publicly-financed projects. While the program had started to identify optimal projects, it also sought new ideas for integrating advanced energy technologies and renewable energy into the projects being explored.
Having learned that GOSR was interested in increasing the scale of renewable energy and energy storage systems, Bovarnick conducted an assessment of existing microgrid projects with a high share of renewable energy to determine the barriers and opportunities for increasing the proportion of clean electricity while preserving system reliability. He identified clear opportunities for energy storage to reduce electricity demand, provided cost savings, and improved system stability for one of the proposed projects. In addition, Bovarnick conducted a review of community microgrid ownership models, largely untested to-date, and conducted an assessment of how these ownership structures could accommodate the heightened standards necessary to secure public financing from GOSR. He recommended that one of the team's projects be re-scoped to rely heavily on megawatt-scale energy storage to reduce daily energy demand spikes.
The peak shaving and backup electricity provided by energy storage has the potential to improve the project value and save the municipality on annual electricity expenditures. The project is currently under redesign to meet this goal, bringing the agency one step closer to achieving energy independence and local power generation and distribution.