WADE recently concluded its Annual Meeting and DistribuGen Conference in New York in partnership with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). It was a great success from an educational and networking perspective with technical workshops on CHP, trigeneration and microgrid technologies, tours of innovative projects, and a number of high level speakers from government and industry along with representatives from the region, around the US and from around the world. However, it was also highly instructive from a policy perspective to see how a large energy-consuming state facing major challenges to its energy delivery system can co-ordinate its regulatory, technological, financial and educational efforts and institutions to re-tool its infrastructure to meet the challenges ahead. The WADE meeting was held on the two-year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy which devastated New York and the region and caused widespread destruction, power outages, significant economic loss and loss of life.
New York is meeting the challenge head-on with innovative new programmes such as the New York Green Bank, which is working with private sector financial interests to close the gaps to funding of clean and sustainable energy projects. The New York State Public Service Commission has also launched a proceeding called Renewing the Energy Vision (REV) which is a wide-reaching and systematic review designed to produce regulatory changes that will, among other things, lead to deeper penetration of distributed energy resources, microgrids, on-site energy, energy storage and renewables. NYSERDA has also continued its excellent work to break down the barriers to deployment of tried and true decentralised energy technology, and has worked hard with vendors and prospective residential, commercial and industrial buyers to offer financial incentives as well as the technical expertise and direct outreach and engagement (like the CHP Expo that NYSERDA hosted in connection with the WADE meeting) needed to make these projects a reality.
At the WADE meeting we used an innovative web-based tool that facilitated networking, dialogue and feedback and which also allowed us to poll the meeting participants about their opinions and attitudes regarding the market for decentralised energy. Interestingly, the sentiment of this expert audience was overwhelmingly positive with respect to the outlook for investment in New York and the region. A vast majority of the participants were actively engaged in exploring project opportunities in New York and over 80% believe that the market for distributed generation will be strong New York and New England over the next three years.
So like it says in the great Sinatra song New York, New York, it is time to start spreading the news that New York is now very much in the lead on energy and can serve as a model for other US states and countries. WADE and decentralised energy can make it there, and we plan to be back for continued efforts to see this through.
Executive Director, World Alliance for Decentralized Energy