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New York Readies for Next Step to Decentralize the Electricity Market

By: Elisa Wood |

New York plans to roll out REV Connect in the coming weeks, a next step in its move to dramatically overhaul and decentralize the electricity market.

Details are still forthcoming, but policymakers are describing REV Connect as a structure through which innovative energy technologies and business models can enter the New York market.

It is the latest move in New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision, a policy under development that puts the state at the forefront nationally in creating a distributed, microgrid-friendly grid.

REV Connect will offer expert guidance, feedback and facilitation to ensure a robust pipeline of energy innovations, according to a news release issued by the state.

Cheryl Martin, founder of Harwich Partners & former acting director of ARPA-E, offered a teaser about the new program in the opening session of a conference last week at the REV 4NY Exchange 2015. Martin said that REV Connect is a way to match good ideas and product concepts from third parties with the needs of the utilities and consumers.

“We’ve listened to the market, including customers, utilities, and innovative companies, and as part of this dialogue, we’ve determined a need for a new initiative we’re calling REV Connect,” said Richard Kauffman, chairman of Energy and Finance for the State of New York, delivering the conference keynote address.

The program fits with the step-by-step approach the state has been taking to decentralize the electricity market. State regulators and policymakers have been testing the waters through utility demonstration projects and distributed energy programs. For microgrids, the most pertinent is the NY Prize, a $40 million competition to encourage development of community microgrids.

“You have the chance to shape the future. It isn’t often that government opens the door for innovation at a time when markets are developing and technology is rapidly changing,” Kauffman said at the New York City gathering which drew about 350 energy stakeholders.

He added that the “eyes of other states — even other countries — are on us.”