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NYISO unveils new control center in Rensselaer

By: Lauren Halligan |

Rensselaer >> A new state energy monitoring facility is expected to bring reliable and cheaper power to New York consumers.

New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) unveiled its 64,000-square-foot control center Tuesday, showcasing its high-tech digital monitoring technologies. NYISO is a non-profit corporation that oversees New York’s bulk electricity grid and wholesale electricity markets. The company claims it’s the heart of the Empire State’s electric system, and the facility will reportedly improve the wholesale electricity markets and increase system reliability.

“We don’t want the lights going out in New York, and this is going to help us make that happen,” said NYISO president and CEO Stephen Whitley.

The center is located adjacent to the NYISO’s headquarters in Rensselaer County at 10 Krey Blvd. in the city of Rensselaer.

Since 1960, electricity use in New York has tripled, and NYISO is charged with meeting the state’s energy needs. The 3.5-year and $38 million project began in December. In the long run, it’s expected to save consumers hundreds of millions of dollars.

The 2,300-square-foot video wall is North America’s largest industry installation. With a colorful grid connecting the 3,000 power plants with live data relaying system conditions 60 times per second, “It looks like something out of the movies,” U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer said Tuesday.

NYISO has been working since the late 1990s to provide fair and open access to the electric grid in New York, Schumer said. He commended NYISO on creating the future of lower energy costs for New York families and businesses, “a future where we are much better prepared to prevent the kind of crippling blackouts we’ve seen in the past from ever occurring again.”

New York formerly had the oldest facility of its kind in the nation, Schumer said, and now it has the newest. A justified investment, according to U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko, D-Amsterdam. “We know that energy as a commodity is vital source to our competitiveness in an international market,” he said. “I believe this ISO strengthens the arteries and veins of our system and then pumps the lifeblood of energy supply into our neighborhoods.”

The former control center in Guilderland, built in 1969, will now serve as backup.

The new control facility will serve as the primary operations and control center for the company. NYISO employs 540 workers and the new addition created another 20 jobs.

In addition to this project, NYISO is responsible for conducting comprehensive long-term planning for the state’s electric power system and advancing the technological infrastructure of the electric system serving the state.