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Cuomo's budget takes on New York's power grid

Credit Diliff / Wikimedia Commons

In his annual budget, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is proposing to make changes to the state’s power grid.

The changes to utility regulation are meant to make it easier for local, small-scale producers to get their power to customers. In Cuomo’s budget is a 10-year $5 billion investment in a Clean Energy Fund.

There’s money to start a battery research facility and a smart grid laboratory. The governor is also proposing changes to the New York Independent System Operator. The NYISO acts as a broker for the state’s electricity market – matching utilities and their customers with power plants and the transmission lines that deliver the power.
Kit Kennedy of the Natural Resources Defense Council says changing the way that marketplace works is necessary if the power sources are going to change.
“So it’s a movement away from a system that’s dominated by big fossil fuel power sources to a system that’s more distributed, where customers have more options and it’s easier for them to use clean energy,” says Kennedy.

That process began last year, with the launch of REV, or Reforming the Energy Vision. The Public Service Commission has been working on an overhaul of utility regulations and energy distribution since then. Cuomo and the legislature will soon begin negotiating the budget. The final version is due at the end of March.

Matt Richmond comes to Binghamton's WSKG, a WRVO partner station in the Innovation Trail consortium, from South Sudan, where he worked as a stringer for Bloomberg, and freelanced for Radio France International, Voice of America, and German Press Agency dpa. He has worked with KQED in Los Angeles, Cape Times in Cape Town, South Africa, and served in the Peace Corps in Cameroon. Matt's masters in journalism is from the Annenberg School for Communication at USC.