Threading the Needle: Clean, Reliable, Affordable Energy at LIPA

by Tom Falcone, CEO, Long Island Power Authority

Every utility is charting its own path to clean, reliable, affordable energy, but there is a lot to learn from looking at what others are doing. Most utilities need significant amounts of new, lower-carbon generation. Many need more transmission. Each has its own weather-related risks. And technological change comes for us all.

Like everyone else, the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) has a long to-do list. We serve a population of three million in the New York City metro area — with an island geography that ranges from city streets to sod farms, each with its own diverse needs.

I’ll focus on three of LIPA’s “big rocks” — transmission, resiliency, and rate design — and hope that one may be applicable to your situation.

Offshore Wind, Planning Grid of the Future

First, New York’s electric grid — like most — was built for the energy sources and loads that existed in the pre-renewable’s era. The majority of the population and electric load are downstate. The hydropower, nuclear, and land-based wind and solar (i.e., zero-carbon energy) are mostly upstate. And Long Island, spanning approximately one hundred eighteen miles in length, is at the tail end of the proverbial extension cord, with limited interconnections to the rest of New York.