ENR New York's Owner of the Year winner is selected by vote among Engineering News-Record's regional and top editors. One important quality we look for is whether the organization is making a distinctive impact in the region where it builds -- and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority is doing so.
NYSERDA, which is running the clean energy contracting for the state, impressed our editors because of how it promotes energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources by working with business owners, developers, community leaders, local and state governments, and many other stakeholders. It's a particularly crucial entity considering Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s aggressive clean energy agenda. And with utilities being considered “essential,” construction of such projects likely won't face restrictions as severe as "non-essential" projects.
NYSERDA and the New York Power Authority have partnered on a $2-billion 250-mile transmission system that will connect renewable energy systems in upstate New York and Canada with downstate area and also modernize New York’s electric grid; NYSERDA has begun soliciting proposals for the project. The agency will also help expand electric vehicle charging stations in New York, for which Cuomo committed $11 million.
The authority also can help other project owners. It’s created a network of contractors to help owners build energy-saving systems, from clean heat to solar installations, with expertise in commercial, multifamily and other residential. Relatedly, it has a program for contracting firms that wish to become a NYSERDA contractor. And it recently partnered with SUNY to launch the $20 million Offshore Wind Training Institute (OWTI) to train 2,500 workers so they can join the offshore wind skilled workforce.
That's a proactive step, since as of now, New York has five offshore wind projects in active development that will total more than 4,300 megawatts. These include Empire Wind 2 and the $8.9 billion Beacon Wind of Equinor Wind US LLC, for which NYSERDA is negotiating contracts.
You can read more about NYSERDA when our feature story runs in the March 15, 2021, edition of ENR New York/New Jersey, along with our annual Top Starts list.