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New York unveils its end-to-end digital utility

Dec. 12, 2017
A digital command center for predictive maintenance on massive scale.

The New York Power Authority (NYPA) announced the opening of a cutting-edge, digitized power-asset monitoring and diagnostic center at its headquarters in White Plains yesterday. The initiative is a major milestone in the Governor Cuomo’s Reforming the Energy Vision strategy to build an energy system that is cleaner, more resilient and affordable and is part of an investment in clean-energy technology and innovation.

NYPA's Gil Quiniones at the massive iSOC display

The new Integrated Smart Operations Center, known as the iSOC, will analyze the performance of NYPA’s power-generation assets and statewide network of transmission lines to identify issues before they occur in an effort to prevent service outages and reduce repair and replacement costs. The new center also advances the state’s goal to become the first all-digital public power utility in the US.

“With the opening of this state-of-the-art center, we are modernizing our state energy system and creating a more resilient, reliable and flexible power grid helping to grow our clean energy economy,” Governor Cuomo said. “This hub keeps New York at the forefront of innovation while leading the nation in combatting climate change through bold investments in clean-energy technology, helping to secure a greener future for all.”

The meeting area is designed to resemble a turbine

The state-of-the-art center uses GE Digital’s predictive-analytics software to forecast and prevent equipment failures and significant outages at NYPA’s 16 power plants and more than 1,400 circuit miles of transmission lines. NYPA will use GE’s software to monitor several aspects of its generation and transmission operations. NYPA plans to integrate additional monitoring capabilities on GE’s Predix application platform in the future, including emergency operations, cybersecurity, physical security, network operations, information technology and data analytics.

Online monitoring of power plants, sub-stations and power lines will increase plant efficiency and productivity, reduce unplanned downtime, lower maintenance costs and minimize operational risks. The technology also will help NYPA make continued progress in meeting the governor’s Clean Energy Standard, which requires that half of all electricity in New York comes from renewable sources and that greenhouse gas emissions be reduced 40 percent by 2030.

New York State Chairman of Energy & Finance Richard L. Kauffman said, “Utilities need to move more aggressively into the digital age if we are to build a grid that is more affordable, resilient and with fewer emissions. Much as it did as a pioneer in the early days of large-scale hydro development, NYPA is setting the pace to become the nation's first digital end-to-end utility."

“We applaud this tremendous step for NYPA as the Authority leads the way for digital transformation in the power and utility industry. Our collaboration can serve as an example for how GE’s digital solutions are purpose built for industry, increasing efficiency and productivity in some of the most complex operations,” said Bill Ruh, CEO of GE Digital and chief digital officer of GE. “Through a fully integrated approach to big data and analytics, our software solutions like Asset Performance Management are helping organizations like NYPA turn insights into action and make power affordable, reliable, accessible and sustainable.”

NYPA began using the system to monitor its 500-megawatt power plant in Queens in December 2016 and has now expanded its use to monitor all of its generation and transmission assets. Data is collected from 24,000 strategically deployed sensors embedded in equipment and analyzed for signs of normal aging. Data highlights are displayed in real time on an 81-foot video wall, where more than a dozen data screens draw attention to significant deviations. NYPA engineers can then promptly address issues with plant-operations managers.

Also housed on the 25,000-square-foot all-digital floor will be NYPA’s New York Energy Manager and its Advanced Grid Innovation Laboratory for Energy (AGILe), which uses big data analytics to simulate, develop,

The Advanced Grid Innovation Laboratory for Energy

deploy and integrate the next-generation electric grid.

Predictive analytics have already helped NYPA address issues that could have escalated into more serious problems had they not been diagnosed and addressed early. Going forward, the iSOC will help prevent expensive shut-downs of power assets for repairs or replacement.

The asset health center is also key in helping NYPA achieve the goals of its 2020 strategic plan to improve the efficiency and reliability of its facilities while making them more cost effective.

Click here to learn more about this initiative.