The New York Independent System Operator (NYISO), a not-for-profit corporation responsible for operating the state’s bulk electricity grid, has signed an agreement with the US Department of Energy (DOE) through which the NYISO will receive $37.8m from DOE to deploy smart grid technologies on New York’s power grid.

The federal funds, provided under the Smart Grid Investment Grant (SGIG) program, will support a $75.7m smart grid project to enhance the reliability and efficiency of the New York State power grid and provide the foundation for further development of smart grid infrastructure in the state.

The NYISO also signed an agreement with all eight of New York’s transmission owners to work together to implement the project.

The transmission owners are Central Hudson Gas & Electric, Consolidated Edison of New York, Orange and Rockland, Long Island Power Authority, National Grid, New York State Electric & Gas, Rochester Gas and Electric and New York Power Authority.

The project involves the creation of a statewide Phasor Measurement Network and the installation of capacitor banks in various locations throughout the state.

The agreements call for the work to be completed over a three-year period starting July 1, 2010. The NYISO will continue to report to DOE on the results of the project for two additional years.

The components of the SGIG project include deployment of a statewide Phasor Measurement Network to enhance the NYISO’s ability to detect system vulnerabilities and avoid potential blackouts. The project involves installing 39 phasor measurement units (PMUs) at various locations across the high-voltage grid.

PMUs transmit power system data 60 times each second, enabling fast responses to grid events and effective mitigation of potential outages. Current monitoring systems sample conditions every two to six seconds, according to the company.

The SGIG project also includes installation of capacitors to improve the control and coordination of voltage on the New York power grid. Currently, ideal voltage levels cannot be maintained on many transmission lines, creating operating inefficiencies. As a result, power is literally ‘lost in transit’ due to the extra effort required to overcome the reactance on the lines, NYISO said.

While generators typically provide voltage support to maintain a line’s voltage, there are locations on the grid where no generators exist or are expected to be sited. Thus, the installation of capacitors at these key locations is the best way to provide voltage support and increase system efficiency, NYISO added.