New York Readies for Next Step to Decentralize the Electricity Market

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Red Hook

Red Hook is a NY community planning a microgrid as part of the state’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV).

New York plans to roll out REV Connect in the coming weeks, a next step in its move to dramatically overhaul and decentralize the electricity market.

Details are still forthcoming, but policymakers are describing REV Connect as a structure through which innovative energy technologies and business models can enter the New York market.

It is the latest move in New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision, a policy under development that puts the state at the forefront nationally in creating a distributed, microgrid-friendly grid.

REV Connect will offer expert guidance, feedback and facilitation to ensure a robust pipeline of energy innovations, according to a news release issued by the state.

Cheryl Martin, founder of Harwich Partners & former acting director of ARPA-E, offered a teaser about the new program in the opening session of a conference last week at the REV 4NY Exchange 2015. Martin said that REV Connect is a way to match good ideas and product concepts from third parties with the needs of the utilities and consumers.

What is a community microgrid? View the story of the Red Hook community microgrid on YouTube.

“We’ve listened to the market, including customers, utilities, and innovative companies, and as part of this dialogue, we’ve determined a need for a new initiative we’re calling REV Connect,” said Richard Kauffman, chairman of Energy and Finance for the State of New York, delivering the conference keynote address.

The program fits with the step-by-step approach the state has been taking to decentralize the electricity market. State regulators and policymakers have been testing the waters through utility demonstration projects and distributed energy programs. For microgrids, the most pertinent is the NY Prize, a $40 million competition to encourage development of community microgrids.

“You have the chance to shape the future. It isn’t often that government opens the door for innovation at a time when markets are developing and technology is rapidly changing,” Kauffman said at the New York City gathering which drew about 350 energy stakeholders.

He added that the “eyes of other states — even other countries — are on us.”

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About Elisa Wood

Elisa Wood is the chief editor of She has been writing about energy for more than three decades for top industry publications. Her work also has been picked up by CNN, the New York Times, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal Online and the Washington Post.


  1. Well written – Our CEO, and I agree, sees microgrids as the next evolution in renewables. We are on step three of four. First step was the movement to grid connected world; the second was cost reduction and large scale deployment in the form of solar farms, wind farms and solar roof tops; third is the evolution from feeding the grid to the development of microgrids (no longer is power plant scale a factor in economics of electricity); and finally the decentralization of the entire electrical grid. New York is taking the lead on this effort. Utilities must realize their business model is changing. Microgrids will not put them out of business unless they only fight against it.

    A short story – In the 70’s Ford, GM and Chrysler were told they must improve the fuel mileage of their cars. They sent 1000 lawyers to Washington to tell Congress that this was impossible. The Japanese car makers hired a 1000 engineers to figure out how to improve fuel mileage. We all know what happened. Like the car companies, if utilities are to make it in this changing environment, they must adapt to the changing environment.


  1. […] was an underlying message delivered last week by policymakers and innovators participating in REV4NY Exchange, a state-sponsored conference that drew 350 people to New York City and 1,700 online viewers from […]