The Energy Smart Community (ESC) was created by New York State Electric and Gas (NYSEG) to study the potential of Smart Meters and other grid upgrades ability to increase energy efficiency in our community. Homes in the Energy Smart Community recently received “smart” gas and electricity meters that remotely send hourly gas and electricity usage to NYSEG. This highly detailed information may allow NYSEG to operate its electrical grid more efficiently and thus reduce fossil fuel consumption. This detailed gas and electricity usage information also allows customers to go online and see how much energy they use on any hour of any day, giving personalized information that can be used to make homes and businesses more energy efficient. (For more information on this, see our page Navigating Energy Manager). Smart meters can also help make the electrical grid better able to host more renewable energy sources like wind and solar. A more efficient grid will both save everyone money and reduce our use of fossil fuels.
Other upgrades being implemented as part of the Energy Smart Community include:
The project began with installing 12,400 electric smart meters, automating substation and circuits through a telecommunication system, and deploying an advanced grid management system. Click here to see if you are part of the grid upgrade area.
The pilot area is 84 percent residential, 14 percent, commercial, 2 percent municipal, and less than 1 percent industrial. The area encompasses a cross-section of urban, suburban, and rural areas which NYSEG says is important in understanding overall energy use. This cross-section of Tompkins County is the first area to receive NYSEG’s modernized grid upgrades which they hope to scale to the rest of their service territories in the next few years.
The Energy Smart Community project is in response to New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision, a comprehensive energy strategy that mandates 50% of New York’s energy be generated by renewable sources by 2030. The ESC also aligns with Tompkins County's Energy Roadmap which aims to reach a minimum 80 percent greenhouse gas reduction from 2008 levels by 2050, and reduce reliance on fossil fuels across all sectors. Tompkins County Planning Department explains more about the roadmap in this presentation
In order to meet these important goals, NYSEG and utility companies across the state are having to make major changes in the way they do business. Smart meters allow utilities to much more precisely forecast how much electricity the grid is using at any time which allows them to more efficiently operate their system, a necessary step towards both the state and county energy goals.
Because energy efficiency is an important goal of the Energy Smart Community, and it aligns with Tompkins County’s Energy Roadmap, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County is facilitating community engagement to help maximize the potential of the ESC to help further our County goals.
Last updated August 10, 2018