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Passionate about solutions that empower citizens in their fight for energy democracy. She will be curating an online discussion about the current energy transition, covering news on smart grid developments, new regulatory solutions supportive of citizen-owned renewable energy and much more.
New York’s energy strategy REV is only a few years old, yet the number of innovative projects it has already inspired (some of them presented in the article below) is impressive. While in New York, I had the pleasure to speak to Richard Kauffman, NY’s Chairman of Energy and Finance, who explained REV’s main driving trends.
What were the main motives behind REV?
Richard Kauffman: Well, firstly the cost of traditional ways of delivering electricity was continuing to increase and the cost of alternative solutions was continuing to decline. Secondly, customer preferences were changing. Individuals and communities wanted batteries, micro-grids, and more control over their electricity. Thirdly, we were not making enough progress in emission reductions.
How was the team able to make as much progress?
Richard Kauffman: That’s because nobody in the whole system was completely happy with the way things were.
The regulated utilities in NY state weren’t happy with the current model because they saw that customer preferences were changing, that the big part of the industry was solar. They couldn't be more responsive to customer needs and they weren't able to participate in the growth of solar industry. Secondly, the innovative energy companies, like battery companies or solar companies, weren’t happy with the situation neither because regulations and utilities weren't evolving enough to take advantage of the lower costs of these technologies. Lastly, fossil fuel generators weren’t happy under the old system either. They get a significant portion of their revenues for just having the plants available for capacity and that revenue stream is not very attractive.
So you can see nobody was completely content with past policies. All these entities were interested in trying to figure out whether there was an approach that would benefit all parties. That’s where REV came in.
This interview was made possible with the support of the Heinrich Boell Foundation’s Transatlantic Media Fellowships