Professionals from all sides of the energy sector gathered in Duane Morris’ New York office to discuss the future trajectory of energy deployment in New York state, as well as strategies for integrating renewables and distributed energy assets to create a more resilient and carbon neutral system, taking into consideration occupant safety and comfort and energy cost-savings. A panel moderated by Phyllis Kessler of the firm’s New York office included Diana Allegretti of Cornell Tech, Daniel Maldonado of Skanska, Steve Wemple from Con Edison and H.G. Chissell of GridMarket. Panelists discussed projects underway, including Cornell’s Roosevelt Island Campus project that plans on incorporating LEED, Passive House and Net Zero principles across the site, as well as incorporating substantial renewable generation and energy storage. While a number of developers are constructing new, efficient buildings integrated with renewable generation and battery storage like the new Cornell Campus, Maldonado pointed out that acknowledging the importance of deep retrofits is essential to reducing the carbon footprint of 85 percent of New York City’s current building stock that is anticipated to still be in use by 2030. To unlock this immense opportunity to reduce emissions with energy efficiency, aligning the interests of tenants and property managers is essential. Panelists also addressed potential incentives for moving energy usage in this direction.

Prominent New York state initiatives, such as the New York Public Service Commission’s Reforming the Energy Vision proceeding (REV) and Con Edison’s Brooklyn/Queens Demand Management program (BQDM), were also central topics, focusing on how these programs can help unlock the potential of distributed energy assets. Programs supporting distributed generation proliferate a fundamental shift on how we consume power—increasing resilience and consumer choice, while reducing the overall carbon footprint of the power sector. Harnessing fleets of distributed, callable assets to reduce peaks at the local distribution level reduces inefficiencies in the electric grid as a whole; however, to unlock crucial behind-the-meter customer segments, advanced metering infrastructure will need to be installed for a much greater customer segment than the current 500kW demand threshold requires.