NY electric grid operator wants new control center

ALBANY, N.Y. — The operators of New York's electrical grid are asking state regulators for permission to borrow as much as $50 million to build a new control center they say is needed to maintain reliable service amid emerging "smart grid" technologies.

The New York Independent System Operator wants to build the new center across the Hudson River from Albany in Rensselaer, next to its administrative offices. The current 40-year-old control center — in an unmarked building in the Albany suburb of Guilderland — would be downgraded to a backup role.

NYISO officials say the current center will be outdated by 2012.

In a filing with regulators at the state Public Service Commission, the operators said the current control center will not be able to process real-time information transmitted by a new generation of measurement devices designed to assess vulnerabilities in the grid. The devices will be installed across the grid with the help of federal stimulus funds and are designed to transmit data 60 times a second.

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