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New York is making a huge change to its power grid right before blackout season — here's what to know

The system will reduce the risk of summer blackouts for local residents, the company said.

Con Edison installs 7.5-megawatt battery system on Staten Island.

Photo Credit: iStock

New York City's biggest utility provider, Con Edison, has just added a 7.5-megawatt battery system on Staten Island, Canary Media reported.

On June 20, Con Edison announced that it would soon bring the system online, just in time to meet the increased demand for electricity this summer when fans and air conditioners come on across the nation. The system is located in the Fox Hills area, and it will reduce the risk of summer blackouts for local residents, the company said.

Con Edison explained that the system was being added to an existing utility substation to minimize any inconvenience for the neighborhood. It would eliminate the need to buy more land for the project or install additional power lines. This is particularly important in a crowded city like New York.

The company said the system relies on 11 Tesla Megapacks, each of which holds 19 batteries and its own inverter.

"We are deploying batteries to help maintain the industry-leading reliable electric service that our region needs, and our customers deserve," said Con Edison's president, Matthew Ketschke, in the initial announcement.

Battery storage is also vital to affordable, non-polluting energy sources like solar and wind because, unlike traditional polluting sources such as coal, they don't create energy all the time. Solar panels only generate electricity during the day, and wind power only works when the wind is blowing.

To make power available 24/7, providers need huge amounts of battery storage so they can save up electricity when there's extra and send it out when it's needed.

Establishing battery stations like the one in Fox Hills will prepare the area to rely more on clean energy sources. According to Canary Media, Governor Kathy Hochul has called for the state to install six gigawatts (6000 megawatts) of energy storage by 2030 for this reason. At the same time, New York City has banned natural gas for appliances in new buildings, so the demand for electricity is about to increase.

"The advent of large-scale energy storage technology also greatly increases our opportunities to integrate clean, renewable power into the mix and transition to a low-carbon future," Ketschke said.

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