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As momentum builds for New York Energy Week, Breaking Energy is speaking with the founders, speakers and key participants about their involvement and what they hope to achieve at this unique collaborative opportunity. National Grid’s President Ken Daly recently told Breaking Energy about some initiatives his company is working on to make the energy consumed by New Yorkers more sustainable, reliable and affordable.

Kenneth Daly, President of National Grid New York is one of the keynote speakers at the upcoming New York Energy Week opening ceremony to be held at the New York Academy of Sciences on the evening of June 24th. “I was invited to be keynote speaker and it is an excellent opportunity – as a New York-based energy company, a week dedicated to local energy issues is a real good fit for us.”

Often considered the holy trinity with regard to energy – environmentally sustainable, affordable, and reliable – National Grid views its business strategy through these three lenses. “At times, these objectives can be at odds with each other, but I think the investments we’re making are helping achieve all 3 goals,” Daly recently told Breaking Energy.

National Grid – formerly KeySpan and Brooklyn Union Gas – is a local New York company, but it’s also one of the World’s largest and most innovative energy companies, with extensive US and UK operations, Daly said. “That size allows us to bring very innovative solutions.” Daly said the company is investing in technology that increases reliability and efficiency, which has the effect of decreasing customers’ utility bills.

Speaking about sustainability, Daly mentioned how National Grid’s energy efficiency programs are providing customers energy-saving solutions, “everything from simply changing light bulbs to sophisticated equipment like modern chillers and other HVAC technology.”

Converting residential and commercial buildings from burning fuel oil to natural gas for heating is another example of where environmental goals align with customer cost savings, Daly explained. “Over the last twelve months, we achieved 40,000 natural gas conversions (usually from fuel oil), which is equivalent to taking 15 cars off the road per conversion on average. That’s an impact of 600,000 cars,” he said.

If you have ever seen large puffs of black soot/smoke discharged from New York City building chimneys, that’s a result of burning fuel oil. Virtually all oil-fired city buildings are required to hold air pollution permits and significant portions of these emissions can be eliminated by switching to cleaner-burning natural gas. With oil prices around $100 per barrel and US natural gas trading in below $4 per million Btu, gas is a much less expensive heating option.

National Grid is partnering with NYC on the Clean Heat program, said Daly. This is also something Mayor Bloomberg is excited about, as he recently spoke about it during a local energy event. “We’ve converted hundreds of buildings throughout our territory and, in fact, are down to fewer than 10 buildings in Staten Island that are left to be converted. We have converted about 300 [buildings] in the past few years throughout the 3 boroughs that we serve, ” Daly said.

These natural gas conversions create a need for incremental gas supply volumes, which is why the BQI (Brooklyn Queens Interconnector) Pipeline is being built now. The 26-inch diameter pipe will tie into the Transco regional transmission pipeline, said Daly. While there has been some scrutiny of the project, the BQI Pipeline has received overwhelming support from government, business and community leaders, he said. “Folks understand the point is to provide more clean energy.”

Circling back to New York Energy Week, Daly talked a bit about the types of companies and participants his team would like to meet at the events. “First – any company in the business of reducing customers’ energy usage, anyone with products that can help reduce energy use. Second – new ways to communicate with customers, this has become very important to utilities in recent years, so any companies that have insights into communicating with and educating customers, we’d like to speak with them. And lastly – interesting, innovative energy projects or products would be opportunities we’d like to learn more about.”