Blog: OneNYC's 80 by 2050 Efforts Must Include Electric Grid Modernization and Improvements to the Existing Building Stock

- Vishant Kothari and Daniel Cohen, AEG Fellows

Set forth by Mayor De Blasio, OneNYC has established the goal of reducing citywide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 80 percent below 2005 levels by 2050. Reaching this target relies on a variety of energy efficiency efforts. Currently, 80% of GHG emissions in NYC come from buildings and taking into account the pace of current developments throughout the City, 90% of existing buildings are expected to remain standing in 2050. Efficiency improvements in existing buildings, whether through smart infrastructure, retrofit upgrades or grid modernization, will be key in achieving the City’s 2050 emission reduction goals.

"One of the most critical components in our fight against climate change is the modernization of our electric grid," Governor Cuomo said at the April 2018 launch of a $15M grid modernization initiative. Currently, the City is working towards deploying 1,500 megawatts of energy storage by 2025 and generating half of the state’s electric power from renewable energy sources by 2030. With initiatives such as this, the City is taking a proactive approach to scaling renewable energy and grid modernization efforts. Enabling this transition to a modern grid will require changes in business models, regulatory policies and new technologies. We are at a crossroads of making business and technical decisions that will allow us to optimally and cost-effectively manage the electrical power delivery. Both electricity usage and efficiency improvements are expected to grow, as more electricity will soon replace other forms of energy (e.g. transportation). As business models and technology evolve, the future grid must too, becoming a hybrid with traditional power producers, distributed energy resources (DERs) and microgrids coalesce into a modernized grid aimed at fulfilling consumer demands.

Following the Q1 series on Energy Resiliency and Microgrids, Advanced Energy Group (AEG)’s Q2 2018 Series on Smart Buildings and Grid Modernization aims to uncover core solutions towards achieving OneNYC’s 2050 emission reduction goal through buildings energy efficiency and grid modernization. The Stakeholder Breakfast will host a robust discussion with leaders from public and private institutions, such as the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, Related Companies, Con Edison, Tishman Speyer, Verizon and AKF Group. The May 24th, 2018 Breakfast will foster a lively dialogue and lead to action-oriented outcomes. With opportunities such as the $50M Smart Infrastructure Contest and $15M Smart Grid Program (deadlines ranging from May-July 2018), New York Advanced Energy’s Q2 Stakeholder Breakfast will cultivate meaningful collaboration within the evolving energy landscape.


Advanced Energy Group is a stakeholder member-supported organization committed to developing and delivering advanced energy policies and solutions in key cities.  Stakeholder sessions are by invitation only.  For details of our programming please visit:

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