Gov. Hochul Announces Winner of New York Israel
Smart Energy Innovation Challenge


Governor Kathy Hochul has announced the winner of the New York-Israel Smart Energy Innovation Challenge, a competitive award with a value of $1 million that enables New York State to partner with an Israeli company to develop an innovative energy technology that helps New York advance its clean energy agenda. Governor Hochul made the announcement on behalf of the New York Power Authority (NYPA), the largest state public utility in the U.S., which identified Tel-Aviv-based Prisma Photonics as the contest winner. Prisma was awarded for its real-time transmission line issue detection system that will help improve grid safety, security and reliability while advancing the efficient delivery of clean power statewide. New York Power Authority Interim President and CEO Justin E. Driscoll and Israel’s Consul General Asaf Zamir met in midtown Manhattan in December to celebrate the award announcement. 


“Two of the world’s leading energy technology centers – New York and Israel – are coming together to develop new technologies that will benefit both parties as well as the global utility industry,” said Governor Hochul. “New York State and Israel are working together through this smart energy challenge to develop solutions that will result in resilient, renewable and affordable energy systems. With the assistance of smart Israeli companies through innovative partnerships like this one, we are rapidly pursuing technologies with the potential to optimize our energy infrastructure and further develop a state-of-the-art grid that is equipped to deliver reliable, affordable, clean power statewide.”  


Ambassador Asaf Zamir, Consul General of Israel in New York, said, “It’s very exciting to see an old and strong friendship like the one between Israel and New York produce cutting edge partnerships that actually modernize that relationship and produce great results for New Yorkers and Israelis. This partnership, under the Governor’s leadership, and the continuation of this great annual energy technology competition, will keep New York and the State of Israel working together as we lead the world to a more sustainable future.”

The groundbreaking technology will use optical fiber sensing and artificial intelligence to detect potentially disruptive activity on transmission lines. The Governor also announced  a second $1 million smart energy competition for 2022 calling for new energy innovators to apply for an award and encouraged New York’s continued collaboration with innovative Israeli energy technology firms on creative energy solutions. NYPA uses no tax money or state credit. It finances its operations — including this award — through the sale of bonds and revenues earned in large part through sales of electricity.  


Prisma Photonics, a Tel-Aviv-based provider of smart monitoring solutions for physical infrastructure, was selected as the 2021 challenge winner through a competition for new utility related technologies jointly organized with the Israel Smart Energy Association (ISEA) and NYPA. NYPA and Prisma Photonics will collaborate on a research and development project to advance the functionality of Prisma Photonics’ sensor free grid monitoring platform already installed through a pilot project on one of NYPA’s transmission lines. These advancements will include integration of new, artificial intelligence-based, detection algorithms and a dashboard to provide real-time event notification and integration with other Authority operational data.  


In early 2020, the Authority together with the ISEA issued the NYPA-Israel Smart Energy Challenge to solicit start-up technologies from companies headquartered in Israel that support New York’s clean energy transition. The competition sought proposals from Israeli companies with expertise in energy efficiency and clean energy generation that wanted to work with New York’s public utility to scale up their technology in pilot demonstration projects to meet the specific needs of power utilities operations. A second Smart Energy Innovation Challenge, announced , will similarly be a $1 million competition that will allow NYPA to select another innovative company to help create significant advances in grid reliability, storage, sustainability and affordability, all of which benefit ratepayers, utilities and the environment. 


Doron Gover, Head of the NYPA-Israel Smart Energy Innovation Hub, said, “NYPA’s collaboration with Israeli’s innovative companies yields mutual benefit by introducing new solutions for commercial usage in large scale electric utilities. The challenge enables pilot installation of Prisma Photonics solutions in order to achieve significant advances in grid reliability, resilience, sustainability and affordability.”  


The Prisma Photonics / NYPA partnership supports New York State’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (the Climate Act), which creates the most aggressive climate change program in the U.S. and pledges a move toward becoming a carbon neutral state economy by 2050. As a leading transmission developer in the state and as part of its series of strategic investments, NYPA is concentrating its transmission portfolio on projects that balance system planning, returns and wider state objectives to generate a responsible supply of affordable, clean and reliable electricity.  


As the winning submission, Prisma Photonics earns the opportunity to work with NYPA, a large utility to support New York’s clean energy transition as well as NYPA’s strategic priorities. The firm’s technology monitors transmission network performance along the grid 24 hours a day using existing optical fibers, detecting vandalism, climbing, tower hits, damaged lines, etc., and providing data that is analyzed so alerts can be sent directly to the relevant NYPA operation center. The project will start in the vicinity of NYPA’s Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped Storage Power Project in Schoharie County. 


NYPA had already engaged Prisma Photonics for a pilot project in December 2020 to demonstrate the capabilities of the firm’s sensor. Based on its success, Prisma proposed an 18-month real-time detection and notification project that uses artificial intelligence to recognize attacks on transmission towers using the previously demonstrated fiber sensing-based technology. Prisma Photonics, which submitted a proposal in the open competition, was determined to be the best “fit” for the Challenge partnership.  


The 2022 Smart Energy Innovation Challenge will open in January. The competition’s focus is on next generation technology such as electric vehicle charging, reliability with electrical grid systems, energy storage, buildings/campus energy management, data analytics, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and demand flexibility technologies. Interested companies can learn more about the challenge and submission details and deadlines in January on NYPA’s Smart Energy Innovation Challenge web page. A webinar with additional competition details also will be held in January.