Library filed under Energy Policy from New York
From kindergarten, Americans are taught to get involved in local government, to exercise local control over local affairs. Now, politicians in faraway Albany say never mind, we will run your local affairs for you. This treacherous thinking is embodied in the New York State Assembly's 103-39 approval of so-called "Article X," which would give the state the right to site electric-generating facilities over local protest. Now the Senate must vote and this requires anyone who believes in local rule, in democracy itself, to object immediately.
WASHINGTON, DC, United States (UPI) -- Multiple reports and studies, especially those published in the last year, suggest the United States, specifically the East Coast, has great potential for offshore wind. The politicized debate over whether to develop wind power offshore has dragged on since the late 1990s, when the first project was proposed in Cape Cod, Mass., off the Nantucket Sound. Since then there have been several other proposals, none of which has been completely approved.
If local town supervisors had their way, a state Assembly bill that would give the state discretion over the siting of wind farms would be gone with the wind. The bill in question, A08697, says "[A08697] would reauthorize Article X of the Public Service Law, with changes, to provide statutory provisions for the siting of major electric generating facilities. The bill would require an analysis of health impacts, the cumulative impacts of emissions in affected areas, and that environmental justice issues be taken into account by the Siting Board in its decision-making process. The bill would also require local appointees of the Board to be named by the Governor upon the recommendation of the Chief Executive Officer representing the municipality in which the facility is proposed."
Robert Sullivan's review of "Cape Wind" (June 17), about the battle over the development of a wind farm off the coast of Cape Cod, made me wonder why a majority of Cape Cod and island residents would oppose a project that promised them clean, cheap, non polluting renewable energy at a time when everyone is focused on making America energy independent. You can start with the fact that this project won't deliver lowercost energy because offshore wind is by far the most expensive form of energy. You can then wonder what all the fuss is about when you understand that at its optimum operating efficiency (an average of 170 megawatts, according to Cape Wind's own Web site, and not the 468 megawatts its proponents claim) it would produce just 1 percent of New England's electricity supply. And because wind energy is inherently unpredictable (it depends on when the wind is blowing and cannot be stored), fossil fuel plants would always have to be online as reserve power to keep our lights on. Concluding his review, Sullivan mentions the growing opposition to a wind farm proposal off the coast of Long Island. This opposition is bolstered by the economic facts of the project - according to previously confidential documents obtained by Newsday, energy from the proposed wind plant would cost Long Island ratepayers as much as double the wholesale cost of energy.
Legislators in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic passed a number of bills applying to the electric power industry, with several states committing to emissions reductions through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and other states making broad organizational changes to their regulatory processes.
Even the wind costs too much on Long Island. The price tag is now at $697 million to build 40 massive turbines in the ocean off Jones Beach to provide only 140 megawatts of power, a fraction of what the area uses. Even though FPL Energy, the winning bidder for the project, would directly pay the construction costs, the company would recoup that money through the rates it charges the Long Island Power Authority. And LIPA ratepayers also would shell out at least another $100 million for cables and other costs to hook the generation into its system. Who pays the costs of dismantling the turbines and carting them away when their usefulness is over is still up in the air.
Another roadblock is being enacted to stop the federal government from overriding New York's authority to decide whether companies can build megawatt power lines through the state, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., announced Monday. Schumer plans to introduce legislation within the next two weeks to hinder the efforts of New York Regional Interconnect to seek federal approval if the state Public Service Commission denies its proposed project. The company has proposed building a high-voltage power line from Marcy to Orange County to help provide more power to downstate communities. Schumer said terms of his legislation include:
WASHINGTON, DC - In the wake of the defeat of a measure that would have prevented the federal government from trumping state governments on the issue of power line siting, Congressman Maurice Hinchey vowed to continue the fight. He said many lawmakers who voted against his measure did not understand it, and he promised to reintroduce similar legislation in the near future.
The shallow water just miles from the Rehoboth Beach shoreline could be the site of the country's first offshore wind farm -- but it will not be the only one, as similar projects are racing forward in Massachusetts and New York, experts say.
Lt. Gov. David Paterson on Tuesday opened the first meeting of a group meant to help reduce the state's reliance on fossil fuels by expanding renewable energies like solar, wind and biofuels. The 17-member Renewable Energy Task Force, meeting in the Blue Room at the Capitol, also is responsible for offering ideas on reaching Gov. Eliot Spitzer's goal of reducing the expected growth in electrical demand by 15 percent by 2015. That goal would mean the state would be consuming about 8 percent less power than forecast for this year, which would be about the same amount as it did in 1998.
How much money wind projects blow into local communities is still up in the air - and it could be changing as the state Senate and Assembly work on Article X, a bill to regulate energy production in New York. State Sen. George Winner, R-Elmira, is part of the conference committee comprised of Senate and Assembly members to come up with a joint bill. He said the two bodies are "very far apart" in terms of coming to terms on a joint offering. The bulk of the bills deal with natural gas and clean air standards, but wind energy could be impacted as well.
WASHINGTON - The House rejected a resolution Wednesday that would block government plans to spur construction of major new power lines in many states regardless of local opposition. The issue has been contentious in parts of the East Coast and in the Southwest, where two high priority transmission corridors for power lines were proposed. Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., warned colleagues that unwanted power lines could come to their district.
Property in Franklin, Clinton and St. Lawrence counties could be seized in the interest of national security if the land is where a federal commission says power lines should go. The initiative is meant to improve the delivery of electricity to populated areas along the Eastern Seaboard. And it is designed to prevent the kind of wide-spread, rolling blackouts and power interruptions that California experienced - situations that experts predict will start in New York and other eastern states in 2011 unless system upgrades are made. But opponents, such as the Sierra Club and historic-preservation groups, contend that state and local governments would be stripped of the power to control what occurs within their boundaries under the plan and that host communities and land owners would get little compensation.
A bill proposed in the state Senate would put an 18-month hold on new wind farm projects in Madison County and the rest of the state.
This brief paper reviews and evaluates key aspects of energy policies and plans announced by New York State officials, and contrasts their electricity plans with those of the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) which is responsible for the reliability of New York's electricity grid. Both sets of plans have major implications for the people of New York.
Back and forth they went until they hit this point: "What other topics do you want to discuss since we're not getting anywhere on coal or (energy) diversity?" asked Assembly Energy Committee Chairman Paul Tonko, D-Amsterdam, Montgomery County. "Maybe it's best we call it a day," replied his counterpart, Sen. James Wright, R-Watertown, Jefferson County.
Much of upstate New York, from north of Albany to Buffalo, from the Catskills to the Adirondacks, is in danger of being transformed beyond recognition by industrial wind parks. Some 50 of these wind parks are being planned and even built. All of this is being done in the name of clean energy and saving the planet. But it isn't clear that wind power is such a panacea in the battle against global warming that developers of these wind parks should be allowed to run roughshod over some of our loveliest land. What we need are statewide siting guidelines that take other environmental factors, including visual impacts, into consideration.
Draft legislation in Albany would make the state the chief reviewer of wind turbine projects throughout New York, wresting that control away from local communities, a preservation advocate said Wednesday in Albion. "This represents a fundamental shift from home rule (where local communities decide)," said Daniel Mackay, public policy director for the Preservation League of New York State. "This will expedite windmill siting." Mackay urged about 40 people at a forum on wind turbines to contact their state legislators and urge them to kill the draft legislation before it is proposed in the Legislature.
Two initiatives related to wind energy were announced by the Long Island Power Authority at a press conference on May 22, and generated mixed reactions from public officials in attendance. While LIPA's efforts to import wind energy from outside of Long Island was applauded by environmentalists and public officials, some criticized LIPA's push to conduct an updated, economic assessment of the utility's proposed offshore wind farm for Long Island.
Wind energy is an important renewable energy source. However, it is important to have a comprehensive plan for siting these high-tech wind facilities across New York state, in order to avoid any negative impacts upon surrounding areas. I have recently introduced legislation, S.4608, which seeks to study the need for a statewide comprehensive plan for siting wind facilities. Additionally, this bill would place an 18 month moratorium on any new construction or issuing of new permits for the construction of wind energy facilities, to enable the task force to complete its study and make recommendations.