Library filed under Energy Policy from New York
Governor Andrew Cuomo has married his unrealistic renewable energy targets to his push to steer work to the building trades unions. The likely results: even higher costs—and even fewer projects.
Offshore wind promoters claim costs are declining. Maybe so. But according to the New York Independent System Operator, the average cost of wholesale electricity in the state last year was $36.56. Thus, Cuomo’s presidential ambitions will require New York consumers to pay roughly four times as much for offshore electricity as they currently pay for juice from conventional generators.
The commission quietly voted Friday to approve the CES “Phase 2 Implementation Plan,” which reduces from 1.1 percent to 0.15 percent the share of electricity that utilities and large-scale electricity users—together known as “load-serving entities”—must obtain from renewables during 2018. Last fall, the commission made a similar reduction to the 2017 requirements, cutting it from 0.6 percent to a minuscule 0.035 percent.
Representatives of five transmission projects proposed in July in response to the Massachusetts solicitation for 9.45 TWh/year of hydro and Class I renewables (wind, solar or energy storage) tried to explain why their projects should be among those selected in January. Contracts awarded under the MA 83D request for proposals are to be submitted in late April.
According to ISO New England Inc., a non-profit group focused on transmission systems, between 7,000 and 8,000 MW of generation could be shut down in the next 10 years as state regulators scramble to meet their climate goals. In January, officials confirmed the 2,000-MW Indian Point nuclear facility, located about 77 kilometres north of New York City, would be shut down in 2020.
In fact, they will require virtually complete electrification of these states’ economies to eliminate almost all fossil fuel consumption, not just the small percentage of fossil fuels devoted to generating electricity. The costs to consumers and taxpayers will be trillions of dollars, with virtually no benefits. Indeed, as I show in a recent report for the Manhattan Institute, the numbers behind these 80-by-50 mandates just don’t add up.
Albany isn’t letting anything stand in the way of its overly aggressive renewable energy plan, and upstate families are paying for it.
Simply put, most wind and hydroelectric power is produced in Northern and Western New York, where the supply of electricity exceeds demand. But two-thirds of all the state's power is used in the New York City-Long Island region. Transmission lines between the two areas are already overburdened, and are not equipped to handle the anticipated growth in Upstate renewables, the report says.
State regulators last week shot down efforts by utilities to show ratepayers the amount by which their electric bills are being driven up by New York’s new Clean Energy Standard.
Plus, when the new subsidies are combined with existing federal cash, the amount in subsidies NextEra and Invenergy will be collecting will exceed the prevailing wholesale price of electricity in the state by nearly $13 per megawatt-hour.
More than 100 residents close to the proposed project signed a petition calling for increased setbacks. The project locates turbines about 1,000 feet from any occupied building and 225 feet from the property lines of non-participating landowners.
The shortage stems from the PSC’s arbitrary rules, under which only renewables that came online on or after January 1, 2015 are eligible to generate credits. The PSC had inconsistently included in its estimates of available renewables such sources as rooftop solar panels and other behind-the-meter, “customer-sited tier projects” that actually wouldn’t qualify to sell RECs.
Mr. Engert said during the meeting, the supervisors and their attorneys announced their proposed “coalition of the willing” and its two proposed initiatives to have the state Legislature abolish or revise ...Article 10, which provides for the siting review of new and repowered or modified major electric generating facilities in New York state.
Existing wind farms, hydropower plants and biomass generators want New York to pay them for their contributions to meeting renewable energy targets. If not, they may sell the power they generate to other states or, in the case of wind farms, shut down entirely. ...Theoretically, the price signals sent by New York policymakers would support the company "dismantling the existing wind turbines and selling their respective sites to new generators which could re-erect similar turbines" and get state incentives.
According to PSEG, a new high-voltage transmission line in the Glenwood Landing area would cost ratepayers around $30 million a year. Green-energy plans proposed as part of the bidding request would have cost $22 million to $42 million more each year. In Far Rockaway, the cost differences are even greater.
While nuclear power is left to sink or swim in New England's competitive power market, New York last week approved a clean energy standard that calls for 50 percent renewables by 2030 and financial subsidies to keep three Upstate nuclear power plants in business.
New York just passed one of the nation’s strongest renewable energy policies, but the plan for building out the transmission lines it will need to implement those policies is more uncertain. On Monday, the state Public Service Commission passed the Clean Energy Standard, which mandates that renewables power half of New York’s power grid by 2030, and provides more than $1 billion in subsidies for financially challenged nuclear facilities that would otherwise close.
While NYISO was careful to point out that it supports Cuomo's vision, the North Greenbush-based operation said New York would have to add a large amount of new transmission lines and would have to study more how to manage the added renewable electricity generation, which is naturally intermittent, that would be added to the grid. Transmission upgrades and new transmission lines are expensive to build and even more unpopular with residents who don't like to see the large structures near their neighborhoods.
New York’s chairman of energy and finance will exclude himself from meetings with the world’s largest offshore wind-energy developer about a wind farm off Long Island because of an investment he has in a Goldman Sachs subsidiary that owns a large stake in the company.
With state lawmakers set to leave this month, the nation's strongest climate protection bill was expected to clear the Assembly, but remained without a sponsor in the Senate late Wednesday.