New York can have 100 percent zero emissions electricity in 2040. But it can’t have enough of it to keep the lights and the heat on. 

Last night, New York’s Climate Action Council voted to release its Draft Scoping Plan (“the Plan”) to implement the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. Unfortunately, the Plan fails in its most important task–ensuring a reliable supply of electricity at all times. This risks leaving New York in the dark due to severe electricity shortages. 

The Plan explicitly admits that in 2040 there may be a gap of 15-25 gigawatts of electricity production, as much as 10 percent of the state’s electricity needs, according to the New York Independent Systems Operator (NYISO). The gap is much more than it takes to power every home in the state, and is equal to as many as 10 hydroelectric or nuclear power plants.  

The problem is that the Plan calls for a dramatic increase in electricity demand without sufficient increase in production. The new demand comes from the electrification of home heating and cooking and the shift to electric vehicles. According to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) this will increase statewide electricity demand by 65 to 80 percent.  

Currently available renewable energy technology cannot meet this demand. But the NYISO report makes clear that dispatchable emissions-free sources are not technologically available. 

Wind and solar are not dispatchable on demand because of the variability of the weather. Battery power and pumped hydro storage are dispatchable but can provide only a few hours of supply. The Plan call for energy storage that is available for “weeks and even longer.” 

Hydrogen might some day be a long-term energy storage solution, but it is only now beginning testing for utility-scale power production. New York cannot stake its future on unproven technologies. 

NYSERDA’s own consultant recommended new natural gas facilities with carbon capture and sequestration as part of the pathway to deep decarbonization of the electrical supply. With carbon capture, 90 percent of the carbon is removed from natural gas emissions. However, the Climate Act and the Plan explicitly reject that sensible path, calling for the elimination of all fossil-fuel sources by 2040.  

Another clean energy source is nuclear power. But while the Plan relies on the continued operation of the state’s existing nuclear plants, it does not call for new nuclear power.  

We still don’t know how much this reckless plan will cost New York utility ratepayers. But we do know that with the demise of Joe Biden’s Build Back Better bill, the federal funds expected to help pay for the energy transition may never be available. 

New York faces a bleak prospect of energy shortfalls, and the Plan provides no solution. Unless and until the state can fully build out and prove its non-fossil fuel capacity and reliability, clean non-renewables must remain as part of its electricity supply portfolio.  

You may also like

NYISO Predicts Troubled Energy Future

The future is not bright for the Empire State’s electrical power grid, according to the newly released 2021 - 2040 System & Resource Outlook Read More

California’s “Flex Alert” Should Ring Alarm Bells in New York

In a bit of awkward timing, a severe heat wave is boosting electrical demand in California, causing the State to beg citizens to delay charging electric vehicles until after 9 p.m. Read More

The Inflation Reduction Act Will Barely Move the Needle on Climate Goals

Supporters of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) are at no loss for words to describe their excitement at its passage. Read More

The Numbers Don’t Add Up on Cider Solar Project

Governor Hochul has just announced approval for the state’s largest to-date solar facility, the 3,000 acre Cider Solar Farm in Genesee County Read More

New York Doesn’t Need the Build Public Renewables Act

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie called for a special hearing this Thursday to get more input on the Build Public Renewables Act. Read More

Heatwave Demonstrates Weakness of New York’s Electric Grid

High temperatures caused New York City Mayor Eric Adams to announce that hundreds of buildings will cut back on energy use to help ensure electrical grid reliability. Read More

NYISO: New York Electric Grid Remains at Risk

New York’s electrical grid could fail as early as 2023, if the state experiences a sustained 98-degree heat wave. Read More

Deadline Extended for CLCPA Scoping Plan Comments

New York’s Climate Action Council has announced an extension of the comment period on the state’s draft Scoping Plan for the implementation of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. Read More

Subscribe

Sign up to receive updates about Empire Center research, news and events in your email.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Empire Center for Public Policy
30 South Pearl St.
Suite 1210
Albany, NY 12207

Phone: 518-434-3100

General Inquiries: Info@EmpireCenter.org

Press Inquiries: Press@EmpireCenter.org

About

The Empire Center is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank located in Albany, New York. Our mission is to make New York a better place to live and work by promoting public policy reforms grounded in free-market principles, personal responsibility, and the ideals of effective and accountable government.

Empire Center Logo Enjoying our work? Sign up for email alerts on our latest news and research.
Together, we can make New York a better place to live and work!