On May 3, 2022 Empire Public Policy Center organized a panel of climate and energy experts from across the state to explore the economic and energy impacts of Climate Leadership and the Community Protection Act (Climate Act. This post describes my impressions of Lights out: CLCPA and New York’s Energy Future.
Everyone wants to be environmentally right to the extent that they can afford it and not be unduly burdened by the impact of environmental policies. I have widely written about New York’s climate change risk implementation because I believe the ambition for a zero-emissions economy embodied in the Climate Act goes beyond readily available renewable technology as it will affect bad to reliabilitycollision ability to pay, safety risk, affect lifestyleand there will be worse impact on the environment compared to the purported effects of climate change in New York. New York’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are less than half a percent of global emissions and since 1990, global GHG emissions have increased by more than 1.5% per year. Furthermore, the reduction Unmeasurable effect on global warming When conducting. The opinions expressed in this post do not reflect the positions of any of my previous employers or any other companies I have affiliated with, these comments are my own.
Background of the Climate Act
The Climate Act establishes a “Net Zero” goal by 2050. Climate Action Council responsible for the preparation of the Scope Plan that will “achieve the State’s strong clean energy and climate agenda”. They are supported by Advisory Boards who have developed and presented strategy to meet the goals for the Council. Those strategies were used to develop integrated analysis was prepared by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and its consultants to quantify the impact of strategies. That analysis is used to develop Draft scoping plan was launched for public comment on December 30, 2021. The public may comment until June 10, 2022.
The overall question for the speakers was whether the state can meet its energy needs under the new law, and how will New Yorkers pay? The six speakers gave brief presentations followed by questions and answers addressing those questions. I have described my impressions of the speaker’s presentations below. If a meeting recording is available, I will update this post.
James Hanley, Senior Policy Analyst, Empire Center for Public Policy provided some brief but focused introductory remarks on his new research. Hanley recently completed an analysis he did for Empire Center titled Cold and dark? New York’s Risky Energy Future. It’s a good summary of the bottom line that the Climate Act will increase demand at the same time New York is shutting down existing nuclear and natural gas production. He showed that the state is on track toward an energy shortfall equivalent to “nearly three New York City without electricity.” He explained that wind and sun cannot make a gap because of their variable output. The Draft Scoping Plan notes that 15 to 25 GW of installed distributed zero-emission generation capacity is “necessary by 2040 to meet demand and maintain reliability.” However, as Hanley points out, the Plan does not specify the source of this generating capacity. The report is well researched and gives a good overview of the problems inherent in the net-zero transition.
Panel Discussion: Meeting New York’s Energy Needs Under the Climate Act.
The three speakers addressed the question: How do we provide what is needed, and how soon can we get there?
Donald Chahbazpour, Director of Policy Strategy and Regulatory Affairs, National Grid spoke about National grid package was announced recently. He explains that there are three components to their plan: energy efficiency, hybrid heat pumps, and a fossil-free gas network. Among the expected benefits is that it is more cost-effective and will require 60 GW less generating capacity. I’ll try to do a post on the plan at some point, but wanted to point out a few points he’s made about the natural gas system. Gas peak load is 3 to 4 times higher than electric peak load. That makes sense because heating makes up a large proportion of the natural gas load. He also says that heating with natural gas is cheaper: thirty cents per dollar cheaper than electricity with natural gas. Part of the National Grid plan is to use renewable natural gas and he admits that will be more expensive than natural gas. The last statistic I’d like to mention is that he gave a daily conversion rate figure needed to meet the Scoping Plan for New York City only. I didn’t get the exact number, but it’s so large that it’s obviously not reasonable.
Gavin Donohue, President of New York’s Independent Power Producers is a member of the Climate Action Council. He said his top problem with the Climate Act was the lack of a funding mechanism. He also made the point that there are currently no non-dispersing zero-emissions resources so the schedule is very ambitious. Gavin has argued from the outset that reliability is important, but he points out that it has not received enough attention. He made another point that is often overlooked. New York City has special considerations that have yet to be addressed. He claims that a hidden cost is that 25% of homes will require an electrical service upgrade. Donohue also made the point that the Climate Action Council does not make the final decisions on strategies. At the end of the year, the Scoping Plan will be forwarded to the Governor and Legislature for them to select policies to implement in 2023.
Ken Pokalsky, Vice President of the New York Business Council, was the third speaker on the panel. He points out that most business owners are not aware of the implications. When told about it, they went through five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. He explained that businesses in New York are finally starting to get involved.
Panel Discussion: Consumer Impact of the Climate Act;
The second discussion deals with costs, benefits, and consumer impacts. Due to scheduling issues, only two people spoke.
Michael Butler, the Consumer Energy Alliance’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Director discussed the consumer impacts. His presentation is available. He makes the point that the reason that emissions have fallen so much is because of natural gas. Therefore, he considers that it is inappropriate to ban natural gas at this time. He also commented on Pennsylvania’s recent participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative by executive order. He thinks the governor of Pennsylvania will overturn the next Republican election and that will end the state’s membership in the RGGI
Commissioner John Howard, New York State Public Service Commission, made some interesting points and his answers to the questions were very illuminating. If there is an audio recording, I will make a post just about his comment. One of the big mysteries to me is how this will affect the cost of the payer. He said he thinks the existing REC, ZEC, OREC and possibly several other similar programs are now adding 10% to a consumer’s bill. He emphasized the four tenets that the Public Service Commission cares about: safe, reliable, fair and equitable electricity for all who pay the price. He noted that New Yorkers cannot tolerate blackouts for any reason. After claiming that peak power plants have a significant impact on health, he says he thinks they’ll be needed much longer than many would like. By the way, I’m making a post about that to keep an eye on Latest post describes the power plant controversy that culminated in New York City. One of his best comments was that he said that unelected officials should not control the scoping plan. He clearly recognized that there were problems with the Plan’s ambitions and schedules.
I asked the penultimate question.
Today we hear a lot about the cost and the large number of pages in the scoping plan and its appendices. I’m a numbers person and wanted to point out that in addition to the 600 pages of text documents, two spreadsheets with over 100 tables are on offer. Based on my analysis of those spreadsheets, no control measure cost figures are provided. I think the Scoping Plan should describe, list costs and estimate emissions reductions for all control measures. What do you think should be offered?
Commissioner Howard replied. Essentially, he said, it looks like they’re scrambling costs. He also said people should be outraged that those numbers are not available.
Unfortunately, the number of attendees was small, so there was not much coverage. That’s too bad because the speaker made some excellent points that deserve wider coverage. If an audio recording is provided, I will update this post with more information.