At times, it seems like the world is just faltering in concerted efforts to achieve zero carbon emissions. In the US, the President cannot get his big “green” plans through a Congress controlled by his own party. In Europe, a countryside blanketed by wind turbines cannot withstand a wind-driven drought in 2021, and emissions rise even as natural gas prices soar to nearly 10 times US levels.
New York may be a latecomer to Net Zero plans, but God, our politicians and bureaucrats are much smarter than the country clowns or the pond. In 2019, the New York legislature enacted the Climate Leadership and Community Defense (Climate Act), self-described on Bang’s website as “National Top [law] to empower every New Yorker to fight climate change at home, at work and in their communities. ” The Climate Act sets out a series of ambitious emissions reduction targets (e.g., 70% renewable electricity by 2030, 100% zero emissions by 2040, 85% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. ). It also creates a Climate Action Council to figure out how to achieve these goals. The CAC’s number one mission is to come up with a so-called “Scenario Plan,” which includes details that inform us of how this can be done.
Over the course of 2020 and 2021, we have had a long wait as the CAC and about seven advisory subcommittees held dozens of meetings and rejected their major reports. And finally, on December 20th, the curtain was lifted: the CAC finally released its draft Scope Plan to the public. Monitor this link to download a copy of the whole – 330 pages, excluding appendices.
If you think that a document with this type of construction and construction will contain at least a seriously small attempt to grapple with the big technical problems of decarbonizing everything from the power grid to heating indoors to private cars, air to ocean freight, all at the same time, rethink. The words “incompetent” and “amateur” come to mind, but don’t even really begin to describe how bad this working product is. It’s 330 pages long, filled with padding, fluff, and repetition, mostly to ensure that no one with precious time will be able to read it. The authors are like a parody version of King Canute, who truly believes that when they command the tide to stop rising, it will obey.
Consider the vision here to decarbonize the grid. Remember, by law, we must reach net zero by 2040. But other jurisdictions have started much earlier to move towards the same goal that seems unlikely to be above 50% electricity. from renewable energy for any significant period of time. Sun and wind don’t work long enough to get past that level, no matter how many facilities you build. What else will New York do? From the Scoping Plan, page 149:
Vision to 2030. The Climate Act requires that 70% of electricity statewide come from renewable sources by 2030. The Climate Act also requires 6,000 MW of distributed solar by 2025 and 3,000 MW of storage installed energy by 2030. This can be achieved by actively deploying existing renewable energy technologies such as wind, solar and energy storage.. With primary procurement mechanisms already established to do so, the recommendations made here for 2030 aim to ensure that procurement mechanisms lead to the construction and operation of renewable energy, accelerate progress and reduce the cost of grid decarbonization.
(Emphasis added.). In fact, anyone paying attention knows that 70% of electricity from renewables cannot be achieved by just building more wind and solar power facilities, and existing batteries only can provide the most limited help, and even then come at a heavy cost.
The vision to 2050 is even more pure fantasy. Again from the Scoping Plan page 149:
Vision in 2050. By 2040, the Climate Act requires the State to achieve a zero-emissions electricity system as well as 9,000 MW of offshore wind by 2035. Achieving this will require all actions identified for 2030, continue to procure renewable energy, and focus on developing new technology solutions.
The technology to do this doesn’t currently exist, but if we just put it into existence, it will. The hypothetical authors that ordered this to happen didn’t even pretend to know what technologies might be enough to achieve their goals, or how much this might cost.
Equally illusory are the transportation plans, which appear on pages 93-117. The plan identifies the reported 9 million private cars registered in New York as of November 2021. The first all-electric Tesla debuted in 2008 – thirteen years ago. After those thirteen years, what percentage of our personal cars in New York are all electric? From page 93:
As of November 2021, half of a percent of the more than 9 million registered LDVs in New York is ZEV.
Half of one percent will be about 45,000 out of 9 million in 13 years. But it is assumed that now we will reach 3 million all-electric cars in just the next 9 years, and then essentially all-electric by 2050. How to get there ? From page 94:
A positive and workable combination of policies is needed to accelerate GHG emission reductions to the levels needed by 2030. By 2030, close to 100% of LDV sales and 40% of MHD or higher sales. must be ZEV vehicles and a significant portion of private transport in urbanized areas will be required to switch to public transport and other low carbon modes. New York can achieve these goals through ZEV sales requirements and accompanying incentives and investments to help achieve these missions, historic investments in public transit expand and micromobility, enhancing pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure, developing smart growth, market-based policies that support carbon transport options, and potentially a Clean fuel standards reduce the average carbon intensity of the fuel as the transition to a zero-emission vehicle is underway.
Put it on, and it will happen. How much more will New Yorkers pay for all these electric vehicles? No mention of that here.
And what are the plans for, for example, air travel and rail transport? From page 95:
Some segments of hard-to-electrify subsectors, such as aviation, freight rail, and some MHD vehicles are likely to rely on green hydrogen and renewable biofuels (e.g., fossil fuels). renewable jet fuel) to completely replace fossil fuel burning if zero-emissions applications are not feasible.
The plane will run on “green hydrogen”. To this day, has there been any proof of that being possible, let alone any companies working on developing a commercial version?
The scoping plan builds on what is known as “Integration Analysis”, which is said to have weighed (underestimated) the costs against the (almost entirely imaginary) benefits of the process. convert this energy and give a supposedly positive answer. I hardly have the space here to go into detail on this subject, but we do feature a November 22 Report from the Empire Center called “Green Project,” as well as Roger Caiazza’s December 15 blog post on the New York Pragmatic Environmentalist website titled “Green Scheme Cost Assessment: Climate Action Council Climate Change Cost Analysis.” Here is one of many selected quotes from Caiazza:
Integration Analysis is not a feasibility study. The analysis does not include a technical assessment to determine how the grid must be upgraded to maintain current reliability standards at a much lower cost. One possible aspect to be included is a technology to meet the company’s need for zero-emissions, transferable resources. The analysis suggested using hydrogen resources for this aspect of the system, but that technology has not been demonstrated at the scale needed for New York’s requirements. Any cost estimate of an unproven technology is completely uncertain. Also, I couldn’t find any references to supporting the necessary transmission ancillary services so I agree that the grid issues that were raised were ignored.
I think there is a possibility that New York actually continues the path laid out in this “Scale Plan” and quickly reaches the green energy wall I discussed. my post a few weeks ago.