Andrew Cuomo, Governor Corruptocrat, is setting the Empire State up for a New York energy shortage that will be painful for consumers.
Earlier this year, I wrote about the poetic justice in Andrew Cuomo having to impose restrictions on energy use during the hot days of summer. Air conditioning demands in the city were stretching the system to its limits just a couple of months following his contemptible and highly political denial of a routine water quality permit for the Constitution Pipeline. I quoted a New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) report warning of the fast approaching New York energy shortage. Others are also now issuing warnings. There is, in fact, arguably a New York Energy shortage already as Andrew Cuomo fritters time away on politically correct but ineffective solutions.
The NYISO report, Power Trends: The Changing Energy Landscape, sets the stage. Like all things New York, it’s more intent on style than substance offering up this ridiculous bit of virtue signaling at the front-end:
Power Trends 2016 is printed on Mohawk Options 100% PC, which is made with 100% post-consumer recycled fiber, and manufactured entirely with Green-e certified wind-generated electricity.
A little research reveals it’s not even true. The Environmental Profile for the paper indicates the paper is “made Carbon Neutral within Mohawk’s production processes by offsetting thermal manufacturing emissions with Verified Emissions Reduction credits (VERs) and by purchasing enough Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) to match 100% of the electricity used in their operations.” They made the paper using natural gas and electricity at least partially made from natural gas. Then they bought some phony RECs from elsewhere to able to say they used wind to make the paper. You can read about it here. Such is the nature of New York, where pretense is always superior to reality. They do it call it PC, though, which is highly appropriate under the circumstances.
Notwithstanding this nonsense, the report does, at least, identify the problem, after first cloaking it in political correctness (emphasis added):
Today, power plants using natural gas total 57 percent of New York State’s generating capability…
The increasing dependence upon natural gas raises concerns regarding the potential impacts of gas availability on electric system reliability and power costs. Disruptions in natural gas supply and/or delivery can affect the ability of gas-fueled generation to provide power, which could impact electric system reliability.
The growing demand for natural gas by power generators, coupled with uncertainty over the likelihood of future natural gas infrastructure expansions, raises strategic concerns over the gas system’s ability to keep pace with the needs of gas utilities serving residential, commercial and industrial customers, while meeting the expanding needs of gas-fired power plants, especially during peak demand conditions in winter and summer.
PoliticoNY reporter Scott Waldman picked up on this in a very interesting interview he recently did with Pennsylvania Public Utility Commissioner Robert Powelson. The very blunt Powelson had this to say about Andrew Cuomo’s pipeline blocking moves at the behest of the NRDC gang of gentry-class thieves:
The political obstruction is wreaking havoc in the ability to achieve energy policy goals to bring natural gas into the market…
It’s 500 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. This gas has to get to load centers, it has to be driven to markets. If one state says “no, no, no,” then those other states behind that curtain are directly adversely impacted by those decisions, plain and simple.
Powelson also accused Cuomo of “taking 2 hours to watch ’60 Minutes'” in the way of an explanation for the governor’s delays but, that, of course, misses the point. Cuomo isn’t slow or super cautious as much as he is calculating in how to manipulate the situation in which he finds himself. He need to appease the NRDC gang but is intent on doing so in a way that funnels money and power in his direction and furthers his ludicrous presidential ambitions.
Meanwhile, there is a wonderful, but very long, article over at the Empire Center by Kenneth Girardin and Annette Brocks. Titled “Green Overload: New York State’s Ratepayer-Zapping Renewable Energy Mandate,” t’s about Cuomo’s new “Clean Energy Standard” and makes three major points:
1. High Cost—While the governor and the PSC have portrayed the financial impact on ratepayers as minimal, the Clean Energy Standard is likely to add nearly $3.4 billion to New York utility bills in just the next five years.
2. Questionable Feasibility—The 50 by 30 mandate will require the expansion of solar- and wind-generated power production on a massive and unprecedented scale—without providing needed improvements to an already strained electric transmission system. The PSC also failed to consider the added conventional generating capacity needed to back up renewables when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing.
3. Low Impact—The overarching goal of the Clean Energy Standard is to fight projected global warming, but the standard will have a barely discernible impact on global greenhouse gas emissions. Indeed, under the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), reductions in carbon emissions from New York power generators could be offset by an increase in emissions in eight other RGGI states.
The article goes into great detail to support these conclusions. Here’s a sample explaining why a New York Energy Shortage is in the horizon:
The operation of the electrical grid separately requires that a certain amount of generating capacity be available, but not in use, when demand reaches its daily peak. The size of this extra power margin depends on the reliability of generators at the time; because wind turbines and solar panels don’t continuously produce power, the margin needed to back up renewables will be substantially higher than the reserve now needed to back up the state’s current mix of generators.
The margin, which has ranged from 15 to 18 percent for all New York power producers in recent years, will need to climb to between 40 and 45 percent to accommodate the Clean Energy Standard. By the most conservative estimate—assuming the state actually meets its ambitious energy efficiency targets, and thus requires a margin of 40 percent—New York will still need to keep the equivalent of several upstate nuclear reactors available, but not necessarily in use, to back up new solar panels, wind turbines and other renewables. The standard has no provision to address this increased need—meaning the PSC has failed to plan for what happens when the wind is not blowing or the sun is not shining.
Daily demand on the electrical grid peaks each afternoon at about 175 percent of the normal load.38 During those peak-demand periods, land-based wind turbines are expected to be operational only 14 percent of the time and solar farms only 45 percent of the time, according to the NYISO…
In the absence of stored energy, utilities will need to rely on oil- or natural gas-fired generators to meet peak demand. These plants can’t simply be turned on and off as needed: sudden starts cause considerable wear and tear, and it takes time to “ramp” them up to the needed power level—meaning they may end up operating, and emitting carbon dioxide, needlessly. Even when they aren’t operating, these stand-by plants will have maintenance and upkeep costs—which ratepayers must cover in addition to the cost of added renewable generators.
The article also points out this:
The NYISO notes that, according to the PSC’s projections, about 90 percent of New York’s added renewable generation will be in upstate New York. NYISO estimated that the Clean Energy Standard would require 1,000 miles of additional high-voltage transmission lines on top of what is already planned.
Another 1,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines? And, you thought opposition to pipelines was difficult to overcome? Read the whole article. It’s worth digging into and demonstrates the crisis that’s coming.
New York residents and businesses are already paying some of the highest electricity prices in the nation. The Clean Energy Standard is likely to drive prices much higher while producing little, if any, progress towards the goal of reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
Prices, of course, are a reflection of demand and supply. New Yorkers and New Englanders have been temporarily enjoying some of the benefits of natural gas because there is a supply coming to from Pennsylvania. It has brought the cost of gas and, therefore, the region’s high electricity prices down a little. But, this won’t last, as New York is deliberately cutting off opportunities for both itself and New England to access the supply with all its pipeline hold-ups. Yesterday’s Today In Energy post from the Energy Information Administration addresses this:
Residential customers in most areas of the country are seeing lower retail electricity prices this year compared with the same time last year. Declining costs of fuel, especially natural gas, have been a key driver of recent reductions in retail electricity prices. Over the first six months of 2016, the weighted average cost of natural gas delivered to electricity generators was $2.58 per million Btu, 28% lower than in the first half of 2015.
Residential electricity prices in the New England region have fallen by 6% during the first half of 2016 and now average 19.2 cents/kWh. New England electricity prices rose substantially between 2013 and 2014 as a result of a sharp rise in wholesale power prices. Improved supplies of natural gas into the region, along with lower natural gas prices, have contributed to the region’s declining retail electricity rates so far in 2016.
Natural gas prices have been increasing in recent months, and EIA’s latest Short-Term Energy Outlook projects the average delivered cost of natural gas in the last six months of 2016 will be 27% higher than the average cost in the first six months of the year. Because natural gas prices are expected to continue increasing in 2017, EIA also expects average U.S. residential electricity prices to increase 3% in 2017.
This table illustrates:
Because New York (part of the Mid-Atlantic region) and New England have such higher electricity prices at the outset due to limited supplies, they are more subject to swings in the price of natural gas. The average New York State electricity price across all sectors was 14.19 cents per kilowatt-hour (38% higher than adjoining Pennsylvania) and 16.9 cents per kilowatt-hour in New England in July (down 5% and 8%, respectively, from one year earlier. They’ve been getting a bargain but that bargain is about to end due to short-sighted pipeline decisions designed to please the NRDC gang and exhibit political correctness. The New York energy shortage is coming and it’s coming fast.