No state, other than California, is more politically correct than New York, where PC is gospel and energy political correctness reaches the lunatic fringe.
The winds of political correctness always stir first in either California or New York, the two lunatic fringe states of the union. New York also has an additional element of corruption on the order of Illinois, making it the king of the hill when it comes to wacky environmentalism. Energy political correctness is the underlying philosophy of so much of what happens in the Emperor State because it offers opportunity for both demagoguery and graft. Fracking was killed “at this time” for the sake of appeasing the trust-funder gods from the NRDC gang and solar hedge fund investors. Pipelines have been stymied even as gas consumption grows with a view to forcing acceptance of a Clean Energy Program designed to produce 80% less greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. It’s energy political correctness or bust and, therefore, bust it will be.
Regular reader and occasional guest blogger from the Granite State, Patrick Leary, set me a link last night to the Manhattan Institute’s new report on the high price of energy political correctness in New York. It’s entitled “New York’s Clean Energy Programs: The High Cost of Symbolic Environmentalism” and is stuffed with hard data critiquing New York’s insane Clean Energy Standard (CES), which is intended to reduce the state’s GHG emissions 80% below 1990 levels by 2050 (the “80 by 50” mandate).
There is so much in this report that needs attention and I urge readers to check it out. My own eyes, though, were especially drawn to these paragraphs, which rang especially true based on my own experience and research:
If New York were to meet the 80 by 50 mandate solely with new solar PV, the state would need to install 9,000–11,000 MW of solar capacity each year. By comparison, according to data published by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), about 11,270 MW of new solar PV (both small-scale and utility-scale) was installed in the entire U.S. in 2016.59 Similarly, New York’s first offshore wind plant, a 90-MW facility located off Montauk, Long Island, is not scheduled to be online until 2022. Meeting the CES thus would require installing over 3,000 MW of offshore wind capacity each year through 2050, or 4,500 MW of onshore wind each year. By comparison, in 2016, a total of 8,200 MW of onshore wind generation was installed in the entire country.
Installing this much wind or solar capacity also would require vast areas. The energy density of utility-scale solar PV (which typically means installations with an installed capacity of 1 MW or more) is about 8 acres/MW, depending on the size of the facility. Based on this land-use value, meeting the CES mandate with in-state, utility-scale solar PV would require covering an area of between 2.4 million and 3.0 million acres with solar panels, equivalent to between about 3,800 and 4,600 square miles. By comparison, Manhattan is 22 square miles. Therefore, at a minimum, the footprint for solar energy needed to meet the CES would be roughly equal to 172 Manhattan islands. Even if solar PV became more efficient and required only 7 acres/MW, the total required land area would still be between 2.1 million and 2.6 million acres, equivalent to between 3,300 and 4,000 square miles.
We can similarly examine the land-use requirements for wind generation. According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the energy density—that is, the project footprint for both onshore and offshore wind projects—is about 3 watts per square meter. A bit of math shows that this means 1,000 MW of wind capacity would require about 131 square miles of land. Thus, installing 150,000 MW of onshore wind would require almost 20,000 square miles of land, or 12.8 million acres.
According to the NYDPS Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the CES, a total of 1.3 million acres—or 2,031 square miles—is suitable for wind power development in the entire state, nearly all of it located in New York’s western and northern sections.
Even if all 2,031 square miles could be used, it would support only one-tenth of the required wind capacity, and that’s without accounting for reserve or storage capacity needed to address wind intermittency.
Moreover, because there is increasing local opposition to siting onshore wind facilities upstate, the prospect of installing thousands of new onshore wind turbines seems unrealistic at present. Additionally, because most of this wind capacity would be located far from southeastern New York, where electricity demand is highest, and because of existing west-to-east and north-to-south transmission constraints, billions of dollars of additional costs would be incurred to build transmission capacity to deliver all that wind-generated electricity.
There it is—in a few short paragraphs—exactly what so many of us have been saying about Mark Jacobson’s absurd renewable schemes, pushed so hard by Tony Ingraffea and others who know nothing of what it’s like to have to confront rooms filled with opponents of solar and wind projects in their backyards. I do know. I’ve been there in both cases. I know how ridiculous the idea of covering Upstate New York with solar and wind farms that make no sense without massive subsidies really is. It’s not just paddling upstream but trying to do so with no paddles and your hands tied behind your back.
It will not work. It cannot work. Throw in the need to replace Indian Point and meet the growing gas needs of New Yorkers and you have a gigantic crisis down the road, after Andrew “Corruptocrat” Cuomo has moved on ahead of it. That’s how Andy has always worked, of course. His actions in precipitating the mortgage lending crisis by promoting sub-prime home construction loans when he was at HUD are well-known, but the crap didn’t hit the fan until he was long gone and back in New York making deals and building his resume to run for Governor. That’s how New York politics works and ordinary New Yorkers will be left to pay the bills for his energy political correctness.