The Price of Ignorance: New York State’s Approaching Energy Disaster

naturalgasnowTom Shepstone
Shepstone Management Company, Inc.

The soon to come closing of Indian Point demands dispatchable replacement energy New York State is fighting every step of the way. Energy disaster awaits.

There was a remarkable story in the Middletown Times-Herald-Record on Saturday. It was lengthier, better researched and more balanced than I’m accustomed to seeing in that tabloid. THR articles seldom get the facts correct, are notoriously biased and always aim for the hype. This was different. It was about the reality of the situation New York faces if it is to avoid an energy disaster when the Indian Point nuclear station goes off-line thanks to Governor Andrew Cuomo.

What comes through in the article, more than anything else, is how determined some New Yorkers are to deny this reality. The reporter obviously dug deep enough to realize there’s no avoiding the need for more natural gas to avoid energy disaster. By this, I mean blackouts like the one that hit New York City and the surrounding region in 1965. It was bad enough that Governor Nelson Rockefeller called up the 42nd infantry division in response. There was another in 1977:

Here is the telling introduction to the story:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Louisiana-based Entergy, owner and operator of Indian Point, announced in January 2017 that the two nuclear reactors on-site would cease operations early — Unit 2 on April 30, 2020, and Unit 3 a year later.

The state now must replace 2,083 megawatts of power virtually free of carbon emissions — enough to supply about 2 million homes. Indian Point provides 25 percent of the power for New York City and Westchester and about 11 percent for the entire state.

From there, the article proceeds to quote the differing perspectives of environmentalists and those charged with the very real responsibility for ensuring there is adequate power and energy disaster is avoided. The latter point out the simple facts, noting natural gas is the main source of electrical energy in New York.The arguments from the former, though, are typically thin and ideological in nature. Here’s a sample:

“The lights will stay on when Indian Point closes,” said Hayley Carlock, director of environmental advocacy for Scenic Hudson. She added that “we can’t continue building new natural gas plants in 2018, 2022 or 2028.”

No facts are necessary to the Scenic Hudson crowd funded to ensure, that above all else, the scenic views enjoyed by the gentry class are protected. She simply asserts the lights will stay on and no more gas plants are needed. Similar vacuous comments are made by others, including this magnificently stupid comment by Hudson Riverkeeper Paul Galley who said the state doesn’t need the new CPV power plant in Orange County that will help replace Indian Point:

“You don’t need that plant,” Galley said. “You don’t need carbon emissions. You don’t need pollution.”

The author explains, though, that  “subtracting Indian Point power from the state’s grid occurs against the backdrop of a Cuomo-administration push to boost the share of the state’s power generated by renewables — 28 percent in 2017 — to 50 percent or more by 2030, and to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 40 percent in the same time period.” He then points out the projects on the drawing board are mostly natural gas (1,795 megawatts) or dual fuel (750 MW) with renewables accounting for something on the order of 900 MW.

What’s not mentioned is that natural gas has a capacity factor of two or more times the renewables, which means fossil fuel plants being added will, in reality, contribute something over 1,500 MW of real power versus the less than 300 MW from renewables. More importantly, the natural gas power is dispatchable and can be called up at any time when needed, whereas the renewables are intermittent and typically unavailable when most needed. The costs of the renewables, moreover, vastly exceed those of natural gas when the subsidies are fully accounted for in the analysis.

Also, it’s crucial to understand New York State’s high share of renewable now is almost attributable to hydroelectric energy developed decades ago by Robert Moses, the original power-broker. It also keeps New York’s high electricity costs much cheaper than they would otherwise be. But…it’s not replicable. Scenic Hudson, now also opposed to low-carbon natural gas and carbon-free nuclear, ensured that with its leisure class war against the  Storm King hydroelectric project.

Scenic Hudson does like the proposed “Champlain Hudson Power Express,” a 333-mile, 1,000 MW “underwater and underground transmission line that would carry surplus hydropower from Canada to Queens.” If you think that’ll be easy, though, consider what the folks in the Town of Stony Point in Rockland County think about it:

The town seems to be a casualty of a deal struck between Governor Andrew Cuomo, the Scenic Hudson and Riverkeeper environmental groups and the project’s corporate owners Transmission Developers, Inc. (funded by the Blackstone equity group). More on that later.

The concept behind CHPE is offensive on its face. After overregulating North Rockland’s power plants to the detriment of the local economy, CHPE promises to deliver 1,000 megawatts of Canadian hydroelectric energy to New York City via underground transmission wires, the vast majority of that electricity traveling in wires placed deep beneath the bed of the Hudson River. The job creation claims and the economic benefits of Canadian power (rather than home-grown energy) are dubious at best…

The insult that compounds Stony Point’s CHPE-induced injury is that there has never been a real reason made public as to why the project needs to run inland in the area of Stony Point. The Scenic Hudson and Riverkeeper environmental groups are credited with convincing the governor to move the lines inland at this location due to claims the Haverstraw Bay is an environmentally sensitive nesting ground for threatened species of fish…

The needless disturbance Cuomo and the environmentalists are forcing upon the Town of Stony Point makes one wonder if there is something else going on. Something political. Something given all the corruption allegations, not difficult to imagine.

Nothing is easy in New York and that’s the point. The gentry leisure class has all the power and won’t let anything happen that could impinge on its privilege.

Therefore, things are pushed elsewhere. Other opposition predictably then emerges and stalemate ensues. Leaders push their heads down into the sand pretending renewables will solve a problem they cannot possibly rectify. Even if there were enough money in New York to convert every energy source to renewables—and there isn’t—there would still be a need for more gas plants to supply energy when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow, creating redundant systems and exploding energy costs. Absent gas, energy disaster is simply guaranteed.

energy disaster

Indian Point

Energy disaster, in fact, is just around the corner, and Governor Corruptocrat flirts with it daily. As the article points out, his DEC, which is completely under his political thumb, has yet to issue certain permits for the CPV power plant so essential to replacing Indian Point power. He also opposes pipelines at every opportunity and has stopped fracking “at this time.” He panders to the know-nothing environmental shills financed by the gentry leisure class to preserve their scenic vistas and enable their land acquisitions. Meanwhile, as his political maneuver to close Indian Point moves closer to really happening, all New Yorkers face potential energy disaster.

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4 thoughts on “The Price of Ignorance: New York State’s Approaching Energy Disaster

  1. With all the unrest in Canada, even if CHPE were to go through, are the Quebeckers “stable” enough to keep a steady transmission of power?

  2. As a lifetime NYer it’s easy to see what happens next. Cuomo and then his Dem successor will shrug their shoulders while it all plays out. Costs will shoot up. Taxpayers will bail out the poor/lazy/generational welfare crowd who can’t afford the new rates, after Cuomo or successor play the hero by announcing a special program to help them.

  3. NY liberals are willing to sacrifice modern day living for futuristic dreams turning time backwards. They would eat their own children before admitting that fossil fuels cannot be replaced in the future for decades, allowing the destruction of the advancement of life

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