The centerpiece of the state’s plan is gaining 9 gigawatts of offshore wind power. Assuming opposition to connecting to the grid and technical issues can be overcome, this will not replace even half the current fossil fuel load.
Next is the projected production of solar power from upstate. This will require about 400 square miles of prime upstate farmland at a time when there is a worldwide food shortage and the potential loss of major food production from chronically drought-ridden California. Farmland prices across the U.S. are already escalating rapidly, making opening large-scale solar farms cost prohibitive.
The state’s energy problem is compounded by the fact that the rush to electrify building heat is going to far exceed renewable power installation, while the mandated new electric vehicle and clean truck rules—the best ways to reduce fossil fuel load—are going to add 150% of the existing fossil fuel load to the system. All this new load is being added without the ability to add enough renewables and comes amid the push to close fossil fuel and nuclear plants.
New York’s plan is not revolutionary. Germany has been trying the same thing for more than 30 years. It was failing magnificently since well before the war in Ukraine. Germany was already adding coal plants to its generation mix in December. How is that environmentally friendly?
There is a reason California is on the verge of major blackouts. California recently averted a major statewide power failure by sending out an emergency text message to residents begging them to immediately reduce their electricity use. Obviously, this is not a sustainable approach.
Meanwhile, California has been closing fossil fuel plants, creating the illusion that it is lowering its greenhouse gas footprint, while scouring the western states to import power, much of which is from coal-fired plants with a 67% higher carbon footprint.
New York should absolutely be installing renewable generation sources as quickly as possible. However, idiotic policies calling for the wholesale closure of fossil fuel plants and electrifying major buildings without sufficient power sources to support the process are irresponsible and dangerous. They will result in a breakdown of the electric power supply we rely on and have taken for granted. It is not an exaggeration to state that such measures are life-threatening.
I’ve presented my numbers and analysis to many engineers. Not one has contradicted my conclusions. Even the engineers at the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority have told me they can’t find a problem with my calculations.
There is a reason the New York Power Authority declined to take on the renewable installation project requested by the state. The authority is not anti-environment; it simply knows that the project won’t work.
The state’s energy policymakers need to consider this and so many more indisputable facts and make sensible adjustments before they find themselves texting pleas for all of us to save the power grid by turning off our lights!
Richard Ellenbogen is president of Allied Converters.