Don’t Ignore Warning Signs That NY Can’t Meet Timeline For Electric Grid’s Transition

A recent report by the New York Independent System Operator would give most policy makers a serious case of indigestion.

In a state that is pledging to have 70% of its power come from renewable sources by 2030 and be entirely fossil fuel free by 2050, seeing an independent report calling for massive investment in both power generation and power transmission to reach those goals should have alarm bells ringing. By 2040, the state will have to add between 111 gigawatts and 124 gigawatts of generating capacity to meet the state Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act’s mandate to have a fully renewable electric grid. For reference, New York has 37 gigawatts of generating capacity, with 12.9 gigawatts of new generation developed since wholesale electricity markets began more than 20 years ago in 1999.

While calling for unprecedented levels of investment, the report does not put a price tag on the upgrades needed. But, it should be concerning that maintaining reliability during the shift to renewable power relies on technology that doesn’t exist yet.

“Long-duration, dispatchable, and emission-free resources will be necessary to maintain reliability and meet the objectives of the CLCPA. Resources with this combination of attributes are not commercially available at this time but their successful development will be critical to future grid reliability,” the report states.

New York must do what it can to avoid what’s happening in California, where emergency text alerts call on state residents to save energy to avoid rolling power outages because there is too much demand and not enough supply. A 2020 heat wave resulted in rolling blackouts in California, and earlier this year state officials warned California could face a shortfall of 1,700 megawatts of electricity. That shortfall affects between a million and four million California resident.

We’re headed down that road here in New York unless state policy makers realize what California hasn’t — that the state’s arbitrary deadlines can’t be met with existing technology and available funding.

Generating more power from renewable energy sources is a worthy policy goal. fBut even the most worthy goals can be bad policy if they are pursued without acknowledging warning signs telling the state to slow down and act carefully. California is showing New York’s leadership what happens when virtue signaling is placed ahead of the needs of state residents. Let’s not follow their example — a reliable power grid is more important than fossil fuel-free power grid that can’t provide enough electricity to keep the lights on.


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