Robert Bryce: New York’s Wind Power-Play Smacks Into Reality

andrew cuomo

New York State’s Governor is grappling with a confirmed case of ‘Wind Turbine Syndrome’, the obvious signs of which are that he’s hell-bent on following the path set by the Germans and South Australians on the road to economic and social disaster.

However, unlike the lunatics in charge of those energy calamities, before he has even got started, Cuomo has been smacked in the face with the reality of what comes with an unreliable and intermittent power source, that was abandoned centuries ago, for pretty obvious reasons:

May 2015 National

Andrew Cuomo’s plans to carpet the upper reaches of his state with these things, has been called out by the New York Independent System Operator, the agency charged with managing the state’s grid, pointing out the bleeding obvious: these things don’t work.

Here’s Robert Bryce detailing the stoush between Cuomo and his ‘moonbeam and pixie dust’ crowd, and the ‘spoilsports’ who actually know how power is produced and delivered, affordably and reliably.

Upstate Power Play
City Journal
Robert Bryce
28 July 2016

New York governor Andrew Cuomo’s renewable-energy ambitions are running headlong into the hard realities of maintaining a reliable electric grid.

On July 8, the New York Independent System Operator, the agency charged with managing the state’s grid, provided comments on the governor’s plan to require utilities to get 50 percent of their electricity from renewables by 2030.

The NYISO maintains that to keep the lights on, the state will have to spend heavily on new transmission infrastructure to accommodate more renewables, preserve all of its nuclear capacity (including the controversial Indian Point Energy Center), and build even more onshore wind-energy capacity in upstate communities.

Five days after the NYISO filed its comments, Cuomo’s energy czar, Richard Kauffman, fired off an angry—and rather bizarre—letter to Brad Jones, the NYISO president and CEO. Calling the grid operator’s comments “misleading, incomplete, and grossly inaccurate,” Kauffman claimed that the NYISO showed “an alarming lack” of understanding of “how a modern grid can be developed and operated.”

Kauffman apparently wanted a political response from the NYISO. Instead, he got a technical one. Indeed, the NYISO’s comments are straightforward. The grid operator pointed out that about 90 percent of the new renewable-energy generation needed to meet Cuomo’s targets will be located in upstate New York.

Given the distance between those upstate generation sources and the main population centers located in the southern and eastern parts of the state, the NYISO concluded that “nearly 1,000 miles of new bulk power transmission” will have to be built over the next decade and a half.

This likely upset Kauffman because high-voltage transmission lines are costly and difficult to site. Indeed, rural residents across the country have waged lengthy battles to stop construction of transmission lines through their neighborhoods. It’s readily apparent that rural New Yorkers will resist such plans as well.

The NYISO also made it clear that Cuomo will have to change his tune on nuclear energy. “Retaining all existing nuclear generators is critical to the State’s carbon emission reduction requirements as well as maintaining electric system reliability,” the agency wrote.

For years, Cuomo has pushed for the closure of Indian Point, though the twin-reactor, 2,069-megawatt facility provides up to one quarter of New York City’s electricity. Now the governor appears to have gotten the message.

About ten days after the NYISO published its comments, the Cuomo administration said that it would be willing to include nuclear energy as part of the state’s Clean Energy Standard. That’s important, because late last year, Entergy Corporation announced that it planned to close its 838-megawatt FitzPatrick Nuclear Power Plant in Oswego by early 2017.

On Monday, the New York Public Service Commission will vote on a proposal that will provide about $1 billion per year in subsidies to the state’s nuclear plants to keep them operating.

While giving subsidies to big utilities is hardly an ideal outcome, the move recognizes the difficulty that utilities are having in keeping their reactors in operation—especially when they have to compete against highly subsidized sources like wind and solar.

The NYISO also provided some remarkable numbers on the amount of renewable-energy capacity that will be needed to meet Cuomo’s 50 percent goal. It projected that the state will need nearly to triple its installed wind-energy capacity.

That means that New York, which now has  about 1,750 megawatts of wind-generation capacity, will have to add another 3,500 megawatts of onshore wind. That will require covering roughly 450 square miles of land with wind turbines—a territory nearly as large as Albany County, which covers 523 square miles. Where will New York put those thousands of new wind turbines? Upstate, of course.

But an increasing number of upstate communities are already battling against the encroachment of Big Wind.

Earlier this month, lawmakers in Jefferson County voted against giving tax breaks for wind and solar projects because the projects don’t create enough benefits for local communities. In April, the town of Clayton imposed a six-month moratorium (later upheld by the state supreme court) on applications for new wind-energy projects.

Last July, the Town Board of Catlin passed a law prohibiting wind projects after Florida-based NextEra Energy proposed a $200 million project in the town. In 2014, after a decade-long fight, oil-and-gas giant BP announced that it was abandoning plans to build a 200-megawatt wind project near Cape Vincent amid fierce opposition from local residents. In 2007, the western Catskills town of Bovina also banned wind projects.

Three upstate counties—Erie, Orleans, and Niagara—as well as the towns of Yates and Somerset are all fighting a proposed 200-megawatt project called Lighthouse Wind.

A few months ago, I interviewed Yates supervisor James J. Simon, who told me that the fight against Lighthouse Wind is “about trying to preserve our rural agricultural landscape.” An associate dean at Genesee Community College, Simon wasn’t active in politics until now. The attitude of the pro-wind forces, he says, is “you all are small potatoes and we are going to cram this down your throat.”

According to the NYISO, along with pushing thousands of new wind turbines on upstate residents, the state will also need to add nearly 10 gigawatts of new solar capacity over the next 14 years.

That’s roughly equal to all the combined solar capacity of Spain and Australia. And the NYISO expects that the majority of that new solar capacity (6.8 gigawatts) will have to be utility-scale solar—meaning huge swaths of land covered in nothing but PV panels. Where will these massive solar arrays be located? Yep—upstate.

Maybe it was the publication of these eye-popping numbers that angered Cuomo’s energy czar. In his letter to Jones, Kauffman claimed that the NYISO is “held captive” by the state’s electric utilities and that it lacks “understanding into the imperative to address climate change.”

To hear the Cuomo administration tell it, the NYISO—an independent nonprofit whose principal job is assuring electrical reliability for 19 million New Yorkers—is both incompetent and corrupt. Kauffman’s letter—combined with the looming fight over hundreds of miles of high-voltage transmission lines and thousands of new wind turbines—shows that Cuomo’s renewable-energy plans are headed for some nasty political fights.
City Journal

robert bryce 2

Robert Bryce: not a believer in pixie dust power.

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.

Comments

  1. 4TimesAYear says:

    Reblogged this on 4timesayear's Blog.

  2. estherfonc says:

    Hi,

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  3. Congratulations to the NYISO for doing proper engineering, sadly the UK National Grid and Australian AEMO have been captured by the Green Blob, and they make money from any “energy transition”. The key factor here may be that NYISO is a rare non-profit voice in a babble of oinks from organisations milking the consumer.

  4. Thank you to @StopTheseThings for posting Mr. Bryce’s good article on the reality – or rather, the lack-there-of, of NY Governor Cuomo’s mad plan to cover New York State with more wind factories (and solar arrays), despite the fact that the New York State grid operator has told them that it can NOT work!

    I posted a question to Mr. Bryce on the article’s original site, regarding his figures in the article as to how much more wind it would take to meet Cuomo’s insane 50% ‘renewables’ by 2030 ‘green’ energy mandate. Oddly enough, after I posted the question, my comment and all the rest of the comments to the article suddenly disappeared – Something I’m used to happening on far left websites, but not so much from sites posting Mr. Bryce’s articles. This is the question I posed to Mr. Bryce:

    “Mr. Robert Bryce, I have a question regarding this statement in your article: “That means that New York, which now has about 1,750 megawatts of wind-generation capacity, will have to add another 3,500 megawatts of onshore wind.”

    New York’s first wind factories were built in 2000 (Madison & Wethersfield). At that time, New York State was already receiving approximately 50% of its electricity generation from emissions-free sources — 19% from hydro, 29% from nuclear, and 1% from all “Other Renewables” (wind, solar, geothermal, biofuels, etc). Unfortunately, nuclear’s significant contribution is NOT counted towards NY’s ’emissions-free’ goal.

    15+ years, 20 installed wind factories, and tens (if not 100’s) of $Billions of taxpayer and ratepayer dollars thrown into the development of ‘renewables’ later, New York State is now getting 23% from hydro, 30% from nuclear, and 3% from all “Other Renewables” (wind, solar, geothermal, biofuels, etc).

    If all those $Billions of dollars have only managed to garner a few measly percent of NY’s electricity generation from wind over the past 15 years, HOW is New York State adding double the current installed wind capacity that’s already been built in NY, going to magically get us to 50% over the next 15 years??? It just doesn’t add up.

    And even if the entire State of New York were covered with industrial wind sprawl, New York’s wind factories are operating at an average 24% of rated capacity. Industrial Wind can obviously NOT replace conventional generation sources that provide reliable, dispatchable baseload power.”

  5. Reblogged this on Patti Kellar and commented:
    Careful, New York is going to look an awful lot like Ontario. And if they do, who (besides Quebec) will want to buy the power we produce and don’t need?

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