Approved Environmental Roadmap Puts New York State on a Problematic Path
By Will Barclay
On December 19, as required by the 2019 Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), the Climate Action Council (CAC) approved a framework for reducing carbon emissions in New York State. As expected, the Final Scoping Plan raised a number of red flags regarding energy grid reliability, costs and feasibility, and does not fully take into account the concerns raised by key stakeholders.
I expressed serious concerns about draft versions of the plan. Among the primary concerns are the plan’s unrealistic timeline to transition to a renewables-only energy grid and the still-undefined costs associated with overhauling the state’s energy sector.
No one questions the need for responsible energy policy that includes clean and renewable power sources in the future. But this plan simply isn’t based in reality. What has been presented disregards the unprecedented costs needed to implement these changes and what consumers are going to be forced to pay at a time when affordability concerns have never been higher. This plan leaves our energy grid critically vulnerable to extreme seasonal weather and puts residents in serious jeopardy of not having power during emergencies. Energy policy without reliable energy production isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.
Policy analysts in New York have made bleak predictions about the plan. The Empire Center for Public Policy estimates energy deficits could create a supply shortage of as much as 10% by 2040. The Assembly Minority Conference has repeatedly expressed these concerns, which are shared by both the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) and New York State Reliability Council (NYSRC). There are also concerns surrounding the need to rush implementation of the plan as the CLCPA only impacts New York, which contributes just 0.4% of total global emissions.
Now that the Scoping Plan has been approved, new regulations will be developed by the state Department of Environmental Conservation, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and other relevant state agencies. This will amount to a complete overhaul of New York’s energy sector. As such, Assemblyman Phil Palmesano (R,C-Corning), ranking member on the Assembly Energy Committee, authored legislation (A.7524) to require a full cost-benefit analysis of the CLCPA before its full implementation.
“Clean and renewable energy should be part of our state’s energy portfolio and policy; however, affordability and reliability are of paramount importance and must be addressed,” Palmesano said. “It is imperative that a full and transparent cost-benefit analysis take place to let our citizens know the true and total actual financial costs this will have on them, our business community and our state before moving forward with the full implementation of the CLCPA. The CAC has repeatedly ignored our requests and their Integration Analysis clearly did not provide these transparent details and cost impacts on ratepayers – seniors, families, farmers, small businesses and manufacturers.”
Will Barclay (R,C,I-Pulaski) is the NYS Assembly Minority Leader.