What's New

Zack Hutchins
Director of Communications

July 3, 2001

Industry, government leaders discuss New York's energy needs
Sen. Schumer: Without prompt action, 'tomorrow could be awful' for New York

New York State must move aggressively to address concerns about its energy future - because "if we do nothing, tomorrow could be awful," U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-New York) told a July 2 energy roundtable in New York City.

A number of officials representing state and federal government, industry, and environmental organizations participated in the panel, which was organized by US Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-New York) and Sen. Schumer.

Schumer emphasized "how bad the problem was going to be if we do nothing," and said there has been too little "communication, listening, and cooperation" in the debate to date.

He noted, for example, that he was sharply criticized in some circles for supporting the siting of 10 temporary generators downstate to address expected energy needs this summer. But "if we oppose every plant every time," New York will have major energy problems down the road, he said.

Sen. Clinton also emphasized the need for an open dialogue on energy issues involving all concerned parties.

Other participants in the roundtable included U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-Manhattan), Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, and Assemblyman Paul Tonko (D-Amsterdam), chair of the Assembly Energy Committee.

Ed Reinfurt, vice president of The Business Council, concluded the roundtable by emphasizing that New York must move quickly and decisively to address concerns about its energy future, and must make adding new capacity faster a central focus of its efforts.

Reinfurt noted the growing call for the addition of more electricity generating capacity in New York State, the acceleration of the process by which new plants are sited, and the upgrading of electricity transmission systems and natural gas pipelines.

For example, he said, New York's Independent System Operator, the independent not-for-profit organization that oversees New York's energy markets, has said that New York needs 8,600 new megawatts by 2005. And The Business Council has urged the addition of at least 10,000 new megawatts of baseline capacity to ensure the reliability of the system and a robust competition to drive prices down.

Reinfurt also warned that taking older inefficient plants off line will require adding to the amount of new baseline capacity that New York needs - because all baseline projections about securing New York's energy future are based on the assumption that all existing power plants will say on line.

Also on July 2, another authority on energy in New York added its voice to the call for increasing New York's electricity-generating capacity and accelerating the process by which new plants are sited.

Gavin J. Donohue, executive director of the Independent Power Producers of New York State., Inc. (IPPNY), released IPPNY's "Energy Solutions Program," a five-point plan that also called for: promoting energy conservation; power-sale contracts and financial risk-management techniques to minimize the effects of short-term price volatility; creation of a multistate energy market; and the upgrading of electricity transmission lines.

For a summary of The Business Council's recommendations on state energy policy, visit www.bcnys.org/whatsnew/2001/0618sep.htm. For IPPNY's release on its proposal, visit www.ippny.org.