January 2, 2002
Council urges members to comment on draft state energy plan
The Business Council is planning to testify on the state's draft energy plan in the weeks ahead, and is asking its members for their views on the draft in order to shape that testimony.
The state Energy Board released its draft plan in December, and will conduct eight public hearings around the state at which the business community can comment on the draft, said Johnny Evers, the Council's legislative analyst specializing in energy issues.
In addition, the Energy Board will discuss the technical details of the draft plan at a briefing session January 15th in Albany.
The Business Council has been closely monitoring the development of the plan, Evers noted. For example, in June, The Council wrote to the board urging a plan that emphasizes essential enhancements to the state's energy capacity and infrastructure.
In particular, The Council is strongly advocating a state energy plan plan that calls for:
- Adding more than 9,000 megawatts of electricity-generating capacity over the next five years.
- Streamlining and accelerating the state's plant-siting process.
- Investing in essential improvements to the state's electricity-transmission systems and natural-gas pipelines.
Increasing capacity, accelerating plant-siting, and improving infrastructure must be priorities if the state is to foster economic growth, sustain the reliability of its energy systems, and generate robust competition that is the state's only long-term hope for driving energy costs down, The Council argued in its June 15 letter to the board.
The Council's testimony on the draft energy plan will continue to emphasize these priorities, Evers noted. He urged Business Council members to read the plan and to comment themselves at one of the public hearings and/or to share their opinions with The Business Council as it prepares its testimony.
The state Energy Board is chaired by William Flynn, chairman of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). The other four board members are: Joseph H. Boardman, commissioner of the state Department of Transportation; Erin Crotty, commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC); Charles Gargano, commissioner of Empire State Development (ESD); and Maureen Helmer, chair of the state Public Service Commission (PSC).