June 19, 2002
New state Energy Plan recommends more capacity, reauthorized siting law
The new state Energy Plan calls for an increase in New York's energy capacity and a reauthorization of the state's power-plant siting law-two essential steps toward a secure energy future, according to The Business Council's energy expert.
But the plan also recomends strict new limits on some existing power plants that imperil their continued operation, said Johnny Evers, The Council's energy-policy analyst.
Released June 19 by the state Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the 2002 Energy Plan offers policy guidance for energy-related decisions by government and private market participants for the next four years, a NYSERDA release said.
The plan recommends, among other things:
- A combination of increased capacity and "demand reductions" totaling 5,000-7,000 "in the early years of the planning period."
Such an increase in capacity is necessary but not sufficient, Evers said.
In strong testimony on the plan and in other reports, The Council has consistently argued that New York must add at least 9,200 megawatts of new generating capacity within five years to sustain growth, foster competition, and ensure reliability, he noted.
Moreover, conservation is valuable and necessary but cannot take the place of essential new sources of power, he added.
- Add new natural gas pipeline capacity to meet growing demand for all sectors of the economy.
The Council strongly supports increases in New York's natural gas pipeline infrastructure, especially interstate "mainline" capacity, he said.
- A reduction, by 2010, in primary energy use to 25 percent below the 1990 level of energy use.
The Council has reminded policymakers that prosperity and growth are powered by power, and inattention to new needs for capacity created by growth led to California's recent energy crisis. Reducing consumption does not eliminate the ongoing need for more baseline generating capacity, Evers said.
- A goal for reducing "greenhouse gas" emissions 5 percent below 1990 levels by 2010 and 10 percent below 1990 by 2020.
"While certain state initiatives make sense, such as energy conservation incentives, we oppose state-mandated CO2 reductions on utilities or manufacturers as being too costly given their limited impact on addressing the global issue of climate change, and their significant impact on the state's economy," said Ken Polaksky, The Council's specialist in environmental policy.
- Re-authorization of Article X of the state Public Service Law, which governs the siting of new electric generating facilities.
The Council strongly supports an approach to re-authorization that emphasizes streamlining the process.
- A commitment to "fuel diversity" in meeting New York's energy needs.
The Council has argued that fuel diversity in New York must include a balance of power plants fueled by natural gas, oil, coal, and nuclear power, Evers noted. The state Energy Plan mentions those priorities and also emphasizes reliance on indigenous and renewable energy sources as well as energy efficiency and demand-management programs.