What's New

Zack Hutchins
Director of Communications

June 14, 2005

Heat wave shows, again, the need for adding electricity-generating capacity

The early-June heat wave last week stretched the state's ’s electricity-generating capacity to its upper limits, reinforcing the need for more generating capacity in New York and a new law to expedite the process by which power plants are sited.

By mid-afternoon on June 13, New York State was consuming nearly 30,000 megawatts of electricity, close to the state’s record high consumption of 30,983, said Anne Van Buren, director of energy and telecommunications.

What’s more, officials from New York’s Independent System Operator (ISO), which administers New York’s power grid, said especially hot and muggy weather on the previous weekend might have been enough to drive consumption to 32,000 megawatt or beyond had those been work days, Van Buren added.

Energy consumption is typically lower on weekend because most offices are closed and the demand for air conditioning is diminished.

Most summers, New York has some stretches of hot weather that pose significant challenges to New York’s generating capacity, Van Buren said. This is one reason why The Business Council supports creation of a law to replace the old Article X of the Public Service Law. Until legislators let it expire at the end of 2002, that law spelled out a plant-siting process that was more expeditious than the process that replaced it.

Last week, Governor Pataki proposed his own bill to renew Article X. The Governor’s proposal spells out a six-month process for the review of “non-major”power plants and re-powering projects with a net generating output of 50-80 megawatts, and a 12-month process for projects with a net generating output greater than 80 megawatts.

The bill would continue a requirement that entities proposing projects fund community groups to comment on the proposal, including activist groups that oppose the projects.

The bill would also re-authorize a state Energy Planning Board “to ensure adequate supplies, energy efficiency, diversity, renewable resources and delivery capacity for New York’s electric system,” the Governor’s release said. But the bill would reduce the state’s energy-planning horizon from 20 years to 10 years to more realistically reflect energy market changes and energy forecasting capabilities, the release added.

For details on the Governor’s proposal, see his release at www.state.ny.us/governor/press/year05/june07_05-1.htm.