Environmental Justice campaign to replace New York City peaking power plants

Reposted from Dr. Judith Curry’s Climate Etc.

Posted on April 2, 2021 by curryja | 

by Roger Caiazza

Environmental justice organizations are currently a major driver of environmental regulation in New York. A new report “The Fossil Fuel End Game, A frontline vision to retire New York City’s peaker plants by 2030” illustrates the campaign strategy they are using to shut down peaking power plants in New York City.  Unfortunately their claims are based more on emotion than fact.


In the spring of 2020 Physicians, Scientists, and Engineers (PSE) for Healthy Energy released a report Opportunities for Replacing Peaker Plants with Energy Storage in New York State.  The text for the New York specific report describes the alleged problem:

Across New York, 49 oil- and gas-fired peaker power plants and peaking units at larger plants help meet statewide peak electric demand.  These include both combustion turbines designed to ramp quickly to meet peak demand, and aging steam turbines now used infrequently to meet peak needs. More than a third of New York’s peaker plants burn primarily oil, and three-quarters are over 30 years old resulting in numerous inefficient plants with high rates of greenhouse gas and criteria pollutant emissions for every unit of electricity generated. Some of these plants are in very urban areas: ten plants have more than a million people living within three miles. One-third of the plants are located in areas the state considers to be environmental justice communities, where vulnerable populations typically already experience high levels of health and environmental burdens. New York has set energy storage targets and recently designed peaker plant emission reduction targets, providing an opportunity to replace inefficient, high-emitting peaker plants in vulnerable communities throughout the state with energy storage and solar.

These findings were picked up on by the New York City PEAK Coalition.  They released a report in June 2020 entitled: “Dirty Energy, Big Money”.  Most recently they followed up with The Fossil Fuel End Game, a frontline vision to retire New York City’s peaking power plants by 2030.  The campaign is succeeding because the New York Senate passed the Pollution Justice Act of 2021 on March 3, 2021 that mandates that the peaking power plants have to be retired consistent with these reports.

This campaign is deeply flawed from the get go.  The premise is wrong because peaking power plants are not inherently bad because they provide critical support to the electric system when needed most and that will be the focus of this post. The rationale is incorrect that these peaking power plants are directly affecting air quality in adjacent environmental justice neighborhoods because the health impacts are claimed from secondary pollutants that do not form before they are transported away from the neighborhood.  Replacing all the peaking plants in the time frame as suggested is extremely risky because the technology available today is not up to the task.

In this post I am going to concentrate on the reason for peaking power plants rather than the holes in the environmental arguments against them.  For more information on those aspects, I refer readers to posts on my blog.   The first post on the Peak Coalition report provided information on the primary air quality problem associated with these facilities, the organizations behind the report, the State’s response to date, the underlying issue of environmental justice and addressed the motivation for the analysis.  The second post addressed the rationale and feasibility of the proposed plan relative to environmental effects, affordability, and reliability.  I also discussed the original report Opportunities for Replacing Peaker Plants with Energy Storage in New York State document that provided technical information used by the PEAK Coalition.  I  summarized all three of these technical posts in simpler fashion.  I looked at the trends of inhalable particulates in New York City relative to the claims of a dire health threat.  Finally, I recently wrote a post on the Pollution Justice Act.

New York has implemented rules to replace the old, inefficient and dirty combustion turbines that are a real problem.  I believe it is more appropriate to allow the load-serving entities, generators, and system operators to consider alternatives and implement proven solutions that are cost-effective and enhance rather than risk reliability with new alternatives until those alternatives have been fully vetted.

Blackouts and Peaking Power Plants

There is a long history of blackouts in New York City (NYC).  After a blackout in July 2019 AMNY published a brief history of blackouts in New York City.  In 1959 and 1961 surges in electrical use caused blackouts and “The outage spurred changes to better protect the city’s power grid from future blackouts”.  The 1965 blackout was the first regional blackout and was caused by a transmission problem in Ontario causing a wave of disruptions in the transmission system.  Over 30 million people and 80,000 square miles in Ontario, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont were left without power for up to 13 hours. As part of the response to that event New York set up a power pool to manage electricity generation and transmission. 

The over-arching issue for electricity reliability in New York City is geography.  Most of New York City is on islands so there is a natural load pocket.  There was another blackout in 1977 that was limited to NYC directly related to the load pocket.  It was caused by storms cutting off transmission into the City and in-City generation being unable to replace the load.  Without sufficient local power, protective devices turn off overloaded lines and transformers to prevent physical damage to the equipment and this led to the outages.  As a result of this blackout, reliability constraints were implemented to ensure that when storms threaten transmission into the City that sufficient in-City generation is available to prevent a re-occurrence.  In 2003 there was another regional blackout caused by a computer software problem.  Grid operators identified the cause and then developed procedures to prevent it from happening again.  In 2012 tropical storm Sandy caused massive blackouts exacerbated by flood protection weaknesses.  Since then, there have been massive investments to strengthen the infrastructure to prevent a reoccurrence. Note that after every blackout the electric system owners and operators have developed strategies to prevent a reoccurrence.

The New York State Reliability Council is an independent entity “whose mission is to promote and preserve the reliability of electric service on the New York State Power System by developing, maintaining, and, from time-to-time, updating the Reliability Rules which shall be complied with by the New York Independent System Operator (“NYISO”) and all entities engaging in electric transmission, ancillary services, energy and power transactions on the New York State Power System”.   Among their rules that govern reliability are those that address the strategies developed after these blackouts. It turns out that that New York City’s peaking power plants are part of those strategies and are needed to provide additional in-City generation within short periods of time. 

Releasing the report less than a month since the Texas energy debacle should give pause to the organizers of this campaign to consider the ramifications of what happened there to New York reliability requirements.  While there have been reports that dozens of deaths are tied to the storm in Texas, experts say the death toll is likely far larger. Just how many won’t be known for weeks or months.  The blackouts cost the state economy upward of $130 billion in damages and losses, and some people who did have power saw their bills spike by thousands of dollars. Grid operators say that the situation could actually have been a lot worse, with the system minutes away from a months long blackout

Clearly the history of blackouts shows that they pose an enormous risk that should be avoided if possible.

Fossil Fuel End Game Report

The report claims to be the “first detailed strategic and policy road map to retire and replace an entire city’s fossil-fuel peaker power plants”. It lays out a community-led strategy to replace about half of New York City’s existing fleet of polluting peaker plants with a combination of offshore wind, distributed solar, energy efficiency, and battery storage by 2025. They claim that the remaining peaker plants could be reliably and cost-effectively replaced with this mix of resources by 2030.

In order to evaluate their alternatives, we need to understand how they think peaking plants are used. The report points out that:

“Electricity from peaker plants is the most expensive energy resource in the system as it comes from centrally-located assets that are used infrequently but must be paid for and maintained to allow availability at times of peak demand. Central location, low utilization and the need for technologies that provide flexibility drive the costs of generation way above those from other energy assets.  For this reason, peaker owners charge for the electricity they produce, and more importantly, also charge for the availability of their resources during system peaks. Such availability is paid through the capacity market, designed to ensure that the system has enough capacity to provide energy during the times of highest energy demand. While NYC is not the only region with a capacity market, it has some of the highest capacity prices in the country. When capacity costs are averaged over the hours of operation, peaker electricity in New York City is up to 1,300% more expensive than the average cost of electricity in the rest of the state.”

It is frustrating to me that the authors don’t recognize the value of assets that provide power when it is needed most.  It is also telling that Texas does not have a capacity market.  In order to ensure power is available whenever it is needed ratepayers have to cover the costs for that availability.  In that light the relatively low costs of Texas electricity do not appear to be such a good deal now.

The report goes on:

Another factor that makes peaker energy more expensive than average is operational inefficiency caused by technological limitations and distribution constraints. For example, there are costs associated with turning on and off certain generating assets that lead plant managers to run them at uneconomic times, driving up consumer costs and increasing local emissions. From a market perspective, peakers are also called to run uneconomically to ensure local reliability. According to the state’s Market Monitor, Potomac Economics, supplemental commitment of NYC’s peakers occurs frequently to increase the amount of supply available in real-time for local load pocket reliability.  Those requirements ensure that there are enough resources to meet load in case of a problem such as the loss of the two largest Bulk Power System elements supporting a particular load pocket, for example, the loss of multiple central generators due to contingencies in the natural gas system. This supplemental commitment tends to undermine market incentives for efficiently meeting reliability requirements and often uplifts market prices, which are eventually passed on to customers. Some of these costs could be alleviated through market reforms or through deployment of modern inverter-based resources like locally-sited battery storage which could provide valuable operating reserves in these load pockets. In 2019, NYC accounted for 87 percent of the State’s total reliability commitment.

These factors are outside my area of expertise but it is my understanding that many of these issues are legacies from the switch from a regulated, vertically integrated utility to New York’s de-regulated market.  Consolidated Edison designed the generation, transmission, and distribution system when they were responsible for all three aspects of the system.  When the market was de-regulated ownership of these assets was not necessarily chosen to ensure operational efficiency.  Anecdotally I have heard from colleagues that it is not clear how these units are dispatched so I suspect at least some of these criticisms have merit.

The report acknowledges that “peakers play an important role in supporting reliable electric service for New Yorkers” and points out that some of them also “produce steam that feeds the city’s “district heating” system, providing heat and cooling to many buildings in Manhattan”.  However, the report offers no recommendations how the steam system would be replaced with their recommended technology.

The analysis evaluates historical data to develop a replacement plan: “More specifically, the peaker fleet was analyzed on a unit-by-unit, hourly basis using historic generation profiles as reported to the EPA for the years 2017, 2018 and 2019”.  Therein lies the a problem.  They argue that over those three years the full capacity of the fleet of peakers in New York City has not been required to meet peaking needs in NYC but because New York’s reliability rules are based on loss of load expectation over ten years their time frame is too short.

They also argue that “In 2018, the year with the most challenging peak, only 4,790 MW out of 6,200 MW (or about 77% of total peaking capacity) was ever used simultaneously. Moreover, more than half of the peaker fleet is rarely used simultaneously, in fact, this only happened during 44 hours of the year (0.5% of the time) and in very short event durations.”  They also analyze operating characteristics. “An analysis of the peaker starts and run duration showed that many of the peakers run for relatively short durations that could be served by energy storage at competitive costs”.  As mentioned before, the short duration of their evaluation period makes these findings weak.  The short-comings of the NYC transmission and distribution system also affect peaker operations and further reduce the credibility of these findings.

The consultant who did the work, Strategen, “used a 90th percentile approach on duration to determine the replacement needs of NYC fossil assets while taking in consideration five factors that would otherwise overestimate the reliability value of peakers in a traditional “longest peaker runtime” approach. These include 1) peaker unit dispatch versus available zone level capacity, 2) peaker unit dispatch versus plant level capacity, 3) peaker unit dispatch for localized non-peaking needs, 3) inconsistent levels of peaker output during longer-runtimes, and 5) unit operational constraints.” There is no question in my mind that this approach under estimates the worst case.  For heaven’s sakes they are saying don’t worry about what happens ten percent of the time at the same time they are addressing peaking units that run less than 5% of the time.

“Assuming a 90-percentile approach on unit duration to account for system characteristics and its reliability needs”, Stategen determined that “28 units with 765 MW of installed capacity have maximum durations of four hours or less, making them attractive candidates for replacement with storage even in a 1-to-1 basis”.  The proposed solution is replacement with energy storage that has a cap on how long power can be provided so it is less flexible, does not consider that energy storage discharge capacities are not 100%, and overlooks life expectancy of batteries two or three times less compared to a fossil generator.  There are 52 other peaking turbines that ran for longer durations which only exacerbates the limitations.  Finally, they propose to replace nine large steam units, accounting for 3,882 MW or 64% of the total fleet capacity. These units “have maximum dispatch durations that go from 80 to 1,500 hours but are also the perfect example of over-dispatch driven by technology constraints”.  Those facilities certainly would not be purpose-built for their present role but they provide dispatchable, in-city power from small foot print facilities and can produce firm dispatchable power for very long periods. 

Clean Energy Vision

According to the report’s overview: “The report lays out a plan for New York City focused on local, distributed solutions. This decentralized approach creates a more resilient power system than the current grid, which depends on centralized fossil-fuel power plants.”  The “Clean Energy Vision for New York City” depends on four resources: offshore wind, community and residential solar, energy efficiency and energy storage.  I will address each below.

Despite the fact that there hasn’t been any offshore wind development so far, the vision counts on this resource and expects that it can be developed faster than proposed.  New York State has a goal to develop 9 GW of offshore wind by 2035.  I have not seen whether this resource will be considered “in-city”.  If not and I would argue that it isn’t, then this is a non-starter.  Because the State has only approved four projects and needs to develop infrastructure to support building those projects, I suspect that development will take longer than proposed.

The report recognizes that there are inherent difficulties siting solar in NYC: “New York City is afflicted with many of the canonical challenges that inhibit rooftop solar development including challenging local regulation, shared rooftop space, a significant population that rents, and aging buildings and electrical infrastructure”.   Because they claim there is a lot of value in having it, they blithely assume that the obstacles can be overcome and assume that 5.4 GW of solar can be developed in NYC.

The analysis relies on energy efficiency to markedly reduce energy use in order to reduce the energy needed during peak periods.  There is a complicating factor that I don’t think they address.  New York’s climate legislation mandates electrification of everything to meet its 2050 zero-emissions goal.  As a result, heating and transportation will have to be electrified and all analysts agree that means that the annual peak load will shift from the summer when solar can provide meaningful power to winter when it cannot. 

The biggest problem I have is with their analysis of energy storage.  They used a linear energy dispatch model to determine how much storage is needed to replace peaker plant generation for their plan.  In their methodology “Energy storage was modeled to provide energy arbitrage services, that is, storing clean energy when it is produced but not used, and discharging it into the grid at times of need.”   Aside from the practical matter that the quantity of energy storage requires significant space which could be an issue in the crowded city there are other concerns.  They only used a single year for the analysis and there is no suggestion that discharge capacity limits were considered.  The analysis does not recognize that in order to replace fossil peakers two types of energy storage are needed.  Longer-duration storage needs to cover, for example, night time for solar resources.  That appears to be the storage addressed.  However, fossil-fired combustion turbines used for peaking operate at fixed loads but solar resources, for example vary if it is a partly cloudy day.  Therefore, energy resources are needed for this short-term variation.  But that’s not all.  Fossil units also provide ancillary services such as frequency control.  The point is that they did not calculate how much energy storage has to be allocated for these other services.

There is another flaw in this approach.  They looked at the characteristics of energy load and how peaking units provided that energy and proposed a solution based on off-shore wind and solar resources assuming that those resources would be available.  I have argued that one of the biggest shortcomings in New York’s implementation process is that have not yet done an evaluation of the availability of wind and solar at the same time over a long period.  To date the primary planning problem has always been the peak load but it is conceivable that the bigger problem for a future grid reliant upon wind and solar will be low coincidental resource availability.  However, because the peak loads are associated with the coldest and hottest weather and those periods are associated with high pressure system with light winds, it is likely that low renewable resource availability will be worst when it is needed most.  In any event, the Strategen analysis did not consider resource availability at all.


Even though there are other shortcomings in the analysis, this post is too long so I will wrap it up.  At this time, environmental justice organization are conducting a well-orchestrated effort to replace peaking power plants in New York City.  New York energy and environmental policy initiatives are catering to these organizations and the New York Senate has even passed a law codifying the approach proposed.   I suspect that this approach will become evident on the national level soon.

There are many inherent advantages to fossil-fired power plants.   In the New York City context, they provide reliable power when needed from relatively small footprints and are a key component to the reliability standards developed from hard experience.  Unfortunately, the arguments to replace them are based more on emotion than fact and seem to be driven by the urge to eliminate one over hyped risk while ignoring the unintended consequences of their solutions which may create other risks that could cause bigger problems.  

In my opinion, it is particularly troubling that the problem of peaking power plants has already being addressed.  Last summer New York promulgated rules to replace the old, inefficient and dirty combustion turbines that are a real problem.  This study and others expand the definition of peaking power plants to other units that cannot be replaced easily.  I think that the organizations behind this report are unwilling to accept any perceived risks from new efficient and clean fossil generating plants partially based on the naïve belief that renewable solutions are only a matter of political will.  Given that political policy decisions played a hand in the recent Texas energy debacle, I think that is a dangerous path to take.


Roger Caiazza blogs on New York energy and environmental issues at Pragmatic Environmentalist of New York.  This represents his opinion and not the opinion of any of his previous employers or any other company with which he has been associated.

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Gregory Woods
April 4, 2021 6:59 am

I am all for getting rid of these dirty, filthy peaking plants and replacing them with clean, green solar panels and windy mills. New York deserves no less….

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Gregory Woods
April 4, 2021 7:11 am

hmmmm…. how about 800′ tall wind turbines on top of all the skyscrapers?

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
April 4, 2021 8:24 am

Stick the turbines offshore.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  griff
April 4, 2021 9:32 am

I was joking of course- too bad you aren’t. How about some next to your home? Or maybe a huge solar “farm”?

Gregory Woods
Reply to  griff
April 4, 2021 9:37 am

Fine, they can stick them where they will do the most good damage

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  griff
April 4, 2021 10:07 am

@Griff: RTFA

Reply to  griff
April 4, 2021 5:13 pm

What does that do to the reproduction rate of marine mammals? Or are we not to SAVE THE WHALES.

Reply to  griff
April 4, 2021 7:36 pm

Stick them in Griff’s back yard and run a relly really long extension cord …. lots of wind around there

Last edited 1 year ago by LdB
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
April 4, 2021 11:52 pm

Bring it on, let NY be the bellwether for the new energy paradigm.
Why not suggest turning Central Park into a solar farm, replace the peak power plants with huge lithium batteries and cover the Hamptons with windmills.!?!

Reply to  StephenP
April 5, 2021 12:01 am

Maybe Small Modular Reactors would be a better bet if they want to reduce CO2 and other emissions. Why not ring Rolls Royce and ask them for a quote?

Reply to  StephenP
April 5, 2021 12:05 am

Or even buy up s few redundant nuclear subs and park the along the East River. Refuel them and they should be good for another 30 years before needing reuelling.!?!

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  StephenP
April 5, 2021 3:22 am

And Biden can cover the entire White House lawn with solar. I’m sure he’ll love seeing it.

Reply to  StephenP
April 5, 2021 8:48 am

Where do you get all this lithium from???? I hope they do shut down the plants…… And the city goes dark like CA and TX for relying on faulty green energy…. Shut them down today.

Timo V
Reply to  Gregory Woods
April 4, 2021 7:19 am

Yes, let them have it their way. Torches and pitchforks will come out later, and then they will really learn.

Reply to  Timo V
April 4, 2021 10:37 am

Most never learn. Even most of those that abandon ship to move to greener pastures seem to bring their stupid ideas with them,

Here we have an example of a group trying to deal with a very small problem while their cities crime rate sky rockets and the rich bail out of the city and state to escape the confiscatory taxes and oppressive regulation. But the bottom line is poorer societies pollute more.

Pat Frank
Reply to  rah
April 4, 2021 5:51 pm

The rich never seem to figure out that they’ll have fewer and fewer places to which to run.

Reply to  Gregory Woods
April 5, 2021 8:46 am

Windy mills???? LMAO….

April 4, 2021 7:00 am

Meh, let’em freeze and starve in the dark. PADD1 oil storage has been steady decline since the PES refinery explosion and shutdown. They’ll run out of fossil fuels soon enough.

Alan Robertson
April 4, 2021 7:19 am

There is no idea so dumb that the warmunists won’t promote it.

April 4, 2021 7:26 am

My advice to the good people of New York is to be prepared for a two week blackout. There are lots of web sites with advice on essential supplies. example

One of the biggest dangers in a blackout is carbon monoxide poisoning because people use inappropriate heating appliances indoors. If you’re prepared beforehand, you won’t end up doing desperate stupid things.

Reply to  commieBob
April 4, 2021 8:12 am

Great link. Says it all. We collapsed it so you can pay us money to un-collapse it. The evolution of human genetics has followed an odd, but definable route to where we are now.

Abolition Man
Reply to  commieBob
April 4, 2021 9:24 am

There is NO WAY to prepare for a two week blackout in a major urban center! All if your utilities and services like elevators and subways require electricity; the only way to get in or out is by stair and sidewalk! The total food supply within the city is probably only enough for a few days; what do you eat after the first week?
A major blackout of two weeks or longer is inevitable if GangGreen policies are followed! Even the suburbs will be a tough row to hoe due to the high density of the unprepared idiots who believe they are building a new Utopia! Out here in the sticks we keep lots of staples and ammo on hand for emergencies; it would behoove the suburbanites to follow the same policy!
City folks should watch “Escape From New York” to get a good idea of what to prepare for!

Reply to  Abolition Man
April 4, 2021 10:22 am

Everyone can plug in their EV’S for backup and save the day. Sarc off.

Reply to  nickc
April 4, 2021 6:43 pm

Tesla now say they will not accept warranty claims for EV used as a battery power source.

Reply to  Abolition Man
April 4, 2021 11:01 am

 what do you eat after the first week?

There’s plenty of greens on NY 😉

Abolition Man
Reply to  Redge
April 4, 2021 12:12 pm

Are those Soylent Greens!?

Kevin kilty
April 4, 2021 8:06 am

 To date the primary planning problem has always been the peak load but it is conceivable that the bigger problem for a future grid reliant upon wind and solar will be low coincidental resource availability.  

Indeed, if we examine the Texas crisis of February the “current operating plan” on the 17th was predicated on wind supplying 400MW. When translated into a capacity factor it amounts to 1.3% — 1.3% of the 30GW installed nameplate rating. That made an enormous hole to fill and Ercot knew it a day in advance, but never examined the possibility at a time scale in advance where it could have been prevented. They were focused for years on reserve power in August.

Our Federal Government is now inserting itself into every infrastructure consideration in the entire country, and at the same time this appears to be the most deeply incompetent Administration I have seen in my lifetime — running on complete magical thinking. We have all been witnesses to the worst decision-making at all levels of government over the past year anyone can imagine. Why should we expect them to improve over the short-term future? I suppose we should all plan to soon endure serial constructed crises.

Reply to  Kevin kilty
April 4, 2021 8:25 am

but it seemingly wasn’t predicated on the bulk of the fossil fuel supplied electric giving up…

Reply to  griff
April 4, 2021 10:25 am

Energy infrastructure was not designed for very cold temperatures that was the issue.

Abolition Man
Reply to  griff
April 4, 2021 12:18 pm

Please stop lying! The bulk of the fossil fuel and nuclear generation remained on line to keep the blackout from being FAR worse than it was! Of course, more reliable fossil fuel and safe, clean nuclear electricity would have been available if the destructive “green” policies had not been pushed into the infrastructure and generation systems!

Reply to  Kevin kilty
April 4, 2021 9:26 am

The decision making is bad because people were chosen based on their woke qualifications, and not based on their real-world qualifications.

Reply to  Kevin kilty
April 4, 2021 10:12 am

As I read these planning efforts for patently non-viable ‘green’ energy sources, I’m reminded of the final-stage accounts of Adolf hovering over his map table, directing the movements of phantom battalions, while the generals just rolled their eyes.

April 4, 2021 8:09 am

I bet that none of the authors of the report, The Fossil Fuel Endgame, are at personal risk for electricity outages in New York City. Climate change environmentalism is largely a project of wealthy elites, not at risk from their prescriptions for decreasing CO2 production.

Take California, for example. After the 2019 rolling blackouts the sales of home electrical generators surged dramatically. So, people with means secure their electrical supply while environmentalists continue to degrade grid reliability for hoi polloi. Green environmentalism has a long, continuous history of elitism and racism, continuing to this day.  

Bob boder
Reply to  MPassey
April 4, 2021 8:20 am

Good luck getting natural gas or propane in NY for a home generator.

Reply to  MPassey
April 4, 2021 8:25 am


Last edited 1 year ago by Sunsettommy
Jeff Alberts
Reply to  griff
April 4, 2021 11:44 am

Hmm, why is Sunsettommy editing griff’s comments?

Pat Frank
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
April 4, 2021 5:55 pm

I was just wondering the same thing.

Gunga Din
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
April 4, 2021 6:28 pm

Since we don’t know what was it was griff said, we don’t know.
I’ve had parts of comments “snipped” or deleted in the past. Usually I was given an explanation in the comment or via email.
I understood why and agreed in all but one instance. (In that instance I’d said something that could be taken two ways. The way I didn’t mean involved causing harm involving a rope.)

Moderation on WUWT has a track record of having a light touch.
I’d give Sunsettommy the benefit of the doubt.

Reply to  Jeff Alberts
April 4, 2021 7:37 pm

Griffy has a sockpuppet?

Joel O’Bryan
Reply to  MPassey
April 4, 2021 9:03 am

Yes. Please someone, take California.

kidding aside, NYC won’t be out, the entire Northeast grid will likely be down if it can’t import enough power from HydroQuebec. North East power, New England ISO, just like California’s grid operator Cal ISO, is already heavily dependent on substantial imports of power during high demands periods. HydroQuebec has in fact made this NE US grid dependency on them part of their business model for profitability. So unless it is a highly localized problem, like a transformer blows/burns at substation, then during a high demand period the entire grid will go down in a rapidly cascading load shed, like a row of dominos, to protect equipment.

out in the Hamptons, most of the rich folks there already had generators on their mansions. After Sandy 2012, took out power for a week or more in some places, those who didn’t have generators got them. Most folks will have enough propane to run normally for about 4-6 days. After that, getting a refill when everyone is trying to get a refill on a generator propane tank will be dicey at best, when the authorities will make priority for propane to refill to critical infrastructure generators.

Reply to  Joel O’Bryan
April 4, 2021 6:08 pm

It will be interesting to see just how much “critical infrastructure” just happens to be located in the Hamptons…

April 4, 2021 8:24 am

a modern state would be better served by gas plant, grid scale battery in addition to solar and offshore wind.

Ageing oil plant is polluting and less responsive.

and the fail in Texas was from fossil fuel plant (albeit in circumstances unlikely to be repeated in NY – i.e. failure by operator)

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  griff
April 4, 2021 10:12 am

A modern state (iso) would be better served if there were consistent rules across all suppliers for scheduling energy supply to the grid, including make whole penalties for failure to perform. Fixed it for you Griff!

Reply to  griff
April 4, 2021 11:36 am

a modern state would be better served by gas plant, grid scale battery in addition to solar and offshore wind.

If you do the first bit, you don’t need to even consider the other 3 totally unnecessary (and useless) steps.

Abolition Man
Reply to  Mr.
April 4, 2021 12:25 pm

Don’t forget extremely expensive and short lived! Maybe the griffter will come out in support of clean, safe nuclear; then he can stop worrying about the current drought for CO2 being a danger to ALL life on Earth! Oh, wait; never mind!

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  griff
April 4, 2021 11:46 am

and the fail in Texas was from fossil fuel plant”

Very little of the failure from FF plants.

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  griff
April 5, 2021 7:37 am

Yes Griff, we know your feelings, you stated clearly that since renewables are completely unreliable there is no way they could be responsible.
$80billion wasted on something that provided just above zero when it was really needed.

Yes, Texas shows that you cannot count on renewables.

Battery backup to get thru that event would cost trillions

Gunga Din
Reply to  griff
April 5, 2021 3:28 pm

And just where does one buy a “grid scale” battery?
(I checked with Home Depot and all I got was rechargeable tool batteries and “Energizer Bunny” type stuff.)
Perhaps you meant more nuclear power plants?
(Probably not. If we had more of that “carbon-free” power, who needs pinwheels and VERY and short lived expensive mirrors?)

H. D. Hoese
April 4, 2021 8:37 am

I would like to know what the failure rate of individual standby generators is. During the Texas freeze, based on a very small sample, some worked throughout, some didn’t start, some didn’t last. The little I know about them is that they don’t get used much, rely on an energy supply that may or may not be stored on site.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  H. D. Hoese
April 4, 2021 11:59 am

They’re fine for nuisance outages, but not recommended for long term or going Galt. For long outages, say after a hurricane, it’s important to limit usage to essential needs like maintaining refrigeration, a few hours of lighting in the evening and perhaps cooling the house before bed. Also, since you’re supposed to check the oil every 8 hours or so, you shouldn’t be running these systems continuously for long periods.

Reply to  Frank from NoVA
April 4, 2021 1:02 pm

Going Galt. Don’t follow the link unless you have a strong stomach.

Jordan Peterson clued me into a very important Marxist assumption. The Marxists assume that the productive members of society will continue being productive no matter what because they are inwardly driven to produce.

Back in the 1970s the organization I worked for needed a specialized scientific instrument that was made by one guy somewhere in Scandinavia. He wouldn’t build us one. Why? If he made another instrument, he would have to give the government 90% of the profits. The Beatles wrote a song about the problem.

There’s also my favorite Iron Curtain joke: “They pretend to pay us and we pretend to work”.

Going Galt is an actual thing. So, Marxism is built on a set of assumptions some of which are demonstrably false as in the examples above.

Most of the greatest evils that man has inflicted upon man have come through people feeling quite certain about something which, in fact, was false.

Bertrand Russell

Today’s score:
Rand 1
Marx 0

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  commieBob
April 4, 2021 7:21 pm

Truth be told, I gave “Atlas Shrugged” a go back in high school but couldn’t slog through it. At the time, I found Rand’s antagonists to be too venal and stupid to take seriously. Of course, fast forward to today….

Jim G.
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
April 4, 2021 10:34 pm

I had to slog through the fist 150-200 pages before it started becoming interesting. Picked it back up in the early 2000’s. It was funny seeing the names of the acts in the book in the current newspapers.

I swear that some politicians think Atlas Shrugged is a “how to” manual.

Reply to  Frank from NoVA
April 5, 2021 5:53 am

If you’re going to take down the ‘bad guys’ you have to give them their best arguments. IMHO, Rand doesn’t do that.

Jordan Peterson makes an eloquent pitch for Dostoyevsky.

What thinking is is when you adopt the opposite position from your suppositions and you make that argument as strong as you can possibly make it and then you hit your perspective against that strong iron man, not the straw man. You argue it out, you battle it out, and that’s what Dostoyevsky does in his novels. The people who stand for the antithesis of what Dostoyevsky actually believes are often the strongest, smartest, and sometimes the most admirable people in the book.

Reply to  commieBob
April 5, 2021 8:12 am

Rand’s bad guys seem to have BETTER arguments that a lot of what I’ve been hearing lately.

Pat from kerbob
April 4, 2021 8:41 am

Planning for 90% condition means planning to fail.
A massive city like New York becomes a death trap with no power.
As much as I hate to say it, it’s too bad in a way that Texas didn’t collapse completely.

We need an unmistakable lesson in the reality of physics for the general public
The scientologists will never be convinced, it’s the general public going along to get along that needs to see this

Reply to  Pat from kerbob
April 4, 2021 1:22 pm

“We need an unmistakable lesson in the reality of physics for the general public.” – quote

It’s coming. Be patient. The clear failure to see the real-world consequences of bad planning won’t hit home with these people until a long, long blackout occurs in cold weather and they are stuck in elevators and need to use the restroom something fierce, or can’t get to the grocery store because there is no way to get there.

I’ve seen photos of NYC in the aftermath of that blizzard in 1888, which (I think) came out of Alberta (not sure about the origin), and snow piled up in drifts up to 7 feet deep. People had to get to work or get fired, and froze to death because of it. No central heating, no public transportation could move. That is what it will be like. I hope I’m not the only person who remembers the 2011 blizzard and what happened after it went eastward from Chicago.

Gunga Din
Reply to  Pat from kerbob
April 5, 2021 3:44 pm

I had a book by “K-Line” that was a compilation of the manuals that came with “Lionel” ’50’s era trains and accessories.
Each had a section for how to hook it up if you lived in a part of NYC (or maybe a building?) that was still powered by Edison’s DC generators.
(Wish I still had.)

Last edited 1 year ago by Gunga Din
April 4, 2021 8:56 am

How about this and other “green” cities install wind turbines on all of their high rises?

April 4, 2021 9:00 am

It’s patently absurd to be worrying about the emissions from fossil fuel peak power plants that run just a few hours per year. Environmental justice? Pure BS. New York needs to be more concerned about baseload power that will run through the cold, dark winter days and nights when solar doesn’t work and winds are calm.

April 4, 2021 9:01 am

I suspect the environmental justice campaigns grew out of the realization that most green solutions benefited the affluent at the expense of the poor. The affluent got to put solar panels on their roofs and sell power back to the grid at retail prices while apartment dwellers go higher bills. A poor farm worker pays dearly for fuel to fill his pickup while wealthy coastal dwellers got subsidies for electric cars. The super wealthy got huge tax breaks investing in wind turbines and regular customers got higher bills. Perhaps a simple catch slogan like “Clean Energy, Big Bills” would better reflect the reality that environmental campaigns inflict on the less well off.

Reply to  Sean
April 4, 2021 8:17 pm

Green energy solutions are racist and elitist!

Gunga Din
Reply to  PCman999
April 5, 2021 3:49 pm

And all too often those who promote Green Energy are those who profit in cash/power the most.
We suffer while they paint their private planes and SUVs green to show their support.

April 4, 2021 9:01 am

…based more on emotion than fact

Never seen a charity advert?

“How is it possible for you to be so easily tricked by something so simple as a story, because you are tricked? Well, it all comes down to one core thing and that is emotional investment. The more emotionally invested you are in anything in your life, the less critical and the less objectively observant you become.” — David JP Phillips, We Don’t Have Time board of directors, “The Magical Science of Storytelling”

In case you were unaware, ‘We Don’t Have Time‘ is the outfit that manufactured the Greta Thunberg experience.


Last edited 1 year ago by strativarius
April 4, 2021 9:02 am

Where is NYC going to get the funds for this massive overhaul?

Reply to  George Daddis
April 4, 2021 9:31 am

Easy. It will be the middle class who don’t have enough money to bribe the politicians and have tax loopholes written in the law.

Abolition Man
Reply to  George Daddis
April 4, 2021 9:39 am

From all their residents that moved to Florida and Texas!?
Biden’s Happy Money Printer Service should pay for a lot of it with an infrastructure bill and a stealth Green Raw Deal bill that will bankrupt the US economy or make US citizens virtual slaves for generations!
The biggest question I have now is whether the American public will ever rise up against the idiocy of their leaders, or will they docilely follow them down the road to Third World status!? I’m kind of sad that I probably won’t live long enough to find out the answer; I don’t want to invest the time in learning to read and speak Mandarin anyway!

Last edited 1 year ago by abolition man
Reply to  Abolition Man
April 4, 2021 4:54 pm

<blockquote>The biggest question I have now is whether the American public will ever rise up against the idiocy of their leaders, or will they docilely follow them down the road to Third World status!</blockquote>

I challenge you to identify the “leader” in the former United States. That is, a country such as Taiwan is looking for assurances by the former US, or looking for who is the decision maker in a trade-deal or military support, treaty negotiations or foreign funding. Who has signature authority to commit the fUS treasury or the Democratic Party Military to any sort of obligation or agreement?

What this means is that who is responsible for the next Bay of Pigs, economic collapse, or policy that results in billions of direct damage if not deaths? The former United States presently does not have a government; at best its a number of loosely ideologically aligned factions and tribes vying for power behind the protection of several thousands troops.

So when collapse or failure happens, there is no one to blame – unless they can manage to conjure up the Magic Nearest Republican as they did in the Flint Michigan water fiasco. There is no responsibility, accountability or identity – just decrees coming from all directions.

Reply to  George Daddis
April 4, 2021 5:09 pm

From you.

Abolition Man
April 4, 2021 9:09 am

Texas: We just had the biggest blackout in US history due to the poor decision making and policies which favored unreliable, “renewable” energy sources over fossil fuel and nuclear sources! We were just minutes away from a blackout that could have substantially damaged the grid and lasted weeks if not months!
NY State: Here, hold my beer!

Bill Rocks
April 4, 2021 9:14 am

Sabotage by any other name would smell as much.
With apology to W. S.

April 4, 2021 9:43 am

I found this paragraph most interesting: The report acknowledges that “peakers play an important role in supporting reliable electric service for New Yorkers” and points out that some of them also “produce steam that feeds the city’s “district heating” system, providing heat and cooling to many buildings in Manhattan”. However, the report offers no recommendations how the steam system would be replaced with their recommended technology. – article

I did read the article rather quickly, but I was looking for things like that, which stick out and catch my attention. The last two paragraphs, in which the author points out the flaws and failings of the proposers – their lack of comprehension of a complex system like an electric grid, the sidereal offshoots (district heating system) that go with it, and their failure to take weather conditions into account as unreliable sources, all indicate that this proposal has more holes in it that a basket sieve.<– (Kitchen tool).

The first – VERY first thing – that these proposers ought to address is how to keep a reliable system running while they sort out how to replace it with something equally reliable, and they do NOT do that. They are offin Cloudland, daydreaming about how wonderful clean blue skies are, when I seriously doubt that any of them – NOT ONE OF THEM — has ever seen an inversion layer of smog hanging over NYC and flowing down the east coast.

It is extremely sad that the view of the people who make these proposals consistently fail to take the consequences of their actions into account. My guess is that if this project were put through to completion, NYC and its surroundings WILL (not would) be Blackout City every confounded day of the year.

Good article. Provides a lot to think about, especially since my power company is outsourcing a good deal of its power from out-of-state resources.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Sara
April 4, 2021 11:50 am

However, the report offers no recommendations how the steam system would be replaced with their recommended technology.”

Cuomo’s mouth could provide more than enough hot air for NYC heating needs.

Abolition Man
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
April 4, 2021 12:29 pm

Cuomo’s mouth may be busy trying to cover his butt for quite some time into the future! The public still remains largely unaware of how many people died in nursing homes due to pushing patients back in who were infected with the Fauxi virus!

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Abolition Man
April 4, 2021 1:14 pm

Even then, he’ll have enough to go around.

Walter Sobchak
April 4, 2021 9:55 am

Other issues not discussed above:

New York State has blocked new pipeline capacity to carry natural gas that would fuel gas turbine power plants that could replace oil fired units and have a much lower air pollution profile.

Second New York State has blocked fracking that would produce natural gas out of the same formations that are very productive in neighboring Pennsylvania.

Both of these are because fossil fuels bad and stick holes in the Godess Mother Earth also very bad.

The idiots deserve to freeze in the dark.

April 4, 2021 11:32 am

Having a hard time finding justice in blackouts. Do understand that prolonged blackouts result in higher birth rates. There is no justice in making things worse to satisfy whatever it is they wish to satisfy.

Abolition Man
Reply to  Olen
April 4, 2021 12:35 pm

When encountering anything the includes the words “social” or “justice” in it’s title or description be very, very wary! Most often they are used to disguise the anti-social and/or anti-justice nature of the subject!
For more in-depth study look to ‘1984’ and the term doublespeak!

April 4, 2021 1:52 pm

Environmental Justice campaign to replace New York City peaking power plants
I don’t see a problem. If New Yorkers don’t want power during peak periods, why force them?

April 4, 2021 2:05 pm

Lol – I read the headline and I thought they were literally going to replace power plants by trying to use an environmental campaign as a power generation source.
Makes as much sense as trying to replace peaker plants with green-washed nonsense.

April 4, 2021 4:03 pm

Will there be enough Unicorn Farts to run the stand-by power for when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow?

April 4, 2021 5:12 pm

My first thought on reading the headline was “What could possibly go wrong?” As Texas showed us, an awful lot, and New York is not learning from the lessons they have been given.

Pat Frank
April 4, 2021 5:50 pm

It’ll only change if the peasants arrive with pitchforks and torches. And that may happen only after a power blackout during a seriously cold winter.

It’s going to take death and misery before people react strongly to the malignantly errant stupidity, in other words.

When (If) that happens, the folks who pushed this disaster, starting with the Physicians, Scientists, and Engineers (PSE) for Healthy Energy and roping in all the so-called environmental justice organizations, should be prosecuted for deliberately negligent (mass) homicide.

April 4, 2021 10:02 pm

We should really come up with a plan to remove the power of Wall Street from NYC and NY state. Without the finance crutch afforded by NYSE etc. they would fail harder than Illinois attempting to pay bills on time. And they certainly haven’t earned and can’t be trusted to be fair administrators of our capital markets.

April 5, 2021 12:42 am

By the logic in this report, we should be removing lifeboats from passenger ships. Lifeboats raise cost of the ship and the cost of operation and are only rarely used.

Rainer Bensch
Reply to  pls
April 5, 2021 3:38 am

Same applies to the fire service.

April 5, 2021 9:47 am

It’s all working according to plan. First control the media. Then control the governments of the the most populated cities and states. Next divide the people and set them against one another. Then turn them into hell holes by making criminals the victims. Lastly gain total control of all energy and regulate it to ensure society collapse. Now they are in position to “save” everyone.

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