New York Climate Act Scoping Plan Approved

Roger Caiazza

The New York Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (Climate Act) Scoping Plan framework for the net-zero by 2050 transition plan was approved by the Climate Action Council on December 19, 2022.  This is follow to my earlier description of the process explains some of the rationale for that decision.

Background

The Climate Act establishes a “Net Zero” target (85% reduction and 15% offset of emissions) by 2050. The Climate Action Council is responsible for preparing the Scoping Plan that will outline how to “achieve the State’s bold clean energy and climate agenda.”  In brief, that plan is to electrify everything possible and power the electric grid with zero-emissions generating resources by 2040.  The Integration Analysis prepared by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and its consultants quantifies the impact of the electrification strategies.  That material was used by staff from various State agencies to write a Draft Scoping Plan that was released for public comment at the end of 2021. The Climate Action Council is finalized the Scoping Plan on schedule.

The December 19, 2022 meeting materials are available at the New York Climate meetings page including the meeting presentation and the meeting recording.  In my previous article I noted that the it was unlikely that the Climate Action Council would not vote to approve the Scoping Plan because all but two of the 22 members were picked by the Democrats who passed the legislation   I wondered if anyone would cast a symbolic “no” vote and was surprised that three members voted against approval.  After the formal vote each member of the Council gave a statement supporting their decision.  This post summarizes those statements in three categories: the Hochul Administration’s position, the at-large members who supported it and the three members who voted against approval.  I am not going to provide any commentary on these summaries.

New York State Leadership Statement

Co-chair of the Climate Action Council and President & CEO of the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority Doreen M. Harris summed up the position of the Hochul Administration.  Her statement said the plan “upholds three main principles of the work that we have advanced throughout this almost three-year process”:

Principle 1: Climate Action

This plan demonstrates that climate action is not only necessary, but that delay is to be avoided. Delaying climate action has been shown to cost New Yorkers more. Therefore, I am in favor of undertaking this action now so that we may begin delivering additional benefits to the New Yorkers we are acting on behalf of.

As we implement our climate actions, certainly we will consider the on-the-ground issues and immediate costs and concerns of citizens and businesses. This is how we implement policy in New York every day and will continue to do so.

But our eye is on the prize and we in New York are wise to take climate action and have it serve as a model to the rest of the country.

Principle 2: Climate Justice

We have a plan that demonstrates how success can only be claimed when we have been able to advance and implement our climate action in a manner that addresses the issues of past decisions.

Historically, underserved communities have not been included in the dialogue and that must change. Underserved communities have also not had sufficient access to clean energy in housing, education and career opportunities and that must also change.

This plan is demonstrating how all disciplines around this table – Energy, Environment, Education, Transportation, Labor, Health, Housing, Industry, Agriculture – have responsibilities to make sure that justice is an equal outcome to the changes in our day-in, day-out business operations.

To put it simply, business as usual is no longer an option.

Principle 3: Climate Economy

I do agree with comments made at previous meetings that the economic opportunities we are looking to create through our climate planning have often been an unspoken undercurrent in this process.

We simply do not succeed if our state economy is not better off for our activities in advancing this plan. I am beyond enthusiastic about the new industries and career opportunities that we are creating in New York. And, as a product of Upstate New York myself I have never seen the level of opportunity that is at our doorstep in all parts of the state.

But that is not to discount the attention that must be paid to New Yorkers – particularly my energy colleagues and workers – that will need to find their new opportunities in our decarbonizing economy. I pledge that I will do what I can to make sure we create all those opportunities and more so that you too can become part of the more than 200,000 jobs that we stand to gain.

At Large Member Supporters of the Scoping Plan

Four Council Members chosen for their ideology and not their energy system expertise all voted to approve the Scoping Plan.  Their comments beg for responses but that will have to wait until another time. 

The statement of Robert W. Howarth, Ph.D., the David R. Atkinson Professor of Ecology & Environmental Biology at Cornell University was very illuminating relative to the motives of the supporters.  It is also very difficult to quote this without responding.  For starters, Dr. Howarth basically takes credit for the law:

Assembly Person Steven Englebright was hugely instrumental in the passage of the Climate Leadership & Community Protection Act that established the Climate Action Council. I thank him for his leadership on this, and particularly for his support of the progressive approach on greenhouse gas emissions that is a central part of the CLCPA. I originally proposed this to Assembly Person Englebright in 2016, and he enthusiastically endorsed and supported it through multiple versions of the bill that finally led to passage of the CLCPA in 2019. In this accounting for greenhouse gases, a major government for the first time ever fully endorsed the science demonstrating that methane emissions are a major contributor to global climate change and disruption. Further, in passing the CLCPA New York recognized that consumption of fossil fuels (and not simply geographic boundaries) is what matters in addressing the climate crisis. New York wisely banned the use of high-volume hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) to develop shale gas in our State. But since the time of that ban, the use of fossil natural gas has risen faster in our State than any other in the Union. Methane emissions from this use of shale gas are high, but much of that occurs outside of our boundaries in the nearby states of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio. Through the CLCPA, the citizens of New York are taking responsibility for these out-of-state emission caused by our use of fossil fuels, particularly for fossil natural gas. The way to reduce these emissions is to rapidly reduce our use of fracked shale gas.

He went to claim that the Scoping Plan development process ” brought in a large number of experts and key stakeholders who worked diligently to advise the Council on our Scoping Plan”.  After extolling the success of the stakeholder process and the staff members who contributed he explained why everything will work out:

I further wish to acknowledge the incredible role that Prof. Mark Jacobson of Stanford has played in moving the entire world towards a carbon-free future, including New York State. A decade ago, Jacobson, I and others laid out a specific plan for New York (Jacobson et al. 2013). In that peer-reviewed analysis, we demonstrated that our State could rapidly move away from fossil fuels and instead be fueled completely by the power of the wind, the sun, and hydro. We further demonstrated that it could be done completely with technologies available at that time (a decade ago), that it could be cost effective, that it would be hugely beneficial for public health and energy security, and that it would stimulate a large increase in well-paying jobs. I have seen nothing in the past decade that would dissuade me from pushing for the same path forward. The economic arguments have only grown stronger, the climate crisis more severe. The fundamental arguments remain the same.

Our final Scoping Plan from the Climate Action implicitly endorses the vision of the Jacobson et al. paper and is quite clear: we can meet the goals of the CLCPA and we can and will do so in way that is affordable and that will benefit all New Yorkers. Our State will be stronger as this plan is implemented, the health and well being of our citizens improved. Economic uncertainties and vulnerabilities will be reduced. Energy security will be enhanced. Our plan is also clear that the #1 priorities are to continue to move towards wind, solar, and hydro as our source of electricity; to move rapidly towards beneficial electrification as a source of heating and cooling in our homes and commercial buildings; and to move rapidly towards beneficial electrification in our personal and commercial vehicles.

Peter Iwanowicz is Executive Director, Environmental Advocates of New York.  His statement included the following comments:

When it was passed by the Legislature, The New York Times called the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) “One of the world’s most ambitious climate plans.”  While a bold pronouncement and attention-grabbing headline, it was by any measure an accurate depiction of the legislation. For the CLCPA is legislation written by those on the frontlines of the climate crisis for the benefit of those on frontlines of the climate crisis. At the time a novel approach and a testament to how policy should work.

The CLCPA provided us the promise and—through multiple provisions in the law—the guidance to make the right decisions on the pace and scale of the change needed.  At its core, the CLCPA is about establishing standards into law so that New York does its share to create a planet that is healthy enough for humans to inhabit.  What we learned through our process is that zeroing out all greenhouse gas emissions through a massive transformation of our economy is the only viable and certain path.

What truly makes the CLCPA the most ambitious of plans is the legal assurance that those disproportionately impacted by climate change and poor air quality will have their needs, health, and communities prioritized. That, and we will not leave any worker behind as the transition unfolds. 

What we have developed is a solid blueprint to guide the public and lawmakers on how to secure the promises of our climate law.

The plan shows the pathway forward to provide big benefits, including:

● Reducing energy bills
● Improving our health and lowering health care costs
● Reversing decades of environmental injustice that has caused such harm to those who live, work, and play in our state’s disadvantaged communities.

The costs of acting are not trivial, but the analysis that the council has agreed to revealed that the cost of inaction is greater than the cost of acting.  Our plan shows that the quicker the public, the Governor and Legislature move to electrify all sectors, the faster we’ll realize the benefits.

Raya Salter Esq., Principal, Imagine Power LLC is “an attorney, consultant, educator and clean energy law and policy expert with a focus on energy and climate justice.”  Highlights from her statement reflected her background:

The true credit for this Plan belongs to the thousands of activists across New York who have rallied, marched, wrote letters and demanded that this be the people’s plan. In 2019 I stood with activists not far from where we sit now, who shut down then-Governor Cuomo’s office in an action to demand the passage of what ultimately became the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. It is that law that required this process and plan.

The release of this final Scoping Plan is a landmark moment for climate action in New York State. The Plan, if implemented, will guide New York towards a just energy transition and away from fossil fuels.

I was a member of the Council’s Gas Transition Subgroup and worked on the Scoping Plan’s vision to retire fossil fuel plants and decarbonize the buildings sector. It includes a blueprint for the retirement of New York City’s most-polluting fossil fuel plants and their sites by 2030 that will inform broader planning to retire fossil fuel plants throughout the State. This is a win for environmental justice.

The Plan is not perfect. Ideas for market-based “cap and invest,” and biofuels schemes should be rejected if they can’t overcome design flaws and stakeholder concerns. While the state’s climate law should ultimately prohibit the use of most “alternative fuels,” like “renewable natural gas” and hydrogen for use in pipelines on an emissions basis, the Plan is wrong to contemplate these false solutions. Likewise, looks into so-called “advanced-nuclear” are a dangerous distraction.

The Scoping Plan, however, provides a comprehensive approach to reaching the state’s nation-leading climate goals with a focus on justice and equity. The next step is to see it fully implemented.

Dr. Paul Shepson, Dean, School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences at Stony Brook University only offered a short statement:

I will start by noting and asking us to remember that people around the world have not been paying the actual costs of burning fossil fuels to meet our energy needs; and so it is exciting and just and honorable that we are now embarking on a better way, with far fewer collateral costs to the environment, in support of ALL living things on the planet. And so, I enthusiastically endorse the December 19, 2022 final version of the New York State Climate Action Council Scoping Plan. While the Scoping Plan incorporates multiple compromises in wording and orientation, given the diverse and sometimes divergent interests of components of the CAC membership, it is nonetheless a great statement of New York State’s commitment to national and global leadership in the effort to achieve climate stabilization. The Scoping Plan, which supports the implementation of the CLCPA, is a document of which I am proud, and feel fortunate to have been able to contribute to its completion. I am impressed by and grateful for the hard work and dedication of the agency staff members who worked to bring this effort to completion, and the fantastic leadership of our co-chairs and of Sarah Osgood, and want to thank my fellow CAC members for helping to make this process enjoyable, and successful.

Council Members who Voted Against the Scoping Plan

I don’t think it is a coincidence that three members of the Climate Action Council with the most energy system practical experience voted against approval of the Scoping Plan.

Donna L. DeCarolis, President, National Fuel Gas Distribution Corporation explained that she supported many aspects of the Scoping Plan.  However her statement described why she voted against it:

Throughout my tenure on the Council, and from my perspective as the President of a utility in western New York serving communities with more than 1.6 million people, I have continued to express concerns about the Scoping Plan’s consumer impacts – for residential homeowners, small businesses and industrial interests in the state – and to offer perspectives and alternatives that will allow us to meet the requirements of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (Climate Act) while preserving reliability (at both the wholesale power generation level and for homes and businesses), energy system resiliency and an affordable transition for consumers. I find the final Scoping Plan falls short in this regard, and there remain significant concerns that could jeopardize the reliable, resilient and affordable provision of energy for the state’s residents and businesses. Specifically, the Scoping Plan:

● Fails to adequately ensure grid reliability for consumers;
● Relies too heavily on a single energy source that is prone to weather-related disruption; and,
● Does not include a full assessment of impacts on consumer energy affordability.

Gavin Donohue, President and CEO, Independent Power Producers of New York also voted against approving the Scoping Plan.  His statement overview is a good summary of his position:

Two years ago, I was appointed to the State’s Climate Action Council. The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (“CLCPA”) requires an economy-wide approach to addressing climate change and decarbonization, coupled with mandates to deliver 70% of New York’s energy from renewable resources by 2030 and 100% emissions-free electricity supply by 2040 (“100 by 40 target”). The Scoping Plan (“Plan”) was intended to inform New York residents and businesses about measures necessary to meet the requirements of the CLCPA. While the Council is required to update the Plan at least once every five years, it is essential that the inaugural Plan is practical, comprehensive, and contains provisions that send investment signals necessary to achieve the CLCPA’s requirements in a reliable and cost-effective manner. There is no backup plan to this one, and the manner in which the document is structured does not achieve the expectations set two years ago.

I am voting against the final Plan since it remains significantly lacking in these core areas, with additional concerns as discussed below:

● Reliability is inadequately addressed, putting New York at risk for economy crushing blackouts and potential public safety risks.
● High energy costs for energy consumers and the impact on their cost of living and on the competitiveness of New York businesses.
● Insufficient programs to keep benefits of existing renewable facilities in this state.
● Leaping to moratoriums and bans instead of developing innovative technologies.
● Undefined wording and the lack of a glossary of terms creates ambiguity in some of the Plan’s language.

To help raise awareness for these concerns and ensure that New York’s clean energy transition is done in a more responsible manner, IPPNY, along with the New York State AFL-CIO, the New York State Building & Construction Trades Council, and Business Council of New York State, formed a unique coalition to develop a set of seven principles1 to advance New York’s clean energy goals and establish the criteria to be met by the Plan. This coalition put productive and positive ideas on the table to make the Plan better. Unfortunately, these principles were insufficiently addressed by the Council and the Plan.

Dennis Elsenbeck, Head of Energy and Sustainability, Phillips Lytle was the final Council member to vote against the Scoping Plan.  He explained that he voted against the Plan because “we have fundamentally missed the mark on balancing environmental and economic sustainability, choosing one over the other, thereby limiting the potential to achieve either goal.”  His statement included five key concerns that led to that decision.  The first two concerns are:

Limiting our solutions by losing sight of our climate challenges

We must not lose sight of the challenges we are working to solve. The CLCPA set ambitious climate and clean energy goals to safeguard our state’s resources for future generations while reinvesting in disadvantaged communities. Much of our discussions appeared to be more about shutting down the natural gas transmission and distribution network than on achieving the 85% Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reduction by 2050. Although they may appear similar, shutting down the natural gas network and achieving the CLCPA’s GHG goals are separate objectives requiring different technical paths. Our focus should be meeting our GHG reduction goals. Any discussions surrounding the natural gas transition should explore, with equal weight, what we are transitioning from and what we may be transitioning to. In my experience, limiting options also decreases the probability of meeting aggressive goals, such as our GHG objective.

Readiness of our Electric System

Much of the CLCPA outlines a transition from a fossil fuel to an all-electric economy. In my opinion, New York’s current electric distribution infrastructure cannot handle the projected 50% increase in demand. I have been adamant throughout Council discussions that without action, such as a PSC Order requiring utilities to respond, the electric distribution system is not equipped to accommodate such a transition without major investment-the cost, timing and implementability of which is yet to be determined. The Scoping Document begins to frame this challenge but falls short on how to resolve the matter_ As with most states and countries, climate initiatives begin on the supply side of the electric system. Large scale renewable energy projects appear to be focused on land (and water) availability and not as much on proximity to load centers resulting ina need for additional transmission investment; we must anticipate the impact of electrification on the distribution system to fully explore non-traditional utility investment by engaging market participants. Subject matter experts such as regulatory agencies, the NYISO, NERC and the electric utilities must be given the opportunity to respond to the Scoping Document before it reaches the Governor’s desk. We should have a more balanced and mandated planning strategy that aligns supply, demand and delivery and advances the CLCPA’s goals and our state’s economic development aspirations for business expansion, attraction and site readiness. We need to resolve the issue of dispatchable supply through continued exploration of the role of long duration storage, nuclear, hydrogen, renewable natural gas and other non-fossil-based approaches to ensure that we have a stable electric system in concert with how we progress with any gas transition strategy.

Conclusion

These statements give a good overview of the positions and motivations of Council membership.  Needless to say, I strongly endorse the statements of the three members who voted against the Scoping Plan.  When I find time I intend to address some of the more egregious claims of the proponents.

The Plan is just a framework that does not include a feasibility analysis to ensure the strategies proposed will maintain current standards of electric system reliability or the reliability of any other energy system component for that matter.  Readers of this blog are well aware of the affordability crises that similar programs at other jurisdictions that are further along are experiencing this winter.  The statements presented include a couple of references to a claim that the costs of inaction are greater than the cost of action.  Earlier this year I posted an article here describing the machinations used to make that misleading and inaccurate claim.  I made those arguments to the Council in my verbal comments and followed up with detailed written comments but there was no acknowledgement of them by the Council.  This whole process has been rigged from the start to get the pre-ordained answer.

The proponents of the Climate Act Scoping Plan are bound and determined to dive into this net-zero transition plan.  Unfortunately, they don’t want to check to see if there is any water in the pool.


Roger Caiazza blogs on New York energy and environmental issues at Pragmatic Environmentalist of New York.  More details on the Climate Leadership & Community Protection Act are available here and an inventory of over 250 articles about the Climate Act is also available.   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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gdtkona
December 24, 2022 10:07 am

A plan, that, if eventually implemented, will have no measurable impact on climate and world CO2 emissions.

Mason
December 24, 2022 10:08 am

Too little practical experience by the committee, too much woke equity ideology. This will go down in flames when enacted. Most of the “solutions” do not exist. Fairy dust and unicorn farts…..

observa
Reply to  Mason
December 25, 2022 3:22 am

our eye is on the prize and we in New York are wise to take climate action and have it serve as a model to the rest of the country.

…and they have quantum computing to model everything required for our eco-future-
https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/techandscience/ford-used-a-quantum-computer-to-find-better-ev-battery-materials/ar-AA15Dayc
Simples really.

Curious George
December 24, 2022 10:14 am

What responsibility does the Climate Action Council bear? Who publishes the real-time location of their private jets?

Tom Halla
December 24, 2022 10:25 am

The advocates for this plan are playing buzz-word bingo, acting as if rhetoric will generate power.
Their rejection of natural gas and nuclear show they somehow think wind and solar can suffice.

Nigel in California
December 24, 2022 10:39 am

I don’t think it’s that’s they don’t understand basic total cost of ownership calculations, but more that they let their convictions overshadow their common sense.

JamesB_684
Reply to  Nigel in California
December 24, 2022 1:07 pm

Common sense? There is no evidence that they have any whatsoever.

mleskovarsocalrrcom
December 24, 2022 10:48 am

More virtue signaling without common sense.

David Dibbell
December 24, 2022 10:58 am

Roger Caiazza, thank you for this report and for all that you have been doing. We (NY residents, ratepayers, and energy users of all sorts) will be in a world of hurt unless we can somehow elect more clear-thinking representatives and officials from bottom to top.

spetzer86
Reply to  David Dibbell
December 24, 2022 12:36 pm

The only way you can elect better representatives is by putting yourself mentally in a different state. Now, follow that action by putting yourself physically in a better state and problem solved.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  David Dibbell
December 24, 2022 6:26 pm

‘In 1964, the Supreme Court, under Chief Justice Earl Warren, decided in Reynolds v. Sims (377 U.S. 533) that the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause (Amendment XIV, Section 1) requires equal legislative representation for all citizens, even in the state senates.‘

For those wondering how the good people of Upstate NY get continually steamrolled by progressive Democrats, it all dates back to the Warren Court.

rogercaiazza
Reply to  David Dibbell
December 25, 2022 10:40 am

Thank you. It is frustrating to watch this slow motion train wreck on it’s way to the inevitable conclusion.

wontondon
December 24, 2022 10:58 am

Rud Istvan
December 24, 2022 10:59 am

This is a good thing. It now officially exists, yet cannot possibly become reality. That will eventually dawn on them. Meanwhile, they deserve all the individual ridicule we can heap on them.

Beta Blocker
Reply to  Rud Istvan
December 24, 2022 12:05 pm

What will become reality over the coming decade is more of the same — the continued retirement of reliable sources of baseload generation without anything resembling an equivalent replacement in terms of capacity and 24/7/365 reliability.

If the opinions and attitudes of my relatives now living in the state are any kind of indication, New Yorkers will not acknowledge their energy ship is sinking unless and until the waves are washing over the decks and the cold water is swirling around their feet. And maybe not even then.

David Dibbell
Reply to  Rud Istvan
December 24, 2022 12:06 pm

A fair point. I have to believe that sensible folks within NYSERDA, NYPA, NYISO will eventually explain the hard reality of it all to those in charge. I have worked with some of those people a few years ago. It may take a period of pain, though, like the UK and Germany are facing presently, to get the population energized against this insane plan.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  David Dibbell
December 24, 2022 12:24 pm

I think you are right. It will take considerable pain for libs in New England banning new natgas pipelines and residential hookups.

JamesB_684
Reply to  David Dibbell
December 24, 2022 1:08 pm

“Hard reality” is racist and patriarchal.

Rick C
Reply to  Rud Istvan
December 24, 2022 2:23 pm

Yup. It will soon be shoved in a drawer somewhere and when the 5 year mandatory review date has passed someone will probably pull it out, see how little has actually been done, and will quietly memory-hole the whole idiotic plan. That’s the fate of most bureaucratic output that has no intrinsic value.

michael hart
Reply to  Rick C
December 25, 2022 7:11 am

That sounds likely.
I recall back in the 1980’s (I think), California had some law about zero-emissions vehicles being mandated by around 2000 (I think).

What ever happened to that grandiose and unachievable law?

Mr.
December 24, 2022 11:06 am

This “Plan” is just more catechism from the climate cult disciples.

a manual giving basic instruction in a subject, usually by rote or repetition.

Frank from NoVA
December 24, 2022 11:09 am

So, it’s taken 3 years to rubber stamp the ‘Scoping Plan’ in a state that effectively has no opposition to the Democrats. Doesn’t seem that they’re on target to actually implement net zero by 2050, but they’ll certainly do a lot of damage over the next decade or so.

Kevin Kilty
December 24, 2022 11:34 am

They produced an impossible plan not just through the efforts of people utterly ignorant about the central topic of the plan, but with the aid of experts and consultants. Who are such experts and consultants?

Beta Blocker
Reply to  Kevin Kilty
December 24, 2022 12:15 pm

Who are such experts and consultants? They are people who recognize that telling a well-funded client just what that client wants to hear can be a highly lucrative enterprise.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Kevin Kilty
December 24, 2022 12:16 pm

The “experts and consultants” are those making vast sums of money feeding the Leftist ideological and anti-science fantasies of the truly ignorant. At 74 years of age it is still my hope to live to see NY, CA, Germany and the UK crash and burn, their citizens “storming the Bastille.”

Anyway, Merry Christmas to all!

Last edited 1 month ago by Dave Fair
Editor
Reply to  Kevin Kilty
December 24, 2022 12:42 pm

When people in power genuinely want to understand stuff, they look for genuine experts and consultants.
When people in power want a particular answer, there are always high profile ‘experts and consultants’ who will take the money. Al Gore, David Attenborough, Nicholas Stern, Brian Cox, and many many more. Far too many more.

gezza1298
Reply to  Mike Jonas
December 25, 2022 5:36 am

People in power are blinded by ‘prestige’ and therefore select their ‘experts’ accordingly such that many of us here have much better knowledge than these ‘experts’ but alas have no prestige.

rogercaiazza
Reply to  Kevin Kilty
December 25, 2022 10:43 am

I agree with all the responses that boil down to money talks

B Zipperer
Reply to  Kevin Kilty
December 26, 2022 3:37 pm

Kevin
In a quote, Howarth thanks Marc Jacobsen of Stanford… Is that same Jacobsen who was so embarrassed by the takedown of his study of the feasibility of powering the USA by renewables that he sued [and lost badly!] his critic & the journal that published it?
If so, public & legal humiliation is not enough to change the true-believers mind.
He is now going to wreck just the state of New York instead of the entire country.

Beta Blocker
Reply to  B Zipperer
December 26, 2022 5:17 pm

Mark Jacobson’s 2015 paper, which is still being cited by renewable energy advocates, has a short qualifying sentence on the first page which — in its practical effect — states that achieving 100% carbonless energy in the US by 2050 requires cutting America’s total consumption of energy by 39%. This is to be done by electrifying everything while making simultaneous improvements in the efficiency of electricity production and consumption. No one I know personally who supports Net Zero will acknowledge this qualification is present.

Editor
December 24, 2022 12:28 pm

This whole process has been rigged from the start to get the pre-ordained answer.“. Everything now is done that way.
As for …
● Reducing energy bills
● Improving our health and lowering health care costs
● Reversing decades of environmental injustice that has caused such harm to those who live, work, and play in our state’s disadvantaged communities.
… we all know that the plan will achieve the exact opposite.

I chose the words “we all know” deliberately. “We all” includes the people planning these obscene laws. They know full well that they will be heaping misery on other people. Somehow, in their warped little brains, it isn’t going to affect them. Or maybe they have shown their hand in their objective to “safeguard our state’s resources for future generations“. They want to stop others from using fossil fuels now, so that they and theirs can use it all for themselves now and into the future.

Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

Mike McMillan
December 24, 2022 1:14 pm

Ay, caramba, such a pile of malarkey, where to begin ?

Let us hope the evil neighboring “nearby states of Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Ohio” have the good sense to invite the affected N.Y. companies to move over to their friendlier business climates, (a beneficial climate change).

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Mike McMillan
December 25, 2022 7:13 am

The political reality in PA is that the progressives just ‘elected’ a brain dead ogre to the US Senate. What makes you think they won’t follow NY’s example?

Richard M
December 24, 2022 2:35 pm

Instead of wasting an untold amount of money and time on this fake crisis, these people could have came up with a plan to attack increasing crime.

Face-palm.

Drake
Reply to  Richard M
December 24, 2022 2:56 pm

“These people” could NEBER come up with ANY plan to produce a beneficial result in ANY way. They are leftists and their plans can only provide a means of transferring wealth from the productive to their leftist crony friends without EVER achieving the stated results, since achieving the stated results would put them out of their jobs.

sherro01
December 24, 2022 4:51 pm

Roger,
Is there any scope to create a body similar in size and charter, but with different objectives and seek to have it recognised? Why must NY suffer because of a cherry-picked board?
Geoff S

rogercaiazza
Reply to  sherro01
December 25, 2022 10:46 am

Not that I am aware of. I cling to the hope that there is a safety valve buried in some regulation that says that aspects can be delayed of there are risks to safe and reliable power supply and impacts on affordability. Whether that provision will be enacted is another story.

Larry Hamlin
December 24, 2022 6:00 pm

A cesspool full of total BS.

michel
December 25, 2022 1:50 am

A most valuable post, since it shows clearly in the reasons the supporters of the measures give that we are dealing with religious feeling. Nothing practical.

These are measures which they have no idea how to implement, and which, if they implemented them, would have no effect on climate. And what’s obvious from the comments is that anyway the last thing on their mind is effective action to reduce global emissions. Its all about climate justice and setting an example… etc.

Its like tackling illiteracy not by improving teaching methods but by filling the schools with anti-racist advisers. The total lack of focus in the policy on measures which will address the supposed problem is the same in both cases.

Beta Blocker
Reply to  michel
December 25, 2022 7:56 am

How the Act is being interpreted in practice by the state’s regulatory authorities could have some number of highly adverse effects on how the power markets operate in New York State, effects which force the state and its citizens to experience an ever-shrinking supply of electricity. See my comment here in response to a comment made by Barnes Moore.

David Dibbell
December 25, 2022 5:36 am

Just found this. “Gas for me, but not for thee.” New York State Office of General Services.

Contract issued in July, no doubt recognizing the necessity of predictable pricing and reliable supply of energy-dense natural gas for the current year.

https://wwe2.osc.state.ny.us/transparency/contracts/contracttransactions.cfm?Contract=0000000000000000000104559

Oh, but we have PLANS to electrify! Right. You go first, for all NY state facilities. Tell us how it works out. You are nuts.

Last edited 1 month ago by David Dibbell
rogercaiazza
Reply to  David Dibbell
December 25, 2022 10:48 am

I will have to follow up on this!

Barnes Moore
December 25, 2022 6:04 am

“Through the CLCPA, the citizens of New York are taking responsibility for these out-of-state emission caused by our use of fossil fuels, particularly for fossil natural gas. The way to reduce these emissions is to rapidly reduce our use of fracked shale gas”.

Brilliant!

Beta Blocker
Reply to  Barnes Moore
December 25, 2022 7:24 am

This statement raises a question which would be useful for Roger Caiazza to address the next time he writes an article about the CLCPA scoping plan.

The CLCPA clearly forbids the addition of more natural gas capacity to New York state’s energy mix, either for electricity generation or for use as a source of residential, business, and industrial heating. In other words, no addition of gas-fired generation capacity, and no additions to the supply of natural gas for use as a source of residential, business, and industrial heating.

As I read the act, any upgrades to the state’s internal power transmission capacity which could have the impact of causing out-of-state carbon emissions to rise are also forbidden.

As the decade moves forward more wind and solar will be added to New York State’s energy mix.

My first question:

Suppose that a power utility serving New York State has access to gas-fired generation assets and also to wind & solar assets. Suppose further that over a five year period, this utility adds 1 GW nameplate of wind or solar to their generation portfolio.

At the end of that five year period (or whatever) will New York’s regulatory authorities then compel that utility to reduce its reliance on gas-fired generation by an equivalent 1 GW or more of nameplate power generation capacity?

My second question:

It’s been said that the wind is always blowing somewhere, and the sun is always shining somewhere. As I read the Act, any upgrades to the state’s internal power transmission infrastructure which could have the impact of causing out-of-state carbon emissions to rise are also forbidden

Because of the way the CLCPA is written, is it possible that the practical effect of the Act will be to force power utilities to rely solely on in-state wind & solar power generation assets, because relying on the regional power grid could expose the state to externally-generated fossil fuel power?

rogercaiazza
Reply to  Beta Blocker
December 25, 2022 10:52 am

Good questions and are among the long list of the inconvenient details that would be addressed in a feasibility plan but that have been ignored in the Scoping Plan. I have not talked to anyone about these points or thought much about it either. Another one is the percentage of EV by a certain date. When that happens then what?

Beta Blocker
Reply to  rogercaiazza
December 25, 2022 1:46 pm

Biden’s very aggressive schedule for achieving Net Zero nationally all but demands that forced retirements of gas-fired capacity must begin immediately.

And so the issue I’m following most closely right now is what will be done with natural gas in the next decade.

Will New York’s State’s in-state gas-fired generation be forcibly retired without reliable 24/7/365 replacement? And if so, through what kind of regulatory pathway and means will it be done?

That pathway might involve some combination of federal and state regulatory action which forces gas-fired generation off the grid not only inside New York, but also off the regional grid as well.

rogercaiazza
Reply to  Beta Blocker
December 26, 2022 5:59 am

In New York they still have to deal with the New York Independent System Operator and the New York State Reliability Council who have the final say on retirement decisions and reliability rules. Check out NY DEC DAR-21 for the latest guidance on the Climate Act and air permit applications. A lot of room for interpretation but it opens the door to shutdowns of existing sources.

Beta Blocker
Reply to  rogercaiazza
December 26, 2022 7:37 am

Roger, thanks for your response and for the link. After reading the DEC guidance, I too believe that the door has now been opened for the enforced shutdown of legacy in-state fossil-fuel generation capacity, which is now almost exclusively gas-fired.

Lawsuits filed by the environmental NGO’s will ensure that if enforced shutdowns of legacy power generation resources are determined by the courts to be within the scope and intent of the Climate Act, those shutdowns most certainly will go forward.

The only question will be how far and how fast those retirements will proceed; and if those retirements will proceed knowing that equivalent wind-solar-battery and DEFR generation has not been deployed sufficiently enough to fully cover the lost capacity — stated in annual megawatt-hours, not in megawatts nominal.

I have some more questions for you, if I may ….

1: What other state agencies besides DEC which have permitting responsibilities at the state level — those which might be effected by the Climate Act — are or will be publishing similar permitting guidance to what DEC has produced?

2: How extensively does the Climate Act affect county and city permitting agencies of one kind or another? Is there much discussion going on at these lower governmental levels as to how each county and city agency must respond to the Act?

Thanks in advance.

Last edited 1 month ago by Beta Blocker
rogercaiazza
Reply to  Beta Blocker
December 26, 2022 1:56 pm

The guidance is going to make the permitting process uglier than it is already. The requirement for public meetings is going to result in political theater at its finest – all bluster and emotion with no effect on the outcome. 

DEC has the most permitting responsibilities. When DEC promulgated new standards for old simple cycle peaking turbines (the Peaker Rule (6NYCRR Part 227-3)) DEC worked with NYISO works to ensure reliability issues were addressed for any permit application affecting electric generation viability. I argued that should be the model for the new permitting guidance but it is not clear if that will be the case.  For new generating facilities the State quashed any home rule issues and setup a new renewable energy permitting process controlled by the Office of Renewable Energy Siting. The NYISO and the NYS Reliability Council are both aware and are working on their responsibilities for reliability. In my opinion, they will be the fall guys when the State finally has to admit that this dog won’t hunt. Bottom line is that I don’t expect any similar guidance for other agencies but will note that the usual suspects are demanding it.

With respect to county and city permitting I think it depends on the situation. Any jurisdiction that has to deal with new renewable resource development is surely aware and has been impacted by the Act. I am not sure how much the others are affected. There is one hurdle for the proponents that is not necessarily obvious. New York City agencies are deeply involved with the Climate Act and their own similar regulations. However, they also are leery of the reliability consequences and I am sure will demand that current reliability standards be maintained. The other permitting authority that is going to be a factor is the NYC Fire Department. I know they have reservations about utility-scale energy storage facilities. How that will work out vis-à-vis the EJ groups demanding no combustion in the city because energy storage has no emissions will be interesting. Someone is going to have to tell the EJ folks that in the real world no energy resource is perfect and you have to consider tradeoffs. Stay tuned this is going to be interesting.

Beta Blocker
Reply to  rogercaiazza
December 26, 2022 3:43 pm

Thanks Roger. Yes, the permitting process will in fact become uglier than it is now. Much uglier if such a thing is possible, and for everyone with a stake in the permitting process, regardless of which side they represent.

Experts in permitting process and in the application of environmental law will be making a huge bundle as regulatory implementation of the Climate Act goes forward.

What I think will be most interesting to watch will be what happens when those government officials assigned with traditional responsibilities for public safety and protection clash head-to-head with those officials assigned to ensure the Climate Act goes forward without delay.

michael hart
Reply to  Barnes Moore
December 25, 2022 7:38 am

The shame is that the interstate commerce clause will prevent them from banning out-of-state electricity supplies using traditional generation. If they could, they probably would.

Beta Blocker
Reply to  michael hart
December 25, 2022 9:02 am

The courts will be figuring out these kinds of issues as they are emerging over the next decade. However, as a practical matter, control of in-state energy transmission & distribution infrastructure is a matter solely for in-state authorities to decide. One way to limit New York State’s access to fossil energy is simply to limit the energy transport capacities of any and all in-state pathways to out of state energy resources.

michael hart
December 25, 2022 6:59 am

“The Plan is just a framework that does not include a feasibility analysis…”

Why do a feasibility analysis for something that cannot work?

If New York want’s to f itself up the a, then I’m tempted to say go ahead. Be my guest. The world needs some examples of utter failure.

rogercaiazza
Reply to  michael hart
December 25, 2022 10:56 am

When I hear the preaching about setting a good example, I want to ask do you realize that if you set a bad example you set your stupid crusade back much worse than your alleged good example.. Other than the fact that I was born, raised, lived most of my life, and was planning to die here the inevitable bad example is a possible reality slap to this nonsense. I keep hoping that common sense will prevail before the feces becomes entangled with the fan. Chances seem slim for that to happen though.

Stuart Baeriswyl
December 25, 2022 8:35 am

Thank you Roger for this second, I believe, installment on the topic. What a gigantic boondoggle(s). That’s the word I was looking for though I was trying to come up with some old parable or mythological legend that could under score how ridiculous New York’s plan is. It is sad to think about all the money wasted in the planning and at least initial execution of these projects.

rogercaiazza
Reply to  Stuart Baeriswyl
December 25, 2022 10:59 am

Thanks. Unfortunately it is not just the money the impacts to agriculture due to the lack of a utility-scale solar siting policy that protects prime farmland, the inevitable impacts to birds and bats, and the risks to a catastrophic blackout all make this the poster child for a boondoggle.

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