New York Urgently Needs To Confront the Contradiction of Trying To Electrify Everything While Also Eliminating Fossil Fuels


Francis Menton

The following post was written jointly by Jane Menton and Francis Menton:

In New York, politicians are selling the public a narrative that electricity is going to be the solution to climate change. We will eliminate all CO2 emissions by banning gasoline-powered cars, banning natural gas infrastructure, banning gas heat in buildings, and banning gas for cooking.  All of these are to be replaced with supposedly “green,” emissions-free, alternatives – which in practice consist of only one thing, electricity.  We’ve been told that this is how we are going to protect the planet for future generations.

But there is nothing emissions-free about the way electricity is currently generated in New York.  About half of our electricity comes now, as it traditionally has, from burning fossil fuels.  New York has announced plans to eliminate those from electricity generation by 2030, but as of now has no realistic plan to replace them.  Meanwhile, it is forcing its citizens to convert essential systems like heating to electricity, with no basis to believe that the electricity will be available to prevent people from freezing in the winter only a few years from now.  This is a glaring contradiction, that needs urgently to be addressed before we suffer a self-inflicted catastrophe.

At present, fossil fuels are critical to our generation of electricity.  According to the most recent data from the federal government’s Energy Information Administration, in 2021 New York got some 46% of its electricity from burning natural gas and another 1% from fuel oil, and almost all of the rest from either nuclear (25%) or hydropower (23%, most of which comes from Niagara Falls).  Non-hydro “renewables” (wood, wind and solar) provided only about 6% in total, and about 2% of that was from wood.  After decades of hype about their wondrous future, wind and solar provided only about 4%.  And in 2021, the state closed the Indian Point nuclear plant, replacing its output almost entirely with natural gas generation, meaning that the percent of our electricity supply coming from fossil fuels is now up near 50% today.

If more electricity is needed, the options are few. New nuclear plants face vociferous opposition from environmentalists, with almost no prospect that that can be overcome. A completely finished nuclear plant called Shoreham sits idle on Long Island, having never been approved for commercial operation in the face of vigorous environmental opposition. As to hydropower, we do not have another Niagara Falls. Wind and solar produce remarkably small amounts after decades of hype and massive subsidies; and what they do produce is intermittent and often unavailable when most needed on the hottest and coldest days. The last option, natural gas – the one that is available, scalable, and actually works – is the one our politicians are pledging to eliminate without anything to replace it.

In the face of this generation picture, the State and New York City are proceeding with proposed electricity mandates that will have the effect of greatly increasing demand for the power. This will either require scaling up our electric grid to match that need or else leaving people without functioning infrastructure.  Policies already in place in New York City require electrification of cars, heat, and cooking, aiming for widespread conversion by 2035, and continuing thereafter.  A piece in the Daily News on June 3 includes a projection from National Grid (one of our utilities) that the State will need to increase the capacity of the grid by 57% by 2035, and 100% by 2050.

In scenarios where people’s cars, heat, cooking and more are all entirely dependent on reliable electricity, ensuring that our electricity sources are adequate and reliable is critical to the functioning of everyday life. Yet, even as our government is rapidly rolling out electrification mandates, it is simultaneously closing the biggest piece of our reliable generation. 

New York is Exhibit A of a current crisis-in-waiting. At the State level, Governor Hochul has committed to closing all of the State’s fossil fuel electricity plants by 2030.  Current  New York State summer installed capacity is 37,520 MW, or 37.5 GW.  Of that, about 60%, or more than 22 GW, consists of natural gas facilities, which are capable of running nearly all the time and ramping up to maximum output when most needed.  Based on National Grid’s projection of 57% increased demand by 2035, New York should be planning to have 37.5 GW x 1.57, or almost 59 GW of always-available capacity on hand by that year.  Yet the only significant plans for additional capacity by 2035 consist of about 9 GW of offshore wind, and another 1.25 GW to come from a transmission line to bring hydropower from Quebec.  (In recent weeks, all of the offshore wind developers have demanded major contract price increases of 50% and up, failing which they threaten to walk off the job.)    

Something here does not remotely add up.  If New York state succeeds by 2030 in closing its natural gas plants — the plants that account for 60% of the State’s generation capacity — that would bring our total installed capacity down from 37.5 GW to as little as 15 GW. But we need almost 60 GW to meet projected demand.  And that’s 60 GW that can be called on any time as needed to meet peak usage.  The 9 GW of projected offshore wind turbines wouldn’t make much of a dent even if they operated all the time and could be dispatched to meet peak demand, which they can’t.  Instead, they will operate only about a third of the time, and at their own whim.  At best they will provide about 3 GW on average, when what we need for this full electrification project is more like 45 GW of dispatchable power to add to our existing hydro and nuclear.    

The New York Independent System Operator, which is well aware of this gigantic contradiction, talks vaguely of something they call a “dispatchable emissions-free resource” to fill the enormous gap.  Other than nuclear, which is blocked, that is something that is a pure fantasy and does not exist.

Our State’s and City’s proposed plans are putting New Yorkers on a path to catastrophe, with greatly increased dependence on electricity, but without nearly enough of the stuff to function at even the current usage level.  New York City got a huge lesson on dependence on electricity from Hurricane Sandy a decade ago, when a week-long blackout left people in high-rises without elevator service and without water.  Now they plan to add all heat, cooking, and transportation to the things that absolutely require electricity.  In that world, insufficient electricity becomes a humanitarian crisis.

It is high time for the politicians writing electricity mandates to demonstrate that it is even possible to build and scale an emission-free grid, one that is dispatchable (meaning it will work when we need it), reliable, and resilient. In today’s world, no demonstration of such a grid exists anywhere in the world.

If these mandates are allowed to go forward unabated, the real cost of will be the impoverishment of communities and destruction of quality of life. It’s up to us to realize we’re being sold a false narrative and to stop playing along. 

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Tom Halla
September 15, 2023 10:06 am

New York intends to rely on unicorn farts?

Reply to  Tom Halla
September 15, 2023 1:05 pm

I heard again today that immigration is NYC’s strength. Maybe they just need several massive hamster wheels hooked up to generators and we’ll see how well that slogan holds up.

Barnes Moore
September 15, 2023 10:26 am

Something here does not remotely add up“.

Nothing here remotely adds up. Frankly, it will likely take some type of major catastrophic grid collapse undeniably caused by over-reliance on unreliables to get people to wake up, and even then, the hard core true believers, including many in the MSM, will simply blame it on not having enough wind, solar and batteries. The people in NY, CA, and the NE in general keep voting for corrupt and simple minded politicians who push this lunacy. Sadly, people living in those areas that do not vote with the majority will be equally affected.

September 15, 2023 10:31 am

What will happen in New York and all the other virtue signaling cities claiming to go fossil fuel free is living standards will deteriorate to the point people and businesses will exit.

Reply to  mleskovarsocalrrcom
September 15, 2023 10:52 am

That is already happening.

Lee Riffee
Reply to  mleskovarsocalrrcom
September 15, 2023 12:53 pm

Yes. The only people remaining will be the very poor (who cannot afford to leave) and the very rich, who will have ways to deal with a lack of power that the average person does not.

Reply to  Lee Riffee
September 15, 2023 6:58 pm

The very poor will stay because the government will subsidize their lifestyle.

Reply to  MarkW
September 16, 2023 12:00 pm

Only until the money runs out since their tax income is dropping as people and business leave.

Reply to  mleskovarsocalrrcom
September 15, 2023 1:07 pm

The number of Fs left in me regarding the major cities is getting pretty low.

Rud Istvan
September 15, 2023 10:31 am

New York joins UK, Germany, and California as crash test dummies. What they strive to achieve is impossible, let alone in the mandated time frames. The growing pain will eventually cause the foolish policies to change. But it’s gonna take a lot of pain.
The rest of us will enjoy Schadenfreude from afar.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Rud Istvan
September 15, 2023 12:09 pm

and Wokeachusetts- as bad as any if not worse

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
September 18, 2023 5:58 am

Vermont is also scurrying to keep up with the self imposed fuel shortages. Their brilliant idea is a tax (euphemistically referred to as a “clean heat credit”) charged to fossil fuel suppliers, subsides for heat pumps (in Vermont?) as well as an increased state bureaucracy to manage this man made disaster.

This is gonna be fun!

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Yirgach
September 18, 2023 6:31 am

Well, we can heat our homes with wood- now if only we could run our cars with wood chips!

Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
September 18, 2023 1:59 pm
another ian
Reply to  Rud Istvan
September 15, 2023 1:52 pm

Or, for us in Oz, anear

Dave Yaussy
September 15, 2023 10:45 am

Kudos to Francis and Jane Menton for another in an extensive collection of excellent discourses on the futility of NY’s electrification plans. Francis in particular has been beating this drum for some time, providing clear examples of why the Empire State’s plans are patently ridiculous.

As many others on this site have commented, it’s unlikely the public will pay attention until there is significant discomfort, caused by high bills or blackouts. I’m not sure even that will cause an uprising, though. The response from our leaders will be that we don’t have enough renewables, and if only more could be constructed, problems would be averted. In the meantime, the blackouts and higher bills are the price we must pay to avoid complete destruction.

The public is in many ways like Boxer, the gullible, hardworking horse from Animal Farm, whose response to the problems and shortfalls caused by the pigs’ mismanagement was to work harder, until they sent him off to the glue factory. Here’s hoping the public will catch on before Boxer did.

September 15, 2023 10:51 am

The advocates of “green” energy will just plug their ears and talk louder, until the inevitable collapse of the grid occurs.

They did not use reason and logic to form their opinions, and they believe strenuously that their feelings are correct.

David Dibbell
September 15, 2023 11:14 am

Excellent writeup. I need to buy a bigger and better generator before they are outlawed. I already have a woodstove.

Just now I pulled this letter from Twitter. Oops, I mean from X. Three images. It is from CT, NY, MA, RI, MD, NJ to President Biden about offshore wind. The governors of these states including NY where I live have NO CLUE.

David Dibbell
Reply to  David Dibbell
September 15, 2023 11:15 am


David Dibbell
Reply to  David Dibbell
September 15, 2023 11:16 am

Sorry this is p2. The other is p3.

Lee Riffee
Reply to  David Dibbell
September 15, 2023 12:57 pm

Not surprised that Maryland’s idiotic governor is a signatory on this letter. I wonder what he will have to say when dead whales begin washing up on the beaches of the state’s premier coastal resort – Ocean City?

Lee Riffee
Reply to  Lee Riffee
September 15, 2023 12:59 pm

I would add that one of the first things this clown did once arriving in office was to sign the death warrant for most every car dealership in the state. After 2035, all residents who wish to purchase a new non-electric car will flock to dealerships in neighboring states to boost their tax revenues.

Reply to  Lee Riffee
September 15, 2023 7:03 pm

If NY is like most other states, when you register the car you have to pay sales taxes on the value of that car.

Mark Luhman
Reply to  Lee Riffee
September 15, 2023 8:58 pm

Add in they no longer know how or it illegal to render the oil out of those dead whale, Just more waste on the alter of Gaia.

Barnes Moore
Reply to  David Dibbell
September 15, 2023 12:54 pm

September 15, 2023 11:15 am

New York will pursue the blame game while getting Schumer to engineer another Federal stimulus for bailout of failed Party policies. Of course, Chicago will need to be included for their usual side payment to get the okay.

September 15, 2023 11:17 am

New Yorkers would move to Canada except things are worse there. I guess erasing choice is also part of the strategy.

September 15, 2023 11:24 am

Since the leftist cities and their plantation slaves vote for this, I can envision a situation like what is brewing in eastern Oregon — SECESSION. New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Illinois and California may face calls by suburban and rural counties for secession from the dominant cities. Let the cities then face their own self-imposed collapse. Our own 21st century Babel, Sodom and Gomorrah.

Escape while you can and don’t look back!

Barnes Moore
Reply to  pflashgordon
September 15, 2023 1:00 pm

Well, here in Florida, I would like DeSantis to drop out and have Florida secede. Not sure how that would really work, but from what I see, DC is not fixable – it is thoroughly corrupt and is really being run more by all the 3 letter agencies, NGOs and lobbyists than it is by our elected officials. I do like your approach however, more localized and more likely to succeed.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  pflashgordon
September 15, 2023 8:03 pm

A cursory look at a US electoral map shows a vast ocean of ‘Red’ counties, surrounding an archipelago of ‘Blue’ cities.

If, and it’s a big if, the Republicans do well nationwide in 2024, the dream situation would entail the secession of the Democrat dominated states, immediately followed by the secession of their Republican dominated counties to rejoin the Union.

Never happen, of course, mainly because the Left in this country is certain that its only a matter of time before they trash what’s left of limited government.

Mr Ed
September 15, 2023 11:27 am

I look at how the border crisis is impacting NYC and then add a power shortage on top
of that. The question for me is how much can the citizens stand before they rise up.
I think this winter will give us some idea on the illegal migrant issue.

Mr Ed
Reply to  Mr Ed
September 15, 2023 11:46 am

A small sample of what’s coming IMO from today====>

Gunga Din
Reply to  Mr Ed
September 15, 2023 12:48 pm

NYC is a “sanctuary city”. Far north of the border.
Now they have to deal with what the border states deal with everyday.
They’ll blame their failed energy and other policies on “A Bus Too Far”.

Reply to  Gunga Din
September 15, 2023 2:30 pm

Now they have to deal with 10% of what the border states deal with everyday.


J Boles
September 15, 2023 12:09 pm

I love that analogy, crash test dummy. They saw what happened in Texas, just wait for it to happen in NY.

Joseph Zorzin
September 15, 2023 12:19 pm

The southern half of NY state is underlain with the Marcellus shale- loaded with gas and a vast amount of it. The following story from 2020.

New York’s Frack Ban Cuts Off 12M Acres of the Marcellus Shale

Yet, NY, MA, CT and other nearby states are now nut-zero!

September 15, 2023 12:46 pm

Their “solution” to unavoidable power shortages is a measure that they often mentione in passing –


Which simply means –
“you won’t get any electricity because we aren’t producing enough. Suck it up.”

September 15, 2023 12:56 pm

Who are the major public enemies in New Your? Seems like the people filling the prisons are virtually irrelevant compared to the damage being done by politicians.

September 15, 2023 1:01 pm

Just wait for the next carrington event

September 15, 2023 1:36 pm

NYC wants everything to be electric. This is rich, coming from a city government which campaigned relentlessly for the shutdown of the two nuclear power plants at Indian Point. It also opposed the proposal to build Nine Mile Point 3, and it opposed the startup of Shoreham.

F***’em. NYC gets to stew in its own failures and imaginary fears. Cease to be a functioning democracy and you get what you deserve. Let the city disintegrate the way Detroit has over the past 50 years.

Barnes Moore
Reply to  cgh
September 16, 2023 6:14 am

Proof the democratic policies are more destructive than an atomic bomb.

Detroit vs Hiroshima.png
September 15, 2023 1:38 pm

Nice report but you need to stop referring to politicians and give names and the offices that they hold. They need to be fiercely attacked for the things they are demanding. In addition fossil fuel generation needs to be curtailed gradually but steadily starting now. These people are liars and cheats, there is no reason to wait and hope someone makes them stop, we need to stop them now.

Reply to  Bob
September 15, 2023 5:54 pm

Fossil fuel generation is going to grow, all over the world. Most nations are tired of being poor and resent lectures from their former colonial masters.

Gas and coal plants are being built every week and no plans to slow this down exist nor would be listened to.

The Blue States of the US, the other English-speaking countries, and much of Europe are committing eco-suicide.

The rest of the world sees this as somewhere between funny, sad, and gratifying.

Jamaica NYC
September 15, 2023 1:44 pm

The Collapse is how Act 2 closes.

September 15, 2023 5:43 pm

NY will do what Germany is doing: import electricity from adjacent states (in Germany’s case, countries) and walk about smugly posing as virtuous for having reduced CO2 emissions.

Barnes Moore
Reply to  kwinterkorn
September 16, 2023 6:17 am

That’s what happens in Kalifornia. KA is the largest net importer of electricity in the US.

Michael S. Kelly
September 15, 2023 5:51 pm

“…in 2021 New York got some 46% of its electricity from burning natural gas and another 1% from fuel oil, and almost all of the rest from either nuclear (25%) or hydropower (23%, most of which comes from Niagara Falls).”

Edward Katz
September 15, 2023 6:02 pm

New York’s proposals here are typical of the fantasy world that environmentalists and alternate energy advocates love to embrace. They want to replace something that works in practice with something that works only on paper.

general custer
September 15, 2023 6:32 pm

Another dimension of the New York energy scene is this. Successful or not, New Yorkers are going to pay.

September 16, 2023 12:41 am

Same thing in the UK. Close down gas with nothing to replace it, while moving everyone to heat pumps and EVs.

The strategy of the climate activists is the same everywhere, its to at least double demand for electricity while reducing the supply and making it unreliable.

Incidentally, the piece says “At best they will provide about 3 GW on average”. Yes, but the annual average is no use. The distribution of wind supply is quite flat, so you have quite some periods when even within an average production of 7GW (in the UK) there are periods of over a week with average production of well under 5GW and within and outside of such periods many days when its below 0.5GW. If its 3GW average, you have to reckon on several one week period under 1GW, and 20-30 days or more with essentially nothing.

None of the climate activists have suggested any specific ways of making this work. If gas is turned off in the UK by 2030, as Labour is proposing to do if they come to power in the UK, the result will be nationwide blackouts. So many that the grid would simply stop working at all.

Buy a generator, get it professionally installed, and at the same time get an approved fuel tank. You will need it.

Dave Andrews
Reply to  michel
September 16, 2023 6:10 am

As you know Michel Labour is living in cloud cuckoo land. Even if they win the election they are taking about their £38bn spend on unreliables from 2027 only. No way they can possibly get to 100% electricity from said unreliables by 2030, especially as National Grid has been saying for ages that facilities already in the pipeline will have to wait up to 15 years to be connected to the Grid. Miliband is an idiot.

Dave Andrews
Reply to  Dave Andrews
September 16, 2023 6:11 am

Correction £28 billion not 38

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