A Worn Web We Wove
August 22, 2011
Last Wednesday, I was honored to appear on WYSL’s “The Bill Nojay Show”; an influential talk show anchored from Rochester – a community I know very well.
Over the course of our discussion, we discussed how potential closure of a large-scale, baseload power-generating facility in Westchester County could impact the lives of those residing in communities such as Elmira, Big Flats and Greece. The simple truth is that the withdrawal of power from any corner of the grid must be met with the addition of comparable power – or a reduction in demand.
If this does not occur, it creates stress on the grid itself – impugning its reliability. This can bring about service disruptions, brownouts or system failure – culminating in blackouts.
No one denies that our transmission infrastructure is antiquated and in desperate need of modernization. In fact, Energy Secretary Steven Chu warned that the grid might not be able to handle the new renewable electricity generation expected to be brought online over the next 10 years.
And despite the impact of the “Power New York” siting law which will eventually bring new sources of power on-line, we are continuing to see plants such as Russell Station, Far Rockaway and Glenwood Landing either close – or prepare to do so. For these reasons, it’s crucial that New York maintain its existing, high-capacity baseload fleet; particularly its clean, low-carbon portfolio.
There is no question that New York’s energy web is worn and in need of repair. While the construction of a modernized, 21st century grid must become a policy priority, an equal focus must also be placed on ensuring that New York’s growing demand for baseload power can be met for decades to come.