August 9, 2011
On August 3, 2011 at Baruch College in New York City, I attended a conference organized by City Hall News, the NY Building Congress and the NY league of Conservation Voters on a timely topic: « Meeting Demand : The Policy and Politics Behind New York’s Energy Outlook ». This conference focused on energy from the perspective of New York State’s future needs. Representatives from the political world, government officials from the state and NYC, the energy community, consumer groups, and regulators were among the invitees.
The conversation was revealing as it dealt with the importance of energy to the State economy as a whole, the need for investment, and the potential to create jobs. The issue of the potential closing of Indian Point and its impact were also raised.
What struck me was the depth of the discussion and its holistic approach. Panellists spoke of the diversity of energy sources, the need for business models to develop new energy sources and attract investment, the importance of renewable energy, and the need to look for solutions beyond New York State’s borders.
All agreed that no one source of energy can meet the needs of New Yorkers and reduce the City and State’s carbon footprint. While the impacts of the possible closing of Indian Point were of course a topic of discussion, all agreed on the advantages of clean energy sources such as hydro, nuclear, wind and solar, and the importance that the City and State’s choices factor in considerations of safety and reliability as well. The need for cost efficiency, reliability and conservation were also highlighted.
The latest NYS legislative changes (the Power New York Act of 2011) which streamline the approval process for energy projects in New York State were widely praised as a step in the right direction. They create an environment for developing local industries and investing in communities that will help create jobs.
It was also noted that there is a source of energy available north of the border, one that is reliable, safe, and competitive cost wise – Quebec’s hydro power. Certainly, NYS and Quebec are already energy partners - we buy and sell electricity from each other on a regular basis- and we have the potential to expand that relationship now and in the future. Quebec applauds NYS for setting goals for the development of a greater renewable energy profile. But should Indian Point gradually close, there will also be a need to look across the border to compensate for the ensuing (and significant) reduction in capacity.
This is why discussions between Hydro-Quebec and NYS utilities have been ongoing and have included the need for better infrastructure to transport electricity from Canada to Downstate New York. This new transmission capacity would also benefit wind and solar projects in Upstate New York.
The conference concluded on an upbeat note: New York State’s energy needs are well identified, and there exists a range of solutions including Québec hydro, that are available for the future. Above all, these challenges are not insurmountable and affordable energy can become an economic engine for the future prosperity of NYS. We in Quebec share this belief. Without a doubt, we can be the providers of solutions for New York State on energy issues.
Publié par John Parisella