Feb 18, 2022
JOHN WHITTAKER email@example.com
State Sen. George Borrello wants to see New York invest in natural gas plants and expand hydroelectric power from the state’s dams and reservoirs.
And, high on his list of changes to the state’s energy policy is to end the state’s importing of power.
Borrello isn’t just giving his opinion in news releases and guest essays to newspapers, though. He recently questioned Doreen Harris, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, about the state’s importing of power while making it difficult to produce electricity from plants in Buffalo and Dunkirk.
“Right now Western New York, where I live, used to be energy independent until the closing of the two power plants,” Borrello said. “In Western New York we now import power from some of the dirtiest old-fashioned coal plants in America, places like Homer City, Pa. How do you rectify the fact that New York is now importing more power than it ever has from some of the dirtiest sources of power in America? How are we going to become 70 by 30 or 100% renewable if we’re building more pipelines to import power instead of saying we’re actually going to be renewable? How does that work when we’re building new power lines to dirty, old-fashioned coal plants?”
Harris pointed said much of the power that is being imported is hydropower from Quebec as well as some importing from Pennsylvania. While NYSERDA considers hydropower a renewable energy source, the state’s Clean Energy Standard administered by the Public Service Commission does not classify hydropower as renewable. That classification means Jamestown Board of Public Utilities customers are paying increasing amounts for renewable energy credits and zero emissions credits on their power bills every month.
“I think that was about 7% of our load that was served by renewables from Quebec,” Harris said. “And then we do import about 6% of our load from PJM to our south and our west. Ultimately that is reflected in the achievement of our goals that has long been embodied in our accounting and as the mix of resources in Pennsylvania shifts, so will our accounting thereof. I think the majority is natural gas and nuclear with a smaller amount of coal. This is all accounted for.”
Borrello has called for the state to invest in several programs, including small-scale renewable energy projects that power homes, farms and businesses, to upgrade the electrical grid rather than bringing new power generation online, use natural gas electrical plants, expand the use of nuclear power, approve new pipelines and expand use of hydropower. Frequently recently in committee meetings and on the Senate floor, Borrello has criticized the state’s decision to import power while saying it is pursuing environmentally friendly power.
“The bottom line is it’s a shell game,” Borrello said. “You’re importing power and saying we’re green here at the source. That’s the troubling part. That’s not a real commitment to actually doing it. That’s actually a commitment to pretend that we’re doing it.”