Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Andrew Cuomo's New NY Agenda

Our new Governor Andrew Cuomo needs to enroll in John Droz course on Wind Energy 101 and learn what really happens scientifically within the wind industry because apparently Cuomo hasn’t learned from his years experience as NYS AG what the wind industry is really all about. Cuomo has apparently authored three agendas in 2010 on his thoughts about improving NYS after he takes charge as governor. The agendas are entitled: The New NY Agenda Power NY; The New NY Agenda: A Plan for Action; The New NY Agenda - A Cleaner, Greener NY. – all are available to view on the internet. Should anyone have doubts that Cuomo highly supports wind energy in NYS, both terrestrial and offshore – then read through his three recent New NY Agendas and come to a conclusion. Cuomo’s thoughts are sometimes repeated somewhat in all 3 “agendas”. These are a blend of overstatements; understatements, dreaming, moonstruck and just plain errors. But the reader should be convinced that Cuomo is definitely looking out for his downstate friends and their best interests. If you believe what Cuomo has written in these “agendas” – you must believe in the tooth fairy. Regarding wind – we have major reason to worry with Cuomo in command! To save you time - please continuing reading and we’ll share with you some of Cuomo’s thoughts as mentioned (culled) in these three “Agendas”. Their page numbers are on the left and the text in blue is what Cuomo’s agenda thoughts are about.

Beginning with:

The New NY Agenda Power NY.

p. iv - Make New York the Nation’s Leader in Wind Power

p. iv - Promote On-Shore Wind Projects and Facilitate Siting

p. iv - Enter Into Power Purchase Agreement for Off-Shore Wind When Economically Feasible

p. 1-2 Environmental Quality: Environmental quality and sustainability must be a prime consideration in New York’s energy policy. This means transitioning to cleaner fuels with less carbon emissions and renewable fuel sources like wind and solar power and other alternative technologies.

p. 8-9 we should add new transmission capacity where necessary to meet our energy goals. An example of the type of transmission project that could meet our criteria is one that would build a transmission line that enables New York to purchase low-cost and renewable hydropower from Canada in the hot summer months (our peak usage time) while selling our excess energy—including unused wind power—in Canada’s cold winter months. One of our priorities of our transmission policies should be to expand the market for wind power and other energy sources from Central and Western New York, thereby advancing both our renewable energy goals and economic development in that part of the State.

p. 11 With strong leadership and enlightened policies, New York can be a leader in this transition to a more efficient and greener energy economy. New York hosts major “cleantech” businesses such as General Electric and Corning that are leaders in sectors such as wind power, high tech glass insulation that improves energy efficiency, and the burgeoning field of battery technologies that can support electric and hybrid cars.

p. 12 Expanding the State’s use of renewable fuels such as wind and solar power, as well as repowering power plants so that they operate more efficiently and produce fewer harmful emissions, reflect our commitment to environmental quality.

p. 23 The State must ensure that its generation sources include both sufficient baseload supply as well as other sources that, although may be less consistent in producing electricity, supplement the baseload supply, such as wind turbines that produce greater amounts of electricity at night and under windier conditions.

p. 71 Expand Wind and Solar Power and Repower Old Plants to make them Cleaner and More Efficient

p. 71 On-shore wind power is generally cost competitive, but its greatest output often comes when demand is low.

p. 72-73 However, even as the State increases its use of renewable energy, it must ensure that it has a sufficient supply of electrical power that can be dispatched when needed at any time—a quality that wind and solar power do not yet have because they generate electricity only when those resources are available.

p. 73 Wind is the most promising renewable resource for large-scale energy generation in New York. While up-front costs remain significant, recent developments in wind power generation technology—including increases in the size of available turbines—have substantially lowered such costs.

p. 73-74 Now, with the support of the federal production tax credit for wind power generation, state-of-the-art wind power plants can generate electricity for less than 5 cents/kWh, a price that is competitive with new gas-fired power plants.

p. 74 Unfortunately, in recent years some unscrupulous developers of wind power engaged in unethical and illegal behavior. That’s why, as Attorney General, Andrew Cuomo established a Wind Industry Ethics Code (“Code”). The Attorney General’s Code prohibits conflicts of interest between municipal officials and wind energy companies and establishes public disclosure requirements on wind companies. This code is the result of investigations of the relationship between wind energy companies and local government officials who control local zoning and land use decisions. The Code is monitored by a Wind Energy Task force made up of representatives of local government, good government advocates and the wind industry.

p. 74-75 The robust development of wind power generation in New York requires that we overcome some significant barriers. We must work hard to address the lack of adequate transmission capacity for renewable energy from upstate areas to the high demand downstate region, while remaining sensitive to the guiding principle of equity among regions of the State. In addition, we must reform the State’s regulation of both siting and financing of such projects to ensure that unnecessary delays and uncertainty do not prevent power producers and utilities from investing in upgrades to the transmission infrastructure. The Power NY Agenda will achieve these goals through the measures outlined below.

p. 75-76 Promote On-Shore Wind Projects and Facilitate Siting There are various wind generation projects that have been proposed in New York State and are currently awaiting development with the assistance of strong leadership in Albany. With existing subsidies from the Renewable Portfolio Standard (“RPS”) that is included in ratepayers’ bills and federal tax incentives, on-shore wind power is now cost-competitive with other forms of generation and thus has the potential to increase dramatically if the State takes the proper steps. As described in other sections, the State should promote smart transmission investments that expand the market for wind power. Next, as described in sections below, the State needs a new energy siting law that will create an accelerated siting process—allowing for necessary community input and protecting critical community interests—that ensures that sound projects are approved and permitted expeditiously. A new siting law should include an expedited review and approval for renewable energy.

p. 76 Enter Into Power Purchase Agreement for Off-Shore Wind When Economically Feasible

In 2009, NYPA issued a request for proposals for developers to build the nation’s first freshwater wind farm in the Great Lakes—a utility-scale project that would produce as much as 500 MW of new electric power to be purchased by NYPA. NYPA has also set up a “Great Lakes Offshore Wind Business Registry” to involve local companies in the project and create a list of companies to draw upon in the construction and development of the project.

p. 77 In addition, several responses were received to the Request for Information issued by the LIPA, NYPA, and Con Edison (the “Collaborative”) for a new off-shore wind facility off of the Rockaway Peninsula (the “Long Island-New York City Offshore Wind Project”) in the Atlantic Ocean. Because of its location, the Long Island-New York City Offshore Wind Project would help address the difficult transmission problems associated with bringing sufficient power to customers downstate.

p. 77 Because off-shore wind projects produce energy at a higher cost than the current market price, we must be mindful of the impact on the affordability

of energy. We cannot have renewable energy irrespective of cost. But if these projects can be delivered at a cost that has only a minimal impact on total energy costs, building these projects will serve to hedge against unforeseen future increases in fossil fuel prices, create significant economic development opportunities and serve as a strong endorsement of New York’s commitment to environmental quality and the new energy economy.

p. 78 One of the distinct advantages of solar energy is that, unlike wind turbines and other sources of renewable energy, solar energy can be implemented in New York City and other downstate regions such as Long Island where the demand for energy is greatest. Solar power can provide these downstate areas with new sources of power without requiring new hard-to-site power plants or transmission lines.

p. 100 A number of transmission projects have been proposed that should be carefully evaluated to determine if they meet the criteria adding new transmission capacity in New York. One such project contemplates building a transmission line that would enable New York to purchase low-cost and renewable hydropower in the hot summer months (our peak usage time) while selling our excess energy including unused wind power to Canada during the cold winter months (their peak usage period).

p. 101 To determine where and what types of new transmission infrastructure should be built, the State should build on the ongoing work of the State Transmission Assessment and Reliability Study (“STARS”) task force, a multi-stage analysis of the State’s transmission needs and plans for addressing those needs. The STARS process is currently addressing the enhanced transmission that will be needed to bring future wind power into the bulk transmission system.

p. 101-102 New York State has not built a major new above-ground transmission line in more than 20 years, leading not only to increased congestion and aging infrastructure but also a lack of capacity to bring new wind power downstate.

Now: The New NY Agenda: A Plan for Action

p. 122 New York State already has ambitious goals to improve energy efficiency and increase the use of renewable fuels, but not nearly enough is being done to meet those goals. To make more rapid progress, the New York State Power Authority and the Long Island Power Authority must be made full partners in advancing energy related projects that will create jobs and grow the economy. Their efforts should include both major wind-power projects and making possible smaller “distributed generation” renewable energy projects by allowing net metering.

p. 124 New York’s farmers must be able to share in the benefits of emerging technologies. Alternative energy sources—ranging from wind to biomass—can create new economic opportunities for farmers.

p. 167 Accelerate efforts to achieve energy efficiency and expanded sources of renewable energy. To make more rapid progress towards these goals, the New York State Power Authority and the Long Island Power Authority must be made full partners in advancing energy related projects that will create jobs and grow the economy. Their efforts should include both major wind-power projects and making possible smaller “distributed generation” renewable energy projects by allowing net metering.

p. 168 encouraging the use of emerging technologies such as alternative energy sources—ranging from wind to biomass; and increasing affordable access to broadband which will help connect farmers and other rural residents to the world economy.

Finally: The New NY Agenda - A Cleaner, Greener NY

p. 48 Moreover, we should build the smart grid to empower citizens to reduce their energy costs and increase efficiency, support and foster the growth of clean tech businesses, promote onshore and offshore wind projects, create a new “NY-Sun” renewable energy tax credit to stimulate investment in solar energy, jumpstart the use of solar thermal technology for water heating and enact a new fuel neutral power plant generation siting law that provides fast-track review and approval for efficient power plants that provide the most power and are located on existing plant facilities and for renewable energy projects. (Fast tracking new power plants is exactly what Cuomo wants in order to prevent or discourage legal action against power plants. What Cuomo wants to do is remove or bypass Municipal Home Rule that would prevent downstaters like Cuomo from forcing unwanted power plants upon upstaters. This would include any type of power plant be it coal, nuclear, wind, etc. This is against the NYS Constitution and would no doubt be opposed by any upstate municipality.)

p. 95-96 Close Indian Point. Andrew Cuomo has long been a supporter of closing the Indian Point nuclear power plant in Westchester and has argued that the federal government should not renew the plant’s operating license when it expires in 2013. We must find and implement alternative sources of energy generation and improve transmission to replace the electricity now supplied by the Indian Point facility. It is reported that the Indian Point nuclear facility supplies 30% of New York City’s electricity. How could Cuomo possibly suggest the closure of this plant in a few years without a plan for its replacement? What new power plant could possibly supply NYC with 30% of its electricity?

As NYS Attorney General, Cuomo developed the Wind Industry Ethics Code. This came about as a result of shoddy and illegal wind practices by First Wind and also Nobel as they operated in NYS. Here is the gist of Cuomo’s code:

The Attorney General’s Wind Industry Ethics Code prohibits conflicts of interest between municipal officials and wind companies and establishes public disclosure requirements. The Code:

  • Bans wind companies from hiring municipal employees or their relatives, giving gifts of more than $10 during a one-year period, or providing any other form of compensation that is contingent on any action before a municipal agency
  • Prevents wind companies from soliciting, using, or knowingly receiving confidential information acquired by a municipal officer in the course of his or her official duties
  • Requires wind companies to establish and maintain a public Web site to disclose the names of all municipal officers or their relatives who have a financial stake in wind farm development
  • Requires wind companies to submit in writing to the municipal clerk for public inspection, and to publish in the local newspaper, the nature and scope of the municipal officer’s financial interest
  • Mandates that all wind easements and leases be in writing and filed with the County Clerk
  • Dictates that within sixty days of signing the Wind Industry Ethics Code, companies must conduct a seminar for employees about identifying and preventing conflicts of interest when working with municipal employees

Now if the wind industry were so clean, honorable, transparent and trusting – why would there be a need for such an ethics code? Have you ever heard of an attorney general in any state developing such a code to be signed any industry or business? Does this speak well of the wind industry? Absolutely not!

Andrew Cuomo:

“We need to do a better job of transmission. We need to get the power from upstate New York, from Western New York, low-cost power from Canada down to the metropolitan area of New York City. That’s basically a challenge of transmission lines.” – Andrew Cuomo, Hofstra/Newsday Gubernatorial Debate, October 18, 2010.

This quote from Cuomo, apparently telling the truth, made during his campaign for governor surely reveals mountains of intent. Cuomo, a typical downstate Democrat, wishes to achieve a goal of delivering huge amounts of needed electrical power to metropolitan downstate areas and Long Island. But he is respecting downstate’s wish not to pollute viewsheds with hundreds of ugly 450’ tall industrial giants that intermittently produce electricity 30% of the time so the answer is to transmit the power, to downstate, from far outside the metropolitan area and well away from pricey Long Island neighborhoods. His answer is to locate the ugly power plants upstate and build better transmission lines to downstate. One of the novel new suggestions is to buy inexpensive hydro power from Hydro-Quebec and run a transmission line laid under Lake Champlain and then over to the Hudson River and along the river bottom to the metro area – and this may not be a bad idea!

On a final note – Rochester, NY Mayor Robert Duffy is now Cuomo’s Lt. Governor.

Here’s what Robert Duffy had to say about the GLOW catastrophe in a Aug 20, 2010 Rochester Democrat & Chronicle newspaper article:

Rochester Mayor Robert Duffy said last week he believes passing resolutions of opposition is short-sighted. “We need to look at this for the long term and explore this,” he said. Duffy, who is running for lieutenant governor, said offshore wind farms were desirable as a source of renewable energy and, potentially, a source of jobs and economic growth for the Rochester region.

But, he said he knows people have legitimate concerns about the turbines, especially their esthetic impact. “If they buy a home on Beach Avenue or anywhere along the lake, they want to look out their windows every morning and see the water. I respect that,” Duffy said. “I don’t think we in any way can make a rash decision. If we put our minds together, I bet we could come up with some alternatives and compromises that could produce that first wind farm.”

In other words Duffy is willing to sell out to NYPA’s foreign developers and sacrifice Rochester’s lake shore beauty! Now that he and Cuomo are in bed together we’ll bet they attempt to find a way to force this on an unsuspecting public.

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