Electrification: How Much We Need Webinar

NY Grid Operator Says NY State Must Triple Amount of Electricity Produced to Electrify Everything

Expert says, “Brownouts Avoidable If Clean Energy Transition Is Done Right”

New York, NY – The Clean Energy Jobs Coaltion – NY sponsored a webinar on March 7th focused on energy supply issues as New York State moves to “electrify everything” from heating systems, to stoves and cars.   The webinar featured Kevin Lanahan, Vice President of External Affairs for the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO); Gavin Donohue, President and CEO of the Independent Power Producers of New York (IPPNY); Jay Egg, President of Egg Geothermal; and John Murphy, international representative of the United Association of Journeymen & Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry of the United States and Canada and member of the Clean Energy Jobs Coalition-NY.  Former WCBS Newsradio 88 reporter Peter Haskell serviced as moderator.

The panel discussed the pressing topic of electrification and the amount of electricity generation required to fully transition to electric power from intermittent renewable sources.

Source: NYISO presentation on CEJC Electrification Webinar 

Lanahan detailed that New York would need to double or triple its electricity generation under state climate mandates as it seeks to electrify most household appliances and building heating systems, as well as vehicles . According to NYISO, between 111-124 gigawatts (GW) of new or modified generation must be in service by 2040, triple the amount from today’s existing thermal generating capacity of 37.4 GW.

Lanahan observed that a successful transition of the electric system requires a careful balance between retiring traditional generation and new resource investment. He cautioned that, “retirements of traditional generators risk are beginning to outpace construction of new resources, due to various factors.”

When discussing electric capacity and reliability, Lanahan indicated, “Reliability margins are shrinking. Thermal generators needed for reliability are retiring or schedule to retire. We must keep our eye on investment goals or we will find ourselves in a reliability situation in the next few years.”

IPPNY emphasized that New York must address the costs of keeping the lights on if nuclear, hydrogen, natural gas, oil, and other fuel sources are banned from use. Donohue highlighted NYISO’s observation that New York City’s reliability margin is only 50 megawatts (MW) in 2025. He questioned how NYC can keep its lights on if certain peaker plants scheduled to retire under DEC emissions rules retire.

Donohue said, “To give folks perspective, 1 GW is required to power 750,000 homes.  That is the massive size of power needed just for 1 GW of intermittent renewable power. NYISO reports we need 20 GW of intermittent power.”

Source: Egg Geo presentation during CEJC Electrification Webinar

Jay Egg recommended retrofitting existing power plants to use alternative fuels such as hydrogen as well as installing utility thermal networks. He indicated that while air source heat pumps are 300-500 percent more efficient than traditional systems, an “unregulated approach” could lead to eye pollution and other hazards if too many are installed on buildings.

John Murphy thanked U.S. President Joe Biden, Governor Kathy Hochul, and Senator Chuck Schumer for creating access to billions in energy infrastructure funding for New York State. He advocated that more needs to be done on training the next generation of energy trades workforce.

Murphy pointed out that, to start the clean energy transition by 2025, New York needs to invest in onsite design and installation of utility thermal networks at 15 state college campuses.

In response to an audience question, he commented on the consequences on labor when power plants are denied permits to upgrade their systems. He said, “What happened to labor after the NRG upgrade project in NYC got turned down? The permit denial led to job losses as well as members of the trades having to travel to other states to work so as to not lose medical coverage. Keeping the plant the same also means unnecessary emissions.”

Source: Egg Geo presentation during CEJC Electrification Webinar

Egg proposed that existing natural gas pipelines could be converted to geothermal energy networks. He concluded the webinar with an inspirational history lesson from World War I. He said, “after numerous boats carrying fuel were sunk, pipelines from Texas to New York were built in 355 days. American ingenuity will get the clean energy job done. That’s what the skilled energy trades do.”

The webinar was a resounding success, providing critical information and insights into the challenges and opportunities for electrification in New York. The panelists' expert opinions and perspectives were invaluable to the discussion.

The full video of the Electrification webinar is available below.