Energy Leaders agree, “An ‘All of the Above Energy Strategy’ is needed to reduce emissions grow jobs and strengthen reliability before premature power plant shutdowns”

Source: CEJC April 28, 2023 “Electrification” webinar 

New York, NY – The Clean Energy Jobs Coalition – NY sponsored a webinar on April 28th focused on “Activating New York’s Clean Energy Future.”

The webinar featured: Greg Lancette, president, NYS Pipe Trades; Gerry Waites, partner, O'Donoghue & O'Donoghue LLP; and Isuru Seneviratne from Nuclear New York. The discussion was moderated by Yonkers Voice.

The panelists explored aspects of New York's "Climate Action Plan" to electrify everything from heating systems to stoves to cars, New York State is seeking to cut emissions by 40% by 2030.

Lancette said, “Utility Thermal Networks represent viable, reliable, low carbon solutions to heat and cool buildings that do not tax the electric grid.” He added that, “New York State College campuses can be shovel ready as early as 2025 for thermal networks that (i) offset electric demand and (ii) reduce emissions with “Earth sourced energy” that is 300% to 500% more efficient than current systems.”

L-R: U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, President Joseph Biden, NY Governor Kathy Hochul, Micron CEO Sanjay Mehrotra, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, and NYS Pipe Trades President Greg Lancette Photo Credit: NYS Pipe Trades 

On the topic of near future jobs, Lancette reminded that Micron will need thousands of skilled workers to build its new facility in Syracuse, NY. This presents a huge opportunity for people to train and get ready for long term, middle class sustaining jobs.

Before he departed the panel to be with Micron’s CEO and New York State Governor Kathy Hochul at a press conference about the status of construction of the new chip manufacturing facility, Lancette called for more action to be taken to expand investments in training for green infrastructure jobs, particularly for skilled trades. “As reported by the Wall Street Journal, right now, there is a talent shortage to complete current energy upgrades. New York must be proactive in building a bigger energy trades workforce to achieve climate goals,” he said.

Waites focused on the policy problems within New York’s master energy plan. He warned of the catastrophic consequences of poor energy supply planning, noting how California is going back to extending fossil and nuclear plants to maintain reliability.

Source: CEJC April 28, 2023 “Electrification” webinar

He discussed how New York’s current approach in its final Climate Scoping Plan is leading toward a major supply deficit and could lead to trouble because the supply side is exclusively focusing on power sources that are not available, nor (currently) reliable.

As Albany passed legislation to “Electrify Everything” starting in 2025, Waites cautioned, “Electrification too fast and too soon and phasing out current power sources too fast and too soon could present reliability issues. The electrification demand on power production side will triple and the power is not there to meet demand.”

Instead, Waites advocated for an “All of the Above” energy strategy to move toward a cleaner energy future will require much more electric generation than currently exists.

Source: CEJC April 28, 2023 “Electrification” webinar

Isuru presented data from the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO), New York’s non-profit grid operator, highlighting that to achieve the 2040 climate goal of dispatchable emission free resources (DEFR’s) that provide firm and clean energy, the system will need 45 gigawatts of reliable carbon neutral power. He observed that New York currently has 41 gigawatts of power which is mix and “we are not moving nearly as fast enough to replace it with firm, clean energy.”

When responding to a question about advanced nuclear power, Isuru referenced the “Bright Future” white paper (co-authored by Nuclear New York and the Clean Energy Jobs Coalition) which calls for a vast expansion of solar and wind along with deploying new nuclear technology to increase New York’s carbon free power sources over 51 percent.

Source: CEJC April 28, 2023 “Electrification” webinar

“The 45 gigawatts needed translates to 95 plants across the state that must be developed, designed, financed, permitting, construction – the which takes 5 years alone, and we have not started. It needs to move now,” added Waites.

The CLPA calls for a “Just Transition” as fossil plants are phased out. It identifies the need to create thousands of replacement jobs; however, it will be difficult to fulfill because only certain types of power sources are supported under the current plan.  

He said, “We support and want to develop all the renewables, including wind and solar. We also have to look at advanced nuclear and bio-energy which could have zero carbon impact as it removes methane from the atmosphere.”

Source: CEJC April 28, 2023 “Electrification” webinar 

Currently there are 39 states that recognize bio energy and hydrogen as clean energy options, making nearly $1 Trillion in investments available to build the infrastructure, including geothermal systems. Though New York is not among them, the Empire State recently embraced hydrogen when it accepted President Joe Biden’s “Hydrogen Hub Challenge.

According to Waites, there is a lot to be gained when alternative power sources are included with strong labor provisions in the law, clean energy investments can be leveraged to accomplish climate goals and activate its clean energy future.

Isuru concluded that the ratepayer cannot absorb all the costs without getting access to clean, affordable, and reliable energy sources. He said, “New York has the technology, know how, skills, innovative track record, and is the financial capital of the world… why are we sleeping on this? We should make the clean energy future happen.”  

To view the energy panel discussion, click here or watch below: