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Building A Smooth Transition to a Clean Energy Future
New Clean Energy Jobs Coalition says New York Energy Strategy Needs a “Reality Check”
New York, NY/March 28, 2022 – A growing coalition of labor and management leaders – representing more than 225,000 skilled energy workers across New York State – said today that the state’s pursuit of a zero-carbon future needs a “reality check,” and called for a more sensible and achievable transition from fossil fuels to renewables.
Called the “Clean Energy Jobs Coalition – NY” (CEJC-NY or Coalition), the new alliance of energy labor and management said that the state’s approach to achieve 100 percent renewables is fraught with severe risks to consumers, particularly poor and elderly New Yorkers, who will continue to see escalating utility bills and less reliability.
“We all want to build a green economy and help make New York a national leader in adopting renewables,” said John J. Murphy, international representative of the United Association of Journeymen & Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry of the United States and Canada. “We also need a sensible transition that will keep energy prices as stable as possible, while keeping the power flowing reliably. We should not be rejecting power plant upgrades that will lower emissions in poor communities while this transition takes place. If New York has any hope of achieving its clean energy goals in this decade and beyond, we need to maintain reliability while being much more aggressive in pursuing non-carbon technologies like nuclear, wind, solar, battery storage, hydrogen gas and geothermal heating.”
“New York State has a ‘Ban Plan,’ not an Energy Plan,” said Steve Ludwigson of Boilermakers Local 5. He added, “Demand for energy has grown over the past three decades and will grow more with the introduction of electric cars, buses, and the Metaverse. Meanwhile, the amount of energy New York produces continues to decrease, especially after the unnecessary shut down of Indian Point. There should be an immediate stop to any further power plant closings until adequate and clean, renewable energy sources are up and running. New York policymakers must prioritize jobs, affordability, and reliability as part of the transition to a cleaner energy system.”
Thomas Gesualdi of Teamsters Joint Council 16 which represents over 120,000 union members in New York State said, “The premature closure of Indian Point Energy Center, rejection of power plant upgrades, and blockage of gas pipeline projects – without enough suitable replacement energy sources in place - have led to thousands of lost jobs and skyrocketing energy costs. The men and women who work in New York’s energy industry – who help keep power flowing and homes warm – are ready to work with state leaders to ensure a smooth, affordable, and reliable transition to a clean energy future.”
Gregory Lancette, president of the New York State Pipe Trades said: “Simply shutting down critical power plants and banning certain energy resources is not a sustainable, or reliable, energy strategy. We must build adequate replacement resources first, before we think about banning anything further. Legislation that’s been approved, and other bills pending, are creating a dangerous energy supply gap, causing prices to soar, and costing the state hundreds if not thousands of decent jobs.”
James Shillitto, president of the Utility Workers Union of America Local 1-2, said: “Many legislative proposals to electrify everything from buildings to appliances to cars and trucks – while worthy goals – are being developed with arbitrary deadlines and no understanding of the state’s electric supply or capabilities of today’s distribution grid. There needs to be substantial increases in electric generation first, along with significant and costly upgrades to our utility distribution grids, before we start banning energy resources that are needed to keep the lights on and homes warm.”
Joseph Geiger, Executive Secretary-Treasurer, New York City District Council of Carpenters, said: “As we shift from New York’s dependence on antiquated and dirty fossil fuels to a cleaner energy future, we must make sure that workers are not left behind. That requires making smart investments that not only protect our power grid and prevent the most vulnerable from rising energy costs, but it also requires ensuring that hardworking union workers are at the forefront of this inevitable statewide shift to clean energy. The middle class cannot afford a repeat of past mistakes where entire livelihoods were destroyed by unfair government policies. We are proud to be a part of a coalition that is focused on providing expertise and sensible solutions to complex environmental and workforce issues.”
Coalition members advocating for 225,000 union members and growing believe New York must focus its policy efforts on fostering a green energy economy that creates new jobs and savings for New Yorkers. Recent legislation that has been approved or proposed has been “a one-track approach of banning certain energy resources without building adequate replacement projects.”
The Coalition said the state’s failure to adequately replace shuttered power plants like emission-free Indian Point, or rejecting plant upgrades that would lower emissions, has led to tighter supplies and higher prices for all New Yorkers -- and threatens the state’s energy reliability in the near future.
The mission of the Coalition is to be a sensible voice on key energy issues and advance in-state solutions that deliver clean, affordable, and reliable energy systems to power the Empire State.
The Coalition’s priorities include:
Encouraging a more aggressive pursuit of new nuclear technology, hydrogen gas and geothermal solutions in addition to ongoing efforts to build solar and wind farms, which are clean but intermittent sources of energy.
Maintaining – rather than retiring – existing natural gas infrastructure by incorporating the use of hydrogen and clean, renewable gas technology.
Supporting upgrades at existing power plants that will reduce emissions in impacted neighborhoods as replacement renewable energy sources are being built; and
Requiring a comprehensive cost analysis for the construction of renewables and other non-carbon energy sources, along with the cost of local utility grid upgrades to adapt the new technologies.
New York’s ambitious energy goals and accompanying legislation require, not only the creation of alternative and renewable energy resources, but also the need for far more electric generation than currently exists. The operator of the state grid , the New York Independent System Operator, (NYISO) forecasts in its Power Trends 2021 report that the move to electrify everything from cars to heating systems will create unprecedented demands for new electric generation. The NYISO expects peak demand for electricity in winter to match and then surpass the state’s summer peak starting in 2050.
The NYISO’s Power Trends 2021 report noted: “As the statewide generation resource mix changes in response to [New York State’s] policies, new near-term challenges may arise in maintaining the long-term reliability of the New York electric grid.”
The potential blackout warnings by New York’s grid operator and current situation with skyrocketing electric bills carries the potential to crater New York’s economic and environmental objectives.
Without a transition plan, the Coalition believes New York is doomed to repeat the same failed experiment in Germany, which shut nuclear plants and the price of electricity spiked 400%, prompting a switch back to coal.
The Coalition welcomes the participation of and discussions with all groups to help policymakers understand the benefits of building a clean energy bridge to reach a clean energy future.
The Clean Energy Jobs Coalition – NY includes the following organizations:
New York State Pipe Trades
Teamsters Joint Council 16
NYS Ironworkers District Council, International Association Of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental, & Reinforcing Iron Workers
New York City and Vicinity District Council of Carpenters
Utility Workers Local 1-2
Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers
Laborers International Union of North America
UA Local 1 - Plumbers
UA Local 7 - Plumbers & Steamfitters
U.A. Local 13 Plumbers & Steamfitters
UA Local 21 - Plumbers & Steamfitters
UA Local 22 - Plumbers & Steamfitters
U.A. Local 73 Plumbers & Steamfitters
UA Local 112 - Plumbers & Pipefitters
U.A. Local 128
UA Local 200 - Plumbers
UA Local 267 - Plumbers & Steamfitters
UA Local 373 - Plumbers & Steamfitters
UA Local 638 - Steamfitters
UA Local 669 - Road Sprinkler Fitters
UA Local 773 - Plumbers & Steamfitters
Boilermakers Local 5 – Zone 5, Floral Park, NY
Boilermakers Local 5 – Zone 7, Orchard Park, NY
Boilermakers Local 5 – Zone 175, Oswego, NY
Boilermakers Local 5 – Zone 197, Albany, NY
Heat and Frost Insulators Local 4 Buffalo
Heat and Frost Insulators Local 12
Heat and Frost Insulators Local 12A NYC (abatement)
Heat and Frost Insulators Local 26 Rochester
Heat and Frost Insulators Local 30 Syracuse
Heat and Frost Insulators Local 40 Albany
Heat and Frost Insulators Local 91 White Plains
This is in addition to numerous Locals throughout New York state representing thousands of members and jobs that are on the line.
The Coalition is also empowered by strong relationships with industry groups and contractor associations that include:
North American Building Trades Unions
The Mechanical Contractors Association of America
The Mechanical Service Contractors Association of America
Plumbing Contractors Association
The Plumbing-Heating and Cooling Contractors Association
Pipeline Contractors Association
National Fire Sprinkler Association
The Coalition has many other associations and organizations that we partner with. These include: the AFL-CIO; the Construction Users Roundtable (CURT); the National Certified Pipe Welding Bureau (NCPWB); the Pipe Fabrication Institute (PFI), and The Association of Union Constructors (TAUC).
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The Clean Energy Jobs Coalition – NY works to ensure that the working people of the New York, from Buffalo to Montauk Point, have the power and energy to build schools, hospitals, houses of worship, shopping plazas, offices, and homes to keep our economy vibrant and safe. In partnership with business, the Empire State’s highly skilled and trained union labor force is the backbone of New York State and its economy and the safest and most productive in the nation.
PRESS CONTACTS: Michael Clendenin – 646-213-1369 | William Thomas – 646-213-1342