New York state regulators on Thursday approved two large-scale transmission projects to carry clean electricity to New York City, raising hopes that the nation’s largest city can begin to meaningfully switch off fossil fuels this decade.
At a hearing in Albany, five of seven members of the State Public Service Commission voted in favor of a proposal to build power lines from hydroelectric dams in Quebec and over New York’s solar and wind farms. Once completed, the two projects combined are expected to reduce New York City’s fossil fuel demand by 51%.
“Simply put, if we can’t give New York City renewable energy, we can’t reduce emissions from the fossil fuel fleet,” Rory Christian, the commission’s chair and appointee from New York City alone, said at the hearing. “Should we delay and reconsider our approach at another time, we will risk putting ourselves in the unbelievable position of overpaying for future projects with little profit.”
Clean Power New York, 175 miles from a substation in the borough of Queens in Delaware County, New York, generated little controversy, but raised more risk, as the project has yet to receive a permit and will not come online until 2027. as soon as possible. In contrast, the Champlain Hudson Power Express, a 339-mile stretch in Astoria’s Queens neighborhood from hydro dams in Canada, faced heated challenges from a ragtag coalition of environmentalists, gas-powered generators and indigenous groups.
The opposition cited concerns ranging from cost to competition for New York ratepayers and New York energy companies, to fears that Hydro-Québec, the government-owned utility behind the project, could prioritize Canadians in a disaster or May repeat its dark history of seizing Swadeshi. Land in Canada to build more dams and increase electricity production.
Critics also raised issues with the current contract, which does not oblige Hydro-Québec to sell the same amount of electricity to the city during the winter months, when electricity demand is expected to peak at some point in the next few decades. Have an estimate. Currently, New York City’s electricity demand peaks in the summer, when air conditioning is on to prevent scorching heat spikes. As the city moves away from gas for heating, electric heat pumps are expected to increase demand most during the colder months.
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