New York on track to experience energy deficits of 10% or more

ALBANY, NY – (May, 20, 2022) –  The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) places New York communities at risk of devastating blackouts due to insufficient electricity levels, according to Cold & Dark, a new Empire Center study.

The goals proposed by the CLCPA severely hinder New York’s energy supply, causing energy deficits that could be observed as soon as 2040, with supply falling short of demand by ten percent.

Renewable energy sources—like solar and wind power—are prioritized in the CLCPA, while natural gas production is set to be phased out. Renewables, however, are not always reliable, particularly during winter months when demand is highest. Without dispatchable energy sources like natural gas or nuclear power, New Yorkers could be left without reliable heat and power when needed most.

By the Climate Action Council’s own admission, “there are many weeks in the year when contributions from renewables and existing clean firm resources are not sufficient to meet demand.” Under these circumstances, an ill-timed blackout caused by a severe winter storm could lead to hundreds of deaths.

“Before the state gets itself into a position where it risks not having sufficient electricity to meet demand, we need to pause and act cautiously,” said James Hanley, senior policy analyst at the Empire Center and the paper’s author. “New York’s Climate Act may be well-intended, but it is short-sighted, and creates great risks for the people of the Empire State. Energy shortages would drive up the cost of the Climate Act by hundreds of billions of dollars and could cost hundreds of New Yorkers their lives.”

The paper lays out several steps the Climate Action Council can take to protect New York’s energy future—chief among them being a reassessment of the ambitious goals and timeline. The paper also recommends maintaining reliable sources of energy, including natural gas and nuclear power.

Read the full report here.

The Empire Center, based in Albany, is an independent, not-for-profit, non-partisan think tank dedicated to promoting policies that can make New York a better place to live, work and raise a family.

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