Tuesday, April 29, 2014

No customers for Authority's power - Times Union

No customers for Authority's power - Times Union

This story, although about an underwater power line between New Jersey and Hell's Kitchen, is not unrelated to the big power line project being proposed for upstate New York, for a couple of reasons.

One reason is the fact that the company that built the line in the story, PowerBridge LLC of Fairfield, CT, is one of the partner corporations involved with the West Point Transmission project that would run through the center of Athens if the current plan is approved.

The most important reason this story is related with the new power lines being proposed in our area has to do with the question of why this project was done at all. The fact is that there aren't customers for the power it's bringing. The New York Power Authority is losing money on this power line, since it is still paying PowerBridge to lease the line. NYPA has the option to purchase it outright in 2033. So, is this just about really badly misjudging the demand for power in New York City? Well, maybe not:
They suspect . . . Cuomo and his former brother-in-law Robert F. Kennedy Jr., one of the leaders of the environmental group Riverkeeper, want to close the Indian Point nuclear plant in Westchester County due to safety concerns.
Fair enough. It's an old plant. I'd like to see it closed. But bringing in power from dirty energy producers, whether they're in Ohio (as in the case of the line from this story) or upstate New York is not a great solution for this particular problem. Say what you will about Indian Point, it does not emit much in the way of greenhouse gases, compared to Pennsylvania and Ohio (or upstate New York) coal-fired power plants. And, coal-fired plants are much more hazardous to human health than nuclear plants. Ahem. Unless there's a meltdown, of course. That can be pretty hazardous. If you want to replace Indian Point's power generation capacity, do it with renewable energy sources, closer to the locations that require the power.
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