For months now we’ve been exposing an inexcusable, costly, climate alarmist, crony capitalist, green energy boondoggle imposed upon New York state citizens by Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state’s Public Service Commission (PSC) composed entirely of his appointees.
Specifically, the PSC rushed through their “Clean Energy Standard” (CES) last August, which requires that 50% of power generated in the state come from carbon-neutral sources by 2030. The CES works by forcing power companies to buy “Zero Emission Credits” (ZECs) from a state bureaucracy on behalf of financially struggling upstate nuclear energy plants. In the first two years of the plan alone, the cost is an estimated $1 billion. For the entire span of the CES scheme, the estimate is approximately $8 billion.
Crony capitalism enters the stage in the sense that those subsidies will benefit Exelon, a single company that owns all of the struggling plants standing to benefit. Think of it as a state-level Solyndra, with costs ultimately hitting New York businesses and consumers, as usual.
These are just some of the reasons that citizens and groups spanning the political spectrum have spoken out against the scheme.
But there’s positive news to report. Confronted with the CES’s inherent contradictions and flaws, the Cuomo Administration is already drastically scaling back the plan, as reported by the Empire Center:
The State Public Service Commission has quietly reduced the amount of renewable energy that utilities will have to purchase next year by 94 percent, according to PSC documents.
In August, as part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Clean Energy Standard, the PSC ordered utilities and others to next year purchase renewable energy credits (RECs) equivalent to 0.6 percent of their electricity usage. This amounted to a total of 974,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of RECs, which are generated when a renewablee plant such as a solar farm or wind turbine sells power into the electrical grid. The governor’s ultimate goal is for 50 percent of the state’s electricity to come from renewables by 2030, and 2017 was to be the first year in which the PSC incrementally required these ‘load-serving entities’ to financially support increasing amounts of renewable energy.
But in an ‘Order Providing Clarification’ issued on November 17, the 2017 amount was slashed from 974,000 to 56,142 MWh – a 94 percent reduction – after the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) determined few renewables would actually qualify to issue the credits. Load-serving entities will now have to purchase RECs equating to just 0.035 percent of their total usage.”
And just as the costs of the plan ultimately hit New York consumers and businesses, scaling back the plan’s ambitions benefits those consumers and businesses, as the Empire Center notes: “For starters, the move will collectively save ratepayers $19.4 million in 2017 as utilities and others aren’t forced to buy as many credits as anticipated.”
The entire boondoggle was transparently destined to fail, but even skeptics didn’t anticipate it would begin collapsing under its own weight this quickly. But New Yorkers shouldn’t relent until the entire CES is consigned permanently to the policy ash heap.