NY energy plan includes wind, nuclear power
ALBANY — New York state committed last year to generating half of its energy from renewable sources like wind and solar by the year 2030.
Now comes the hard part: figuring out how to do it.
Several big decisions in the next few weeks could fill in some of the details about how the state will meet Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s renewable energy standard and decide where New Yorkers will get their energy in the years to come.
On Long Island, regulators will soon vote on a plan to authorize the largest offshore wind farm in the United States. In Albany, the state’s Public Service Commission is considering a series of big subsidies for upstate nuclear power plants to allow them to continue operating.
Cuomo, a Democrat, directed state energy officials to create a plan to produce 50 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2030. While he’s pushing for big investments in wind and solar energy, he argues that nuclear power should serve as a “bridge” as the state ramps up its use of solar and wind energy.
“Nuclear has a role. Some people are against nuclear power as a matter of principle. I disagree with them,” he told reporters last week. “Unless we’re willing to go back to candles, which would be uncomfortable and inconvenient, we need energy generation. The question is one of balance.”
But environmental advocates say the subsidies for aging, potentially hazardous nuclear plants are too expensive, and unnecessary. The subsidies could cost nearly $8 billion over the next 13 years.
Jessica Azulay, of the Alliance for a Green Economy, said that money should be invested in renewable sources, or in efforts to help communities with nuclear plants find new economic engines.
“This rush to save the dying nuclear industry is not the most effective strategy,” Azulay said. “The nuclear industry feels threatened by renewable energy and is going on the attack.”
Meanwhile, the Long Island Power Authority is poised to approve a plan for a 90-megawatt, 15-turbine wind farm in east of Montauk. Offshore wind is seen by many environmentalists as especially promising, given the turbines proximity to major population centers.