Grid operator warns Dems’ climate agenda is pushing populous state toward blackouts

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By Nick Pope
Daily Caller News Foundation

The grid operator overseeing New York is warning that the Democrats’ green energy agenda is pushing the grid toward blackouts.

The New York Independent System Operator (NYISO), which oversees and manages the state’s power grid, published its 2024 Power Trends report last week assessing the outlook for energy supply and demand in the region over the next several years. The report warns that the electrification agenda pursued by New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and her fellow Democrats is pushing the state’s grid toward conditions for blackouts as soon as this summer.

“New York’s public policies are increasingly prioritizing clean energy production and a rapid transition away from fossil fuels,” NYISO President and CEO Rich Dewey wrote in a letter featured in the report. “It is imperative that during this time of rapid change we maintain adequate supply necessary to meet growing consumer demand for electricity. Power Trends shows that achieving this balance will be the central industry challenge over the next decade.”

The report emphasizes how increasing adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) and electric heating in the state are adding demand while fossil fuel-fired power generation facilities are being retired at a rate that exceeds the new green energy generation coming online to make up for lost capacity. The amount of capacity taken off the grid since 2019 more than doubles the amount of capacity that has come online to replace it in the same period of time, according to NYISO’s report.

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Additionally, the report also identifies new semiconductor facilities and other power-hungry economic projects as likely to increase overall demand over time.

New York is aiming to have its power grid reach net-zero emissions by 2040, a target that will likely necessitate shutting down even more natural gas-fired generation in the state and replacing it with intermittent sources like solar and wind, according to grid experts who previously spoke with the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“Under extreme summer weather conditions, however, forecasted reliability margins could potentially be deficient without reliance on emergency operating procedures,” the report states of expected conditions this summer. “For example, if the state experiences a heatwave with an average daily temperature of 95 degrees lasting three or more days, demand is forecasted to rise to 33,301 [Megawatts (MW)], while predicted supply levels are reduced to 34,502 MW. When accounting for the required 2,620 MW of operating reserves that must be maintained, this scenario results in a forecasted reliability margin of -1,419 MW. That reliability margin declines further to -3,093 MW under an extreme heatwave with an average daily temperature of 98 degrees.”

NYISO is a summer-peaking system, meaning that it typically sees the highest levels of electricity demand in the summer months relative to other times of year, according to the Power Trends report.

However, NYISO projects that the grid will become a winter-peaking system sometime in the mid-2030s due primarily to demand from electrified home heating systems.

“Current statewide reliability margins in winter are sufficient. However, as NYISO reliability studies are beginning to show, if natural gas for electricity production is unavailable, and supply cannot be secured elsewhere, statewide deficiencies could arise as soon as winter 2029-2030 under normal weather conditions,” the report states. “Under extreme winter weather conditions this scenario may happen as early as 2027-2028. On the coldest days, natural gas distribution companies prioritize residential heating and other critical loads and limit the fuel available to generators.”

“With increasing winter peak loads and consideration of limitations on gas availability, there may be insufficient generation to serve forecasted demand for expected weather while maintaining required operating reserves (i.e., excess supply to meet unexpected changes in real-time system conditions),” the report states.

Neither NYISO nor Hochul’s office responded immediately to requests for comment.

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