Environmental Organizations Applaud Transition from Fossil Fuels to Renewable Energy for our Island
Farmingdale, NY – Today the Long Island Power Authority and PSEG-Long Island released a long awaited draft plan for current and future energy needs for Long Island. New York has a target to source 50 percent of energy from renewables, including a target to add 2,400 megawatts of offshore wind power to New York’s grid, by 2030. The cost effective investments in offshore wind, energy efficiency and new renewable energy under the draft plan positions the utility to comply with New York State’s targets and outlines a bold path forward for transformation to a 21st century utility.
The three year study concluded that sinking more ratepayer funds in outdated fossil fuel power plants and building new gas plants is unnecessary given the high $5 billion cost, the reduced prices of natural gas and the fact that these outdated investments are not needed for grid reliability. Instead, the findings conclude that the most cost effective new investments will increase the growth of renewable energy from 2017 through 2030 in order to better balance and diversify Long Island’s energy needs and will stabilize and reduce costs for bill payers. The utility plans on adding 800 megawatts of offshore wind and solar in addition to 950 megawatts of rooftop solar, other renewables and energy saving measures.
Highlights of LIPA/PSEG 2017 LI Integrated Resource Plan findings
- Flat Forecasts: LIPA revised its long-term load forecasts downward now predicting virtually no growth through 2035. 1,700 MW decline by 2030 compared to 2013 forecast (equal to 3 – 5 large power plants).
- Historic Tipping Point: Instead of continued investments in outdated fossil fueled power plants, LIPA now plans to add build out renewable energy on Long Island.
- Fossil Power Going Down: Power production at Long Island’s legacy power plants has declined since 1999 from about 50% runtime to as little as 11% and is projected decline even further by 2030.
- Repowering Can’t Compete with Renewables: electricity from new or refurbished large power plants would cost as much or more than current renewable energy sources. Renewable energy is now cost competitive and future costs are expected to decline further.
- Modern Grid Additions: Instead of investing in large fossil generators, renewable energy technologies will be augmented by more flexible peaking generators, battery storage, smart grid controls and energy demand management, and distributed energy sources.
- 50% Renewables by 2030: LIPA's new Energy Guide envisions dramatic growth of renewable energy from 2017 through 2030, in line with NY State mandate to meet half of state’s electricity consumption from renewable energy sources.
- Clean Power for 350,000 Homes: 800 MW of solar & offshore wind power will provide enough power for 350,000 homes by 2030, in addition to 950 MW of energy efficiency savings, rooftop solar energy and other renewables.
- More Offshore: Governor Cuomo’s 2,400 MW of offshore wind power will likely be off Long Island’s shores and interconnect to the electric grid on Long Island.
- Aiming for 100% Renewable Energy: In his 2017 State of the State address, Governor Cuomo laid out New York’s long term objective to meet 100% of our energy needs from renewables by saying: “We want to get 2.4 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2030 and we are not going to stop until we reach 100 percent renewable because that’s what a sustainable New York is really all about.”
In response, environmentalists released the following statements:
“The Sierra Club applauds the Long Island Power Authority and PSEG-Long Island’s bold progress in transforming Long Island's utility into a model for the nation. Aggressive investments in energy efficiency, job creating renewable energy such as offshore wind and solar, and modern technologies like battery storage and electric vehicle charging infrastructure will not only slash costs for bill payers, but clean-up Long Island’s air and water, and protect our communities from the devastating impacts of climate disruption,” said Lisa Dix, Sierra Club’s New York Senior Representative. Investing in modern clean energy infrastructure will create thousands of new jobs and economic development opportunities for Long Island and will position Long Island and New York as a hub for new renewable energy industries,” she added.
“What we are witnessing here is a historic game changer on how Long Island produces its electricity,” said Gordian Raacke, Executive Director of Renewable Energy Long Island. “LIPA’s latest electric forecast proves that energy efficiency and renewable energy have successfully stabilized the unrelenting growth in electricity usage of the last decades. The analysis shows that solar and offshore wind can supply the bulk of our power needs more economically and without polluting our air, and that clean renewable energy technologies will replace polluting fossil fuel sources over the coming decades.”
“This is precisely the plan environmentalists have been advocating for over the last 15 years. The report validates our call for a transition away from antiquated energy technology to a modernization of our energy infrastructure in the 21st century. The report dramatically changes the course of Long Island’s energy future. This analysis shows that renewable energy is not only the most environmentally responsible choice going forward, but also the most economic. Advances in technology and economies of scale continue to drive down the cost of wind and solar, making them better long term choices than building new fossil fuel power plants or repowering existing ones. Advances in battery storage technology could further increase the usefulness and effectiveness of wind and solar beyond the anticipated scenarios in this study” said Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director for Citizens Campaign for the Environment.
“This is a bombshell report which establishes the foundation for Long Island’s transition from antiquated fossil fuel power plants to clean, renewable energy generation. The report sites a 77% reduction in air emissions from reduced operating times of the old power plants. This transition is good for our health and our wallets. Elected officials must stop supporting repowering in order to justify inflated tax payments. We need an energy policy that benefits all Long Islanders, not just a few communities. This transition will occur over time and should be readily embraced,” Esposito added.
“The LIPA analysis shows Long Islanders don’t need to pay for expensive and obsolete fossil fuel power plants in the coming decade,” said Jackson Morris, Director Eastern Energy at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “Thanks to ambitious, forward-looking policies to scale up clean energy like rooftop solar, offshore wind, and energy efficiency, the Long Island Power Authority can easily meet customers’ energy needs with 21st century resources that are cheaper and cleaner. LIPA’s plan will lead to lower bills and less pollution for all Long Islanders.