Letter to the Editor: New York Must Remain Stable Throughout its Clean Energy Transition - Times Union

New York state has the most aggressive climate plan in the country and is now faced with the tall order of accomplishing these targets. We have a mountain to climb to achieve these goals, and rushing the clean energy transition could be harmful to all New Yorkers.

I commend the Times Union Editorial Board for acknowledging that reliability cannot be sacrificed as we transition to a cleaner energy future ("Go green, but stay stable," July 24). The insights of the New York Independent System Operator cannot be overlooked and should be carefully reviewed by state policymakers. 

As mentioned in the editorial, NYISO predicts a deficit of 446 megawatts by 2025 if the state shuts down peaker plants too soon. What is not mentioned is that, according to NYISO, more than 111 gigawatts of generating capacity will be needed for New York to hit its 2040 zero emissions target. That is three times the current capacity. 

That’s a lot of needed generation. Shutting down our peaker plants too soon will send us in the wrong direction.

Wind, solar and battery storage are all great and clean energy technologies but are not enough. Peaker plants have been crucial for keeping the lights on throughout recent extreme weather events.  

What New York needs is to identify and develop the technology for the zero-emissions resources that will be necessary to reach our goals. If these technologies do not yet exist, why would we sacrifice reliability by shutting down the current system? Developing them is the first step toward the envisioned clean energy future.

All solutions must be on the table, and the Independent Power Producers of New York, and its members, will be key proponents in that transition. But we cannot be so quick to shut down what is currently working and risk greater problems in the near future. 


Gavin J. Donohue is the President and CEO of the Independent Power Producers of New York (IPPNY), an Albany-based trade association. IPPNY is New York’s premier trade association dedicated to representing the largest fleet of clean energy generators in New York State. He is also a member of the New York State Climate Action Council. Prior to IPPNY, Donohue was the former Executive Deputy Commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

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