E&E News recently reported a plan to subsidize the importation of Canadian hydropower into New York City is sparking arguments over how the state should overcome a major obstacle to its 2030 clean power goal, which calls on the state to get 70 percent of its power from renewables under the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.
Fossil fuels continue to play a critical role in meeting the energy needs of New Yorkers and consumers across the U.S. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), 29 percent of New York’s in-state generation at both large and small scale facilities came from renewable sources in 2018. As E&E News points out, after the Indian Point nuclear plant shutters next year, New York City will get 94 percent of its supply from fossil fuels. This has led to an increased interest from New York policymakers in connecting the city with large-scale Canadian hydropower. Mayor Bill de Blasio has said he even intends to help finance an associated $3 billion transmission line.
It is concerning that New York’s policymakers are investing billions of dollars in foreign energy initiatives when the U.S. has an abundance of reliable and affordable natural resources, namely, natural gas. But instead of enabling increased access to these resources, New York has worked to cut access to these critical energy sources – blocking pipeline after pipeline. Further, skeptics of New York’s plan to import energy, including national renewable trade groups, warn that subsidizing foreign hydro production could undermine local job creation goals.
New York’s policymakers must carefully consider all possible outcomes here, and the unintended impact of diminishing American energy independence by voluntarily choosing to import foreign energy.