Fighting Strong Headwinds Against Wind in Middle America

Dear Editor:

Enough of this insanity and complete distortion of easily verifiable facts by members of Save Ontario Shores and Mr. William Nacca, who has buried the NYS DPS website with CAPS LOCKS ON “public comments”, when it comes to electricity generation and needs within NY.

As posted on November 29th 2018 by Mr. James Hoffman… “With respect to the project itself, the power is not needed. Western New York is not short of power. The Niagara hydroelectric power plant is under-utilized. An examination of the record reveals this. With a source of clean renewable power at our door step, why is Lighthouse Wind and other industrial wind turbine projects even being considered?”

There is not one credible power generation managing agency or energy reporting agency that would consider the Niagara Hydroelectric power plant to be “under-utilized”.  It’s capacity factor (hours that it generates electricity against 8760 hours in a year) is 100% dependent upon the Great Lakes watershed above it.  NYPA, NY Power Authority, has the ability to pump water into the reservoir during the nighttime, then release it during the day when demand is higher.  That is the extent of how it can be controlled, which is also dependent upon international agreements with Canada over how much water flows over the falls itself… a loss of electric generation potential, but one Americans and Canadians agree is “worth it” due to the tourism potential it offers.  We could increase the capacity factor by “draining the falls”, but no one wants that do they?

Any reader or interested party can go on the NY Independent System Operator’s (NYISO.org) webpage and see in real-time what the generation mix is within the state.  More savvy observers can see real-time wholesale power prices as well as the status of imports/exports to our grid from Ontario, Quebec, Pennsylvania and New England.

This can also be verified through the US Energy Information Agency, who keeps detailed records of all power plants within the US.  This information is accessible online, with over 20 years of data available to all. One can also find the instantaneous capacity and capacity factor of all power plants across the US.

As far as local generation for local use is concerned, significant substation improvements were recently completed in Gardenville.  NYISO has recently approved the addition of 345kV high voltage substations in Lockport and Alabama.  The former will fix the constraints and congestions that were built into the system when the Somerset coal plant was built almost 40 years ago.  The latter will facilitate the local generation, local use aspect of Genesee County’s STAMP – Science Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park.

As residents of NY increasingly discover the direct economic benefit of electric vehicles via lower fuel costs and far less costly maintenance, as well as finding it cheaper and more comfortable to heat their homes and hot water with heat pumps, NY electric power needs will increase, not decrease.  Economics will drive these changes, and New Yorkers will increasingly be able to source more of their energy needs from within NY… not from foreign or distant energy providers.  New generation resources are required for all New Yorkers to benefit from this transition, not less.  And thanks to technology advancement, new generation resources like wind and solar are becoming cheaper than fossil coal plants, and even high operating costs of our aging nuclear fleet.

NY is currently a net importer of electricity. That some upstate residents do not care for upstate having a generation surplus against our needs is regardless of the fact that it has been this way for decades, and communities like Niagara Falls, Somerset, Oswego and Ontario, NY have economically benefited from this relationship.  Simply put, if we don’t want to have surplus generation and no longer benefit in jobs, tax base and economic development from sending electricity to downstate and NYC, we could shut down any of the nuclear reactors along Lake Ontario… end of story.

Sincerely,

Hans Hyde

Lockport, NY

 

 

Submission to Orleanshub.com Letters to the Editor on November 12, 2018 in response to Mr. James C. Hoffman’s LTE published on November 29, 2018 … https://orleanshub.com/sierra-club-should-push-for-hydro-power-not-industrial-wind-turbines/

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