NYC Electricity Supply at Risk in the Future
October 24, 2011
Around Town by Neal Tepel
Absent new sources of generating capacity, New York City’s electricity supply could fall below the thresholds needed to ensure reliability and prevent price spikes starting in 2016, according to electricity Outlook: Powering New York City through 2030, a report issued today by the New York Building Congress.
While concluding that in-City generation and transmission capacity is adequate to meet the City’s electricity needs through 2015, the Building Congress found that it will be necessary to add an additional 1,000 MW of capacity, in addition to projects currently in the pipeline, between 2014 and 2016. The additional capacity is required as a hedge against such potential risks as the closure of the Indian Point Energy Center or a strong economic recovery.
The Building Congress analysis calls for more immediate action than an April 2011 forecast released by the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO), which concluded, “If demand grows as currently forecast-ed, it will take at least 10 years for a capacity need to occur, assuming planned additions occur and there are no unplanned retirements.”
New York Building Congress Energy Committee Chairman John Gilbert noted, “The NYISO forecast, while highly professional, relies on a set of assumptions that presents somewhat of a best case scenario, in terms of future generating needs.” Mr. Gilbert, who also is C.O.O. at Rudin Management continued, “Rather than allowing ourselves to be lulled into a false sense of security, we need to be prepared in advance should Indian Point be shut down or should we be fortunate enough to experience stronger economic growth than predicted over the next five years. Such scenarios are a distinct possibility and must be factored into any discussion of future energy needs.”
Added Building Congress President Richard T. Anderson, sponsor of the study, “Complacency is not an option. We must ensure that New York City maintains enough power in reserve to prevent the potential for blackouts or severe price volatility in consumer and business costs during periods of peak demand. Given the amount of time it takes to move a new power plant or transmission line through the regulatory, financing and construction process, we need to start now.”