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Wind Advocates Fight City’s Purchase of Hydropower

New York City

Hydro Pushback
June 14, 2019

As co-op and condo boards fret over how they’ll be able to meet stringent requirements to reduce their buildings’ carbon emissions – as mandated by the city’s new Climate Mobilization Act – the city government’s effort to improve its own performance has run into opposition from, of all people, the promoters of green energy. Mayor Bill de Blasio, the man who will not be president, can’t seem to win for losing. 

Back in the spring, de Blasio announced that the city would purchase about half of the power from the Champlain Hudson Power Express, a 330-mile underground and underwater cable that will link a Quebec hydropower station to New York City in 2025. The announcement was hailed as a major step toward cutting carbon emissions from city government buildings, which are exempt from the Climate Mobilization Act. It would also be a boost to the city’s goal to cut all carbon emissions 80 percent by 2050

But critics of the deal, which has not yet been finalized, say it was not procured in an open bidding process that would have allowed other green-power companies to compete – including a growing crop of wind-energy firms eager to deliver megawatts to New York's grid, Crain’s reports

"We urge you to hit the reset button before you sign a contract that is seriously at odds with state energy policy, and may not be the best option for taxpayers, workers, or the environment," Anne Reynolds of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York and Joseph Martens of the New York Offshore Wind Alliance wrote in a letter to de Blasio, urging him to scrap the hydropower deal. 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has pledged that the state will purchase 9,000 megawatts of wind power, more than four times the output of the Indian Point nuclear plant 36 miles north of Midtown. "We have the Saudi Arabia of wind off our shores," says Paul Lipson, an energy consultant. "For the city that moves first, there are thousands of direct jobs in construction and long-term maintenance and operation of these wind farms.”

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