Sun. Jan 23rd, 2022

In the last decade, New Yorkers have purchased fewer than 60,000 battery-powered vehicles (BEVs) – less than 1% of the 9 million registered vehicles on the road. In 2021, they bought about 20,000 BEVs. One hurdle to buying BEVs is that they are expensive, about $ 10,000 more on average than a gasoline-powered vehicle.

And like everything else, BEVs are getting more expensive, not less.

This is just one of the reasons why a new nationwide plan presented by the Climate Action Council will not work.

Just before the New Year, the Climate Action Council – a group initiated by former Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration – released its draft master plan outlining how the state will fulfill all the mandates signed into law by the New York Climate Act two years ago. .

Seventy percent of the state’s electricity is to be sourced from renewable energy by 2030; requires that 9,000 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind be built in 2035, along with 3,000 MW of battery storage by 2040. By 2040, 100 percent of the state’s electricity needs must be sourced from zero-emission resources.

The scoping plan is a bureaucrat’s dream. At 330 pages plus over 500 pages of attachments, the plan offers an intricate and vigilant roadmap for how New York will achieve this green Shangri-La, including creating millions of new “green” jobs and promoting “climate justice.”

The Climate Action Council predicts that by 2030 - just eight years from now - New York State residents will have bought three million battery-powered vehicles, even though they only bought 20,000 by 2021.
The Climate Action Council predicts that by 2030 – just eight years from now – New York State residents will have bought three million battery-powered vehicles, even though they only bought 20,000 by 2021.
Getty Images / Image Source

But President Biden’s national target of 30,000 MW of offshore wind by 2030 will never be met. Nor will the New York State’s 9,000 MW offshore wind target for 2035.

Because everyone wants to build offshore wind, there are too many physical constraints to do so. Rare earth metals must be used to make the turbines; ships and crews are needed to build the foundations and erect the turbines; submarine cables and the ships to install them must be procured to supply electricity to land. And everything will result in construction bottlenecks, higher costs and long delays. Moreover, the environmental reaction to offshore wind has just begun, which will tie some projects in the courts for years.

Building 3,000 MW of battery storage facilities would provide only 12,000 MWh of electricity - about as much as NYC consumes in an hour on a hot summer day, not to mention keeping the lights on at night.
Building 3,000 MW of battery storage facilities would provide only 12,000 MWh of electricity – about as much as NYC consumes in an hour on a hot summer day, not to mention keeping the lights on at night.
AFP via Getty Images

As for the construction of 3,000 MW of battery storage facilities, it is likely to cost around $ 1 billion, based on the $ 80 million cost of PG & E’s 300 MW Moss Landing plant, which was completed in July last year. What’s more, it would only supply 12,000 MWh of electricity – about as much as New York City consumes in an hour on a hot summer day. As for solar energy, there is the annoying question of making sure there is enough electricity at night.

President Biden's national target of 30,000 MW of offshore wind by 2030 will never be met, in part because there are not enough people or resources to build the infrastructure.
President Biden’s national target of 30,000 MW of offshore wind by 2030 will never be met, in part because there are not enough people or resources to build the infrastructure.
Yuri Mikhailenko / TASS

The plan’s transport assumptions are equally ridiculous. It predicts that by 2030 – just eight years from now – New Yorkers will have bought three million electric vehicles and will be content to buy only electric cars and trucks thereafter. But for the very basic economic reasons I have already mentioned, we are nowhere near approaching that goal.

So where is all the electricity going to drive this electrified economy from? According to the plan, it will be provided with new technologies that do not yet exist. The plan might as well claim that Starship Enterprise will travel back in time to deliver these new technologies. Even better, why not just decree that the electricity will be supplied by unicorns and pixie dust?

The environmental backlash against offshore wind has just begun, which will tie some projects in the courts for years.
The environmental backlash against offshore wind has just begun, which will tie some projects in the courts for years.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

Unless Albany also intends to overthrow various laws of physics and, even less realistically, overthrow the state’s traditional bureaucratic incompetence and clutter, none of the lofty goals of climate law will be achieved. Instead, the state will enrich the usual, politically connected suspects and shower them with money extracted from the state’s besieged taxpayers and electric taxpayers.

That’s the real plan.

Jonathan Lesser is president of Continental Economics and an adjunct fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

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