GUEST COLUMN: Reducing reliability on fossil fuels requires time, balanced approach

Daily Freeman-11 months before

Anthony S. Campagiorni Anthony Campagiorni is Central Hudson's vice president of Customer Services and Regulatory Affairs.

As a utility company, we must also ensure that the energy supplies we all depend upon are reliable and affordable.

Presently, electricity production in New York accounts for only 17 percent of carbon emissions, while buildings (primarily heating) and transportation (motor vehicles) account for more than 37 and 33 ...ercent, respectively. Central Hudson is taking steps to help our customers reduce emissions by actively promoting and supporting energy efficiency, offering incentives toward the purchase and installation of heat pumps, promoting electric vehicles and charging infrastructure, interconnecting battery storage and renewable resources such as solar projects, and more.

Representatives from New York municipalities and counties have recently petitioned Gov. Andrew Cuomo to quickly phase out fossil fuels ("Local officials urge New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to speed phaseout of fossil fuels," Daily Freeman, Jan. 29, 2020). As we move toward cleaner energy sources, reliability must be maintained. Renewable sources are clean, but intermittent, dependent on sunlight, wind and water flow. Today’s battery storage systems offer only several hours of power, and then must be recharged. In other words, there is a technology gap.

Local officials urge New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to speed phaseout of fossil fuels Until this gap is bridged, we must look at the implications of phasing out all conventional energy sources now. Natural gas is ideal, as it produces less carbon than other conventional fuels and supports quick-start generation when renewable sources are not producing. Similarly, nuclear energy is emissions-free and provides consistent power. In the future, new energy sources may be developed that can more reliably address the technology gap, such as renewable natural gas (i.e., from landfills and agricultural sources), hydrogen, carbon capture and yet-to-be discovered technologies.

Affordability must also be a part of the equation, and many renewable resources are subsidized by utility customers. Today, programs to promote renewable energy account for more than 10% of electric delivery charges on utility bills, and they cost Central Hudson customers about $50 million per year. These costs are anticipated to rise significantly as new renewable generators, like off-shore wind, are brought online.

We support an energy transition that lowers carbon emissions while maintaining reliability and affordability. As we integrate more and more renewable resources, we should not discount the benefits of clean conventional technologies. A balanced approach will allow us to reliably and affordably attain all our goals.

Read the full story

Related Tags