This week, Cuomo asked for states belonging to the Northeast Carbon Trading Program to further limit carbon pollution. He also announced that New York would cut carbon emissions by an additional 30 percent by 2030. As part of its energy plan, New York will require 50% of its power to come from renewables by 2030.
To help integrate renewables, New York is Upgrading The Grids, incentivizing utilities to advance distributed energy — rooftop solar panels, Community SOLAR ARRAY and Microgrids. It’s also building power lines to supply New York City with wind and hydroelectric power generated upstate. Cuomo Promised that new hydropower and improved transmission would largely fill the gap left by Indian Point. He’s said the shift will come “at a negligible cost to ratepayers.”
You may be wondering why New York isn’t maximizing zero-carbon power, building out wind, solar, and hydropower while maintaining its nuclear reactors. More zero-carbon power means less natural gas. Less natural gas means less climate change.
Advocates and policymakers are trying to perform triage on environmental threats. With climate change, there is a high probability of a global disaster in the future. With nuclear power, there is low probability of a local disaster in the present. How we should balance these risks is the subject of Heated Debates.
In the years following the 3 Mile Island disaster, the United States stopped building nuclear power plants, in part because new projects were met with fierce local opposition. This left the door open for carbon-intensive coal and natural gas. Now, New York is trying to wean its way off nuclear without repeating the same mistake.