New York must have enough electricity to meet summer air conditioning needs, but the coming years will likely face challenges - Times Union

New York must have enough electricity to meet summer air conditioning needs, but the coming years will likely face challenges – Times Union

RENSSELAER – New York should have an adequate supply of electricity to meet its summer air conditioning needs this year.

But in the coming years, as new states are supposed to phase out “peak” gas and oil stations that operate during periods of high demand, there will be a smaller cushion to deal with heat waves, which is when the grid is most intense. Taxable.

Those were the forecasts made Friday by New York’s Autonomous System operator, the organization that helps power the state’s vast power grid by making continuous transmissions or directing power from power plants to where it is needed.

“Reliability margins across New York are shrinking over time,” said Emily Nelson, executive vice president of NYISO.

“We must tread carefully with the network in the future,” she added.

The cautionary note regarding future years stems in part from what has happened in other countries that have not set aside sufficient energy reserves for use during emergencies.

Texans suffered a blackout in 2021 when a snowstorm cut off the power lines and wind towers that provide electricity to a growing part of that state’s grid.

And in California, energy planners are warning that they need more reserves to deal with the heat waves and wildfires that have plagued the state in recent years. Golden State residents experienced blackouts during the 2020 heat wave.

In New York and California, the problem stems in part from the speed with which the two countries are transitioning from fossil-fuel-based energy grids to those powered by zero-carbon sources such as solar and wind power, as well as nuclear generation.

New York’s 2019 Climate Leadership and Community Protection Plan sets broad guidelines for decarbonizing the state’s power grid in order to combat climate change.

Part of the plan calls for the deactivation of peak stations, many of which are located in the center of the country, starting in 2023.

But to do so, the country will need sufficient sources of energy from renewable energy sources and standby power. If they are not up and running in the next few years, and if there are unusually calm or cloudy days that will reduce wind or solar power, fossil fuel plants may still be needed.

New York still gets most of its electricity from gas (23 percent), dual-fuel, which is gas or oil (31 percent), hydro (22 percent) and nuclear (21 percent). Wind and solar energy is less than 4 per cent.

This summer, energy demand continues to recover from the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when many buildings, businesses, and industrial facilities were closed.

“We’ve just seen a drop in energy demand during the pandemic, and we’re starting to see that recovery,” Nelson said.

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