CALIFORNIA’S ENERGY NIGHTMARE IS A CAUTIONARY STORY FOR NY CLIMATE POLICY by Assembly Minority Leader Barclay

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high voltage station. High voltage tower sky background.

Hasty, politically motivated policymaking does not work, and California’s current energy crisis is proof of that. This week, officials declared a statewide power grid emergency and warned of potential outages as California faces a late-summer heat wave. Residents were urged to limit their energy consumption by reducing the use of major appliances, including electric vehicle chargers. This translates to “Stop using your air conditioners and stay home unless your car already has a full battery.”

The stability of California’s energy grid is dangerously uncertain. Ironically, the call for residents to cut back on electric car charging comes just a week after the state announced it would ban the sale of new gas-powered vehicles by 2035.

This is alarming, and sadly, New York is taking exactly the same path thanks to the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) of 2019 which completely overhauls energy policy and industry. We cannot allow this to happen.

California, like New York, sees itself as a leader in climate policy. And also like New York, he took a laudable idea, clean energy, and completely missed the mark on how to execute it. Speak California Energy Commission, utilities are already expected to source a third of retail sales from renewable resources, with that figure rising to 60% by 2030. He expects it to be “100% clean energy.” by 2045”. However, residents will struggle to get to work, school and the grocery store if they cannot charge the electric cars they are forced to buy.

What is happening in California is dangerous, and unless we seriously heed this warning, New Yorkers will be in the same position for the very near future. Our state’s policy analysts have issued serious warnings about some of the provisions of the CLCPA, including an assessment of the Empire Center for Public Policy estimated energy deficits could lead to a supply shortage of up to 10% by 2040. With the electricity grid already strained, a shortage or blackout during, for example, a summer heat wave similar to the one we have just experienced, or a winter storm, could prove fatal.

In addition, not only will our energy network be threatened due to this radical overhaul, but its implementation will also be expensive. Billions dollars in increased taxes, utility expenses and renovations. These costs will undoubtedly be passed on to residents. A more expensive and less reliable energy grid serves no one, and to pass off this bad policy as “climate conscience” is dishonest at best.

As I have repeatedly pointed out, New York only contributes about 0.5% of global carbon emissions and only 3% of emissions in the United States. New York is already “green” by nearly every measure imaginable. Our conference has always advocated for a better environment and that’s an important goal, but without a full cost-benefit analysis and a plan in place to mitigate the kind of disaster we’re seeing on the west coast, we have to pause this what we are doing now before we find ourselves in a crisis. Fortunately, we have the advantage of learning from someone else’s mistakes, wasting this chance is irresponsible and foolish.

If you have any questions or comments about this or any other state issue, or would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, please contact my office. My office can be reached by mail at 19 Canalview Mall, Fulton, NY 13069 and by email at [email protected] You can also find me, Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay, on Facebook or Twitter to @WillABarclay.

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