N.Y. Public Service Commission Chairwoman Offers Global Warming Rationalization for Taxpayer Subsidy Boondoggle
How much more in your monthly utility bill would you be happy to pay to combat global warming? Probably not much, if anything.
Unfortunately, New York state residents are being lectured that they shouldn’t have any choice.
That’s the upshot of a festering crony capitalist utility boondoggle cooked up by state legislators in the name of global warming alarmism, as we at CFIF detailed earlier this month.
By way of refresher, the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) approved a new “Clean Energy Standard” (CES) last month, which requires that carbon-neutral sources account for at least 50% of energy generated in the state by the year 2030. Making matters worse, CES provisions require power companies to buy Zero Emission Credits (ZECs) from a state government bureaucracy to benefit financially struggling upstate nuclear energy plants. Those subsidies guarantee $1 billion for the struggling plants in the first two years of the plan alone, with an estimated $8 billion over the full course of the CES plan.
And these subsidies will reportedly benefit a single company named Exelon, which controls the struggling plants. Think of it as New York’s own little Solyndra boondoggle.
Naturally, the cost of this scheme will fall upon New York residents and businesses, regardless of whether they receive any power from the subsidized nuclear plants upstate.
To their credit, state lawmakers recognized the numerous flaws in the CES plan and spelled them out in a recent letter to PSC Chairwoman Audrey Zibelman, also demanding a more open public accounting.
Chairwoman Zibelman’s response only made matters worse, rationalizing that, “compared to the cost of climate change that we have already experienced in the State, this is a very modest burden”:
Carbon emissions themselves are not geographically bounded. The CES allocates the obligation to meet the 50 percent renewables goals and zero-emission credits to all of the consumers of the State because all consumers will benefit from reducing carbon emissions… To suggest that downstate consumers should be less responsible for maintaining the nuclear-zero emissions attributes would undoubtedly require us to apply the same logic to allocate responsibility to reduce the harm caused by fossil-fuel combustion. Not only would that fly in the face of sound thinking regarding our responsibility to the environment, it would suggest that because most of our fossil fuel emissions are caused by downstate power generation, we would assign a higher responsibility to downstate customers for the CES based upon the local energy mix. The benefits of addressing climate change are also significant for the downstate, coastal region.”
Then came the best (or worst) part from Chairwoman Zibelman. Namely, she repeated the debunked claim that global warming causes hurricane activity and that we’d only witness more and more soon. More informed Americans, however, will recall that after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, we were told that global warming was the cause, and we’d only see more and more Katrinas as a result. Instead, the U.S. has now gone the longest stretch in history without a major hurricane.
Regardless, the bottom line is that New York’s CES plan is a crony capitalist, global warming alarmist boondoggle. It can’t be justified on any rationalization, least of all false global warming illogic.