In the wake of the recent winter storm, New Yorkers and other leaders across the east coast are calling for additional energy sources to power homes and businesses through extreme temperatures. While we join state leaders in these concerns, our own concern is the type of power source which is continually mentioned: wind and solar power.
Following the announcement of Indian Point’s scheduled closure, Riverkeeper and other environmental groups called for wind and solar to replace the 2,000 megawatts that will be lost in 2020 and 2021. Wind and solar are great on a small-scale basis or in a region that experiences high gusts of wind or long, sunny days – however, New York is neither of these. Currently these renewable sources make up only 5.5 percent of New York’s energy grid.
Another danger of relying on renewables, as The Energy Collective points out, is its lack of fuel for backup storage when power is most needed, specifically when wind and sunshine aren’t available. Additionally, these sources cause more damage to the environment than nuclear power or natural gas infrastructure, based on the square mileage needed to produce large amounts of energy.
“Utility power plants should be compact sources of reliable power, free from the vagaries of weather, climate, season, or time of day, and under the operator’s control at all times. In a word, they should be decoupled from the environment.” – Mike Conley, The Energy Collective
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