New York’s plan to put the state’s last coal-fired power plants out of business hasn’t even been approved yet and electricity is already trading like they’re shut.
The price of power in 2021 in New York City and other regions surged more than 30 percent beginning in May. The only major difference between then and now: a pending state rule to limit power-plant emissions that was designed to eliminate coal-burning power plants by the end of 2020.
States that are taking more aggressive steps to curb climate change should pay attention to this early reaction. Governor Andrew Cuomo has set a target of getting half of New York’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030, and this is the first time a state has targeted coal by using its regulatory authority to limit carbon emissions. While the plan wouldn’t kick in until 2021, it’s already affecting power markets and shows that these efforts may come with a cost.
“New York is a cautionary tale,” said Nicolas Loris, an energy economist at the Washington-based Heritage Foundation. “You’re going to have some negative implications from shuttering coal, from business passing those higher energy costs onto consumers or absorbing those costs themselves.”
The New York Department of Environmental Conservation’s proposed rule announced in May creates a carbon emissions standard that’s all but impossible for coal plants to meet. The only way for New York’s last two coal-fired facilities to comply would be to invest in costly upgrades, switch to natural gas or shut down. Regulators have said they don’t expect any coal plants to remain open once it takes effect at the start of 2021.
In addition to the pending rule, New York is pricing emissions through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, and its grid operator wants to price carbon in the wholesale markets. New York City Councilman Costa Constantinides, a Queens lawmaker, has introduced legislation requiring the city to study the impact of closing about two dozen gas-fired power plants.
“At the end of the day, the bids are going to be more expensive and power prices are going to be more expensive,’’ said Armagan Yavuz, regional director for New York and New England at Genscape, a provider of real-time power-market data. “Generators are going to have pay for putting carbon in the air.’’
That had an immediate effect on power futures. Forward prices for 2021 and 2022 in regions including New York City, Albany and the Hudson Valley surged as much as 33 percent in the following weeks. That’s caught the attention of big power consumers.
“Electricity markets are already beginning to experience the price effects of the DEC’s proposed rulemakings and other policy-related efforts,’’ Multiple Intervenors, a trade group representing about 60 big power users, said in public comments submitted in response to the proposal. The group also said there’s no sign the agency had evaluated the potential impact on electricity prices. A spokesman declined to answer questions.
New York’s remaining coal plants are the 655-megawatt Somerset power facility, about 60 miles (100 kilometers) west of Rochester, and the 155-megawatt Cayuga site in the Finger Lakes region. Riesling Power, a Blackstone Group affiliate, purchased them both in 2016, and hasn’t said how it plans to respond to the proposed requirements.
“We’re open to working constructively with all stakeholders on options to preserve local union jobs, reduce environmental impacts and help ensure we continue to meet the energy needs of New Yorkers,’’ Paula Chirhart, a Blackstone spokeswoman, said in an email.
Blackstone has yet to tell the state about its plans. The New York Independent System Operator, which runs the power grid, said it hasn’t received a “deactivation notice” for the Somerset or Cayuga plants. If they do shut down, NYISO would have to assess “potential reliability needs,’’ according to an October report.
Riesling, the plants’ operator, called the proposal “a clear regulatory overreach,’’ according to public comments, and said the state failed to evaluate the potential economic impact to the region if the plants are shut down.
That’s partly true. While regulators considered jobs and local taxes, DEC didn’t evaluate how power prices might be affected.
“DEC does not typically include an evaluation of electricity prices” when studying proposed rules, Erica Ringewald, an agency spokeswoman, said in an email. Coal accounts for less than 1 percent of New York’s power, and the agency “does not anticipate a material impact on electricity prices.”
But there probably will be an effect, said Ignacia Mercadal, assistant professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.
“As the coal generators would shut down, prices are expected to increase because demand will need to be covered by new sources of electricity, which are typically more expensive,’’ Mercadal said in an email.
9-year-old genius to graduate university
(CNN) – A child prodigy from Belgium is on course to gain a bachelor’s degree at the tender age of 9.
Laurent Simons is studying electrical engineering at the Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE) — a tough course even for students of an average graduate age.
Described by staff as “simply extraordinary,” Laurent is on course to finish his degree in December.
He then plans to embark on a PhD program in electrical engineering while also studying for a medicine degree, his father told CNN.
His parents, Lydia and Alexander Simons, said they thought Laurent’s grandparents were exaggerating when they said he had a gift, but his teachers soon concurred.
“They noticed something very special about Laurent,” said Lydia.
Laurent was given test after test as teachers tried to work out the extent of his talents. “They told us he is like a sponge,” said Alexander.
While Laurent comes from a family of doctors, his parents have so far not received any explanation as to why their child prodigy is capable of learning so quickly.
But Lydia has her own theory.
“I ate a lot of fish during the pregnancy,” she joked.
The TUE has allowed Laurent to complete his course faster than other students.
“That is not unusual,” said Sjoerd Hulshof, education director of the TUE bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, in a statement.
“Special students that have good reasons for doing so can arrange an adjusted schedule. In much the same way we help students who participate in top sport.”
Hulshof said Laurent is “simply extraordinary” and praised the youngster.
“Laurent is the fastest student we have ever had here,” he said. “Not only is he hyper intelligent but also a very sympathetic boy.”
Laurent told CNN his favorite subject is electrical engineering and he’s also “going to study a bit of medicine.”
His progress has not gone unnoticed and he is already being sought out by prestigious universities around the world, although Laurent’s family wouldn’t be drawn on naming which of them he is considering for his PhD.
“The absorption of information is no problem for Laurent,” said his father.
“I think the focus will be on research and applying the knowledge to discover new things.”
While Laurent is evidently able to learn faster than most, his parents are being careful to let him enjoy himself too.
“We don’t want him to get too serious. He does whatever he likes,” said Alexander. “We need to find a balance between being a child and his talents.”
Laurent said he enjoys playing with his dog Sammy and playing on his phone, like many young people.
However, unlike most 9-year-olds, he has already worked out what he wants to do with his life: develop artificial organs.
In the meantime, Laurent has to finish his bachelor’s degree and choose which academic institution will play host to the next stage in his remarkable journey.
Before that, he plans on taking a vacation to Japan for an undoubtedly well-deserved break.
New award to honor arts and activism named after Lena Horne
Gang members slam BMW into rival and his 8-year-old son in Harlem
Two gangbangers aimed their BMW like a missile at a father and his 8-year-old son on a Harlem sidewalk in a horrifying incident captured by video distributed by police Thursday.
The BMW — driven by a man police believe is a member of the Gorilla Stone Bloods Gang — was zeroed in on the father, a rival gang member, said cops.
Around 3:45 p.m. Nov. 6, the boy and his father were walking on W. 112th St. by Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. when the BMW jumped the sidewalk and slammed into them both, said cops.
🚨WANTED for ASSAULT: on 11/6 at approx 3:43 PM in front of 128 West 112th St in Manhattan, a 32 yr old male was walking with his 8 yr old son when a white BMW jumped the curb & hit the father & son. The driver then got out and slashed the father. Call @NYPDTips with any info. pic.twitter.com/cwd79rcM4c
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) November 15, 2019
Father and son were both knocked through a gate.
The BMW driver then backed up — and its driver and passenger, also believed to be a gang member, jumped out of the car and ran toward the father and the son.
One of the attackers slashed the father, identified by sources as 32-year-old Brian McIntosh, who’s served prison time for robbery and bail jumping.
McIntosh and his son went to Harlem Hospital. Miraculously, the boy escaped serious harm.
McIntosh was so adamant about refusing to help police catch his attackers that the young boy’s mother had to file a police report alleging he was the victim of a crime, police sources said.
Cops released video of the attack, and ask anyone with information about the suspects to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS.
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