On August 9, 2018, the New York Public Service Commission approved a petition by Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc. (Con Edison) for a $5 million, three-year natural gas demand response (DR) pilot program, among the first uses of DR for natural gas. Demand response programs help manage utility usage during periods of peak demand.

According to Con Edison, firm natural gas demand on its peak-day has increased by more than 30% between 2011 and 2017 and is expected to grow by an additional 23% over the next 20 years. This increase is driven by a preference for natural gas in new construction and switching from heating oil to natural gas in existing facilities. The transition resulted from a 2011 mandate to reduce use of heavy heating oil in New York City and the decline in natural gas prices since 2011.

In its pilot program, Con Edison proposed two methods of natural gas DR that closely match its existing electric DR programs. For residential and small commercial customers, it proposed using direct load control to adjust customers’ thermostats during peak natural gas demand days, with financial incentives for participation offered for up to 1,000 customers through 2021. For industrial, large commercial, and multi-family residential customers with centralized boilers, Con Edison proposed to achieve demand reductions via financial incentives alone when peak demand days are forecast. The company aims to enroll 500 new customers each year of this portion of the pilot program. Overall, Con Edison anticipates that it can meet approximately 1% of its anticipated shortfall in firm pipeline capacity with this pilot program.

Con Edison has firm pipeline transport contracts that enabled the company to meet 83% of its peak-day demand in winter 2017-18. To meet the rest of its peak-day natural gas demand, Con Edison purchases delivered services (also known as peaking contracts) from other companies. Unlike firm transport contracts, which generally have renewal rights, delivered services are not guaranteed to be available in any given year, especially if competing natural gas use elsewhere continues to increase.

Con Edison estimates that by the winter of 2023-24, its firm pipeline contracts will meet only 78% of its peak-day demand absent any new pipeline capacity. However, no remaining firm pipeline capacity is currently available into New York City or Westchester County, and recent attempts to add pipeline capacity have stalled as a result of regulatory challenges. Con Edison is now planning alternative measures, including DR, to help ensure all its customers are served on the coldest days of the year.

Although DR has become fairly common in the electricity sectorover the past 10 to 15 years, programs to reduce natural gas demand have only recently been adopted. In early 2017, SoCalGas pilotedthe Seasonal Savings program, which used direct load control to adjust about 50,000 residential thermostats according to a household’s schedule and preferences to reduce short-term peak demand. In the winter of 2017-18, 16 National Grid customers in New York City and Long Island participated in a DR program aimed at commercial and industrial customers, where large heaters or machinery run on natural gas were turned on and off to manage peak demand days.

Move over, Russia — and Saudi Arabia, too: The United States is now the world’s largest producer of crude oil.

“US crude-oil production exceeded that of Saudi Arabia for the first time in more than two decades,” the US Energy Information Administration reported Tuesday. “In June and August, the United States surpassed Russia in crude-oil production for the first time since February 1999.”

That assessment confirms an International Energy Agency prediction in March that America would soon be No. 1, and it should keep that slot through 2019, at least.

Thanks to the fracking boom, US oil production has topped more than 10 million barrels per day this year — a first since the 1970s, Reuters reported.


The EIA expects US crude production to hit 11.5 million bpd next year, with growth likely leveling off as the increase in global demand slows.

Also thanks to fracking, US natural-gas production is similarly set to hit an all-time high this year: 80.96 billion cubic feet per day, up from 73.55 billion in 2017.

The energy boom, and the lower costs it means for manufacturing and other sectors, is a vital part of the overall US economic surge. Sadly, New York is seeing far less than its fair share of that prosperity, thanks to Gov. Cuomo’s pseudo-scientific ban on fracking.

NYS Exposed: Cuomo critics say Rochester, upstate, will bear burden for L.I., N.Y.C. WIND POWER

August 22, 2018 10:34 AM

New York government watchdogs raised alarms over the state’s plans to pay for new offshore wind turbines to generate electricity declaring upstate residents would end up footing the bill for downstate power.

"Fifty-three percent of the people who are going to be paying for these turbines aren’t going to benefit from them,” said Ken Girardin, a policy analyst at the Empire Center. “That is to say 53-percent of the money is going to come from rate payers north of New York City, in upstate.”

In July, Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled a new order from the state Public Service Commission (PSC) for the construction of wind turbine towers capable of generating 800 megawatts of electricity in the Atlantic Ocean south of Long Island and east of New York City.

The project, he announced, was intended to “jump start” the development of offshore wind power. Cuomo’s “50 by 30” initiative seeks to derive 50-percent of the state’s electricity from renewable sources by the year 2030.

“We are not going to stop until we reach 100-percent renewable because that is what a sustainable New York is really all about,“ the governor declared during his announcement.

“This is politically motivated energy policy. It’s not being guided by any good science,” Girardin countered.

Analysis by the Empire Center focused on the cost of wind-generated electricity, offshore wind energy in particular.

“There is a contingent in the green energy community that really romanticizes these offshore wind turbines that have been built in Europe,” Girardin said. “They are the single most expensive type of renewable energy. Power coming from offshore wind costs about four times what power generated now by conventional means costs.“ 

Because added cost can make wind power harder to sell into the electric grid, state and federal subsidies have long propped up wind power providers enabling them to sell their electricity at a loss.

Those subsidies have been collected from utility customers in their bills.

The PSC letter launching the Long Island turbine project announced the availability of its own subsidy, “Offshore Wind Renewable Energy Credits,” to support the project.  And it specified that “every” state electric utility, or “load-serving entity” “shall invest in new offshore renewable generation resources,” meaning every electric consumer in the state would contribute to the funding of the project, even though the project was only meant to generate electricity for New York City and Long Island.

”The governor’s plan to pay for this is to make rate payers across the state, in Buffalo, in Rochester, in Syracuse, pay extra on their electric bills to generate the money to pay for these wind turbines,” said Girardin.

Based on likely construction costs and market rates for electricity, calculations by the Empire Center put the cost to upstate New York utility customers alone at $4.3-billion over 20 years for the wind turbine project. 

A statement from the PSC insisted that upstate New York had actually seen the majority of recent renewable energy development and said, “all New Yorkers will benefit from a more diverse and resilient energy system that also combats climate change.”

The statement also said, “introducing a new, cost-effective energy source into the statewide grid will not only provide significant statewide environmental benefits, it will stimulate an emerging industry, creating thousands of new jobs across New York.”

Materials from the Cuomo administration’s press office quoted supporters like Lisa Dix from the Sierra Club saying, “[r]apidly advancing offshore wind is not only necessary to achieve the Governor's bold climate goals but is critical to making New York a renewable energy economic powerhouse.”

But Girardin warned that for all the pain higher electric bills might cause homeowners, the plan for higher electric rates could do the most damage to the state’s economy.

“For places such as big businesses or hospitals, that have large electricity bills, you’re going to be looking at an annual cost in the thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars, directly as a result of this mandate,” he said. “So, it won’t just hurt regular ratepayers in their pocketbooks. It’s going to be one more negative impact on the upstate economy.”

The funding plan drew criticism from Rochester area state Senator Rich Funke who declared in a statement, “no taxpayer in Upstate New York should be responsible for paying for a project that will primarily benefit residents of New York City and Long Island.”

Funke also took issue with the plan’s use of special charges levied by the PSC to raise its funding rather than the normal legislative budgeting process.  

“I support renewable energy,” he continued, “but I do not support the Governor bypassing the legislature to impose yet another tax on hardworking New Yorkers.”

The PSC’s plan did not spell out how much the wind turbine proposal would cost rate payers but specified that utilities should present their proposed contracts to handle the offshore renewable energy credits by March of 2019.

Otsego County faces many issues and among them is the fact no natural gas means no jobs. Trendy fractivists are just fine with that but others? Not so much.
Lately the antis have been petitioning the Otsego County Legislature to ban gas trucks carrying CNG from Pennsylvania across Otsego County to the Iroquois Pipeline in Manheim, New York.  From there the gas can go to NYC or New England.  
The trucks are used because the antis and Governor Cuomo have stopped construction of pipelines in NYS.  I recently spoke to our County Legislature and reminded the members that pipelines are safer than trucks because pipelines don’t tip over.
Mike Zagata’s column and Jody Zakrevsky’s op-ed last week delivered a nice one/two punch to the “no gas, no way, keep-it-in-the-ground” crowd who are ideologically tethered to an anti-carbon agenda.
Mr. Zagata, the former DEC Commissioner, wrote his letter from an environmental/ scientific point of view. He spoke of the universality of carbon dioxide in nature, industry, and modern life. In a series of questions, he exposed the hypocrisy of protesters who single out fossil fuels, especially gas, without acknowledging the benefits enjoyed by the protesters themselves. All forms of energy have their downsides, a fact that the protesters rarely acknowledge or may even know.
Mr. Zakrevsky of Otsego Now, Otsego County’s one-stop shop for economic development, listed the real effects of local obstructionist actions against gas. Almost five hundred local jobs have been lost due to the unavailability of affordable energy. That’s just from two firms looking to relocate/expand in Oneonta. He noted several local small businesses who banded together for expanded pipeline capacity. They’re looking for gas. Un-mandated, un-subsidized, market-priced, cheap energy GAS!
Mr. Zavretsky is not alone in his economic analysis. Mr. Zavrevsky’s predecessor, Sandy Mathes, addressing the Otego Town Board early in his tenure, noted the two main factors businesses look for in expansion — good infrastructure and cheap energy. Mr. Mathes expanded on this theme while addressing the Schenevus Town Board, preparing a site to be marketed as a distribution center. He added “shovel ready” permitting to infrastructure and, during the Q & A, added PILOT tax relief and cheap energy as necessary elements to counterbalance New York State’s high taxes and regulations. Again, GAS!
So we’re two for two for gas with our County economic leaders. Last week’s header for Mr. Zavesky’s letter sums it up neatly. “No Natural Gas = No Jobs.” Amen to that.
In the meantime the “No Gas = No Jobs” regime continues. But, there are consequences.
When school opened last week, Unatego had 762 students, down about 60 from the previous year. Twenty years ago, the enrollment was 1,471. As Governor Cuomo and the protesters shut the valve on gas, young families continue to move, looking for work and opportunity. As Mr. Zavfrevsky observed, each job lost is, potentially, one less family living in our area.
Perhaps Governor Cuomo and the protesters look for salvation in the form of 800 megawatts of wind turbines in Long Island Sound. Problem: that energy’s not here. And it’s not now. When built, the electricity goes to NYC and Long Island. However, thanks to the Public Service Commission (PSC), 53% percent of the bill comes Upstate. The PSC’s Offshore Wind Renewable Energy Credits support the project and the PSC states that, “every state electric utility or load serving entity SHALL (emphasis mine) contribute to the project.”
That’s you, folks. You’re paying the bill. It’s a tax, but your local utility is the tax collector.
But in the long run, it’s good, right?
Wrong! If you want want a full picture of what is in store for New York, take a look at present day Germany. The Governor is following the German policy of Energiewende, a full scale prioritization of renewable enegy. After spending over 100 billion euros, German energy is still primarily fossil fuels (79%) with renewables (15%), and nuclear (5%). With last year’s sudden rise in rates, one kwh of German electricity costs about the American equivalent of forty eight cents. NYSEG charges about twelve cents. There has been no reduction in German carbon dioxide emissions, in fact, a rise of 2%. Lots of economic pain for no environmental gain. See a problem here?
So, if cheap energy is a prerequisite for job creation, my advice to the young is grab your Google maps and punch in Texas, Tenneessee, or . . . Pennsylvania. The difference between the Southern Tier of NYS and the Northern Tier of Pennsyvania tells it all. Over the last seven years the eight New York counties of the Southern Tier have had a rise in their GDP in their manufacturing sector of 1.5%. The seven counties of Pensylvania’s Northern Tier have seen a rise of 24%. That’s 16 times the money made by their New York sister counties directly across the border.
Again, Pennsylvania has gas. New York has “No Natural Gas = No Jobs.”
Cuomo’s got to go!
Keep the faith.
Richard Downey is a retired New York City schoolteacher and a member of the Unatego Board of Education and the Joint Landowners Coalition of New York.
Republican Candidate for Governor Marc Molinaro 
will host a

This Friday, August 24th at 6pm
at the Holiday Inn Downtown,
2 Hawley Street, Binghamton, N.Y. 13901


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