New York should add at least 10,000 MW of new, more efficient and environmentally-friendly generation capacity within five years, the Business Council of New York State Inc. (BCNYS) recently told the state’s energy planning board. BCNYS believes that additional capacity should be the focus of New York’s revised energy plan, according to Council President Daniel Walsh. BCNYS is made up of thousands of member firms, including hundreds of chambers of commerce and professional and trade associations.

New York’s energy plan is updated every four years and the state energy planning board is overseeing the next revision. Comments on the existing plan were due at the energy planning board last week. A draft revision of the plan will be released this fall with statewide public hearings to be conducted prior to the final revision being adopted next spring.

In his letter to the energy planning board, Walsh outlines a number of specific policy recommendations. Noting that New York’s peak demand in 2000 was 30,200 MW, Walsh asserted that the state should increase generation by at least 10,000 MW but possibly as much as 15,000 MW within five years to avoid California-like problems, ensure reliability and foster cost-cutting competition.

Turning to siting issues, Walsh noted that there are already 72 proposals for new or expanded plants with a total new capacity of around 27,000 MW, all of which is supposed to be online by 2005 at the latest. But few of these plants will be built by 2005 under the state’s current Article X siting process, Walsh said, because the process is too slow. BCNYS urged the energy planning board to join the council and others in advocating reforms to streamline and accelerate the siting process.

BCNYS also said that the revised energy plan should emphasize the need for expanding and upgrading New York’s electricity transmission structure. Power lines near Utica, New York City and Long Island, for example, already carry the most possible electricity, Walsh said, which creates bottlenecks that expose customers to the effects of possible power shortages and price spikes. The state’s new energy plan should include a comprehensive transmission planning process that involves New York’s market participants and appropriate state agencies.

Walsh also said that New York must upgrade its natural gas pipelines to meet increasing demand for this clean-burning fuel. Demand for natural gas has been increasing and all major proposals for new generating plants call for natural gas-fired plants, the BCNYS letter noted.

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