Sample of Issues With NY’s Work

Above is a slide from the presentations that NY State sent to me being used to justify their plan.  As close as I can figure it, if they manage to install everything on their wish list, they will still be 100,000 GWh (100 TWh) short on energy.  To put that in perspective, the shortfall is about 6 times the capacity of the now closed Indian Point Nuclear Plant at 2 GW.  Their 257 TWh of total energy use is likely low if they implement everything that they have stated they will do and add in hydrogen electrolysis which I hadn’t even accounted for in my original numbers.  It is approximately 80% efficient.

Keep in mind that this plan is being used to shutter existing generation capacity.

There are several problems with the slide above.

1 – The battery storage is in GW which is power and the system runs on energy. (Power x time).  So you can figure out how much instantaneous load can be supported but not for how long and that is critical on a very cold or very hot day.

1a – If the additional 9.5 GW (by 2050) of storage is done with batteries as stated on the chart and if 1 million 100 KWh batteries were installed (the equivalent to a large Tesla car battery) that would yield 100 GWh of storage.  With 9.5 GW of demand, the storage would operate for about 10.5 hours.  Heat waves and cold snaps can last for weeks.  The other question that has to be answered is that if there already isn’t enough energy to run the system, where will the excess energy come from to charge the batteries?  Tesla batteries are warrantied for 8 years.  What happens after that?  Not a big deal on a car because they don’t last much longer than that in many cases but is a very big deal on a utility system.  The battery capacity will be severely degraded during cold weather so it will be much less effective during a winter power demand surge and the state is predicting winter peak demand to surpass summer peak demand within 15 years so the batteries would be needed more during the winter.  How is that going to work?  The Tesla car batteries heat themselves during idle periods in cold weather so that they can provide peak power without damaging the cells.  It can decrease vehicle range by 10% and it would decrease utility storage by a comparable amount.  Part of this could be overcome by putting the batteries in underground vaults to keep them at the Earth ambient temperature, but that will increase installation costs.

1b – It states that the 5.1 GW of upstate storage includes existing pumped storage capacity.  If any of that includes the Robert Moses Power Plant at Niagara Falls, that capacity should not be included.  That storage is used to keep from having to draw water from the Niagara River during the day to fulfill the terms of an International Treaty with Canada.  They fill the reservoirs at night with water so that during the day they can make power with it and Niagara Falls will be seen by the tourists in all of its grandeur.  It is pumped storage but It’s not there for emergency power, it’s part of normal system operations.  I visited the sister plant in Canada (Sir Adam Beck Power Station) and they operate under the same restrictions.  Access to The Robert Moses Plant was restricted because of 9/11.

2 – If you look at the tables, the generation is shown in Power( GW)  but the load is shown in Energy (TWh).  No where do they present how many TWh they will be generating, just how many they will be using.   That’s a critical detail that is missing and it begs the question, “Why”? 

3 – They show the TWh load decreasing between now and 2030 which is difficult to believe with all of the electric load they are trying to add.  Four years ago, I had to drive an hour before I saw another Tesla.  Now I see one every five minutes when I am driving.  That is confirmed by the map and table below the state slide from the following website.  As of 11/1/21, there were 87,000 EV’s registered in NY State.  Below that is a slide from my original Powerpoint from 2019.  There were 37,000 Ev’s in 2018.  There has been a 241% increase in 3 years and it is accelerating.

Additionally, all of the new construction in lower Westchester and on Long Island is either oil or electric heat because of the moratorium and if NYC passes their fossil fuel ban on buildings, effective in 2024, the load will go much higher.

3a – They show 258 TWh of total load by 2050 (an increase of 125 TWh from 2021) which is inconsistent with the effects of their legislation.  If  the sale of Fossil Fuel combustion vehicles are banned by 2035, it is safe to assume that by 2050, almost the entire fleet will have been converted after 15 years.  That is at least 80 TWh of additional load between gasoline and diesel fuel and that doesn’t include the electrification of onsite thermal load that is also being mandated and their hydrogen electrolysis plans.

4 – They are treating all generation as though it is the same.  If you look at the Quebec Installed Capacity, for 2050 they show 6.4 total GW, 3.4 GW of Hydro and 3 GW of Wind.  However, one can assume that the service factor of the Hydro will be nearly 100%.  The service factor of the wind would likely have a max of 35% with significant energy loss used to heat the turbines in the winter to keep them functional.  In terms of energy output, the 6.4 GW is probably closer to 4.5 GW in an apples-to-apples comparison.  The other issue is that it has taken them 7 years of battling to install a 1 GW Power line and it still isn’t built.  Now they want to install five more of them to handle the additional 5 GW.   Even if that part of their plan succeeds   it still won’t be enough energy.  The additional Hydro will just replace Indian Point. and the wind energy is the equivalent of Cricket Valley if there are a bunch of batteries added (8 TWh of Wind).

5 – They show an increase of 6.4 GW of solar downstate between 2030 and 2050 and 29 GW of solar upstate during the same period.  During that 20 year period, the arrays installed closer to 2030 will be experiencing about a 40% power drop by 2050 so instead of having to install 35.4 GW, they will likely have to install close to 47 GW just to break even with the degradation of the older arrays.

I am not sure where they are going to install an additional 8.3 GW of solar downstate when Greenburgh wouldn’t even let them install 2 MW (1/4000th as much).

5a – The additional 38 GW of upstate solar (installed solar plus additional to offset losses) specified between now and 2050 will occupy between 200 and 400 Square miles of upstate farm land.  Potentially 4% of all farmland in NY State.

These are all nice ideas but how are they going to do it when there is a lawyer hiding under every rock in NY State.

6 – NY State is not doing this in a vacuum.  Many other governmental entities around the world are also doing this creating an extremely high demand for solar panels.  Unless there is a redesign of the technology, there will not be enough sand available to make the glass needed to make the solar panels.

This is what happens when politics drives science and technology.  All of the above details get swept under the rug but they will reappear with a vengeance if and when this is implemented.