City Hall News hosted an energy panel to discuss New York State's energy future. Senator Gianaris was invited to participate in the panel since his Senate district is home to more than 60% of New York City's power generating plants.
Moving forward will require a range of new initiatives, panelists said – including conservation measures such as retrofitting buildings to be more efficient, and installing smart meters to let electric customers monitor and control their power use more closely.
“We have to balance all of these resources,” said Sergej Mahnovski, senior advisor and director of the Office of Energy Policy and Infrastructure at the city Department of Environmental Protection. “There is no magic bullet, so we have to be careful.”
Ray Long, vice president of government affairs at NRG Energy, said his company’s natural gas-fired electric plants can provide more power with lower emissions, and can be built relatively quickly if agreements are in place to buy their power.
“We don’t need to look much further than our own backyard in and around the New York City area to see the opportunity to get new technologies in place in a reasonable amount of time,” Long said.
With so many different strategies to provide enough power for New York – and with disagreements raging about the Indian Point nuclear plant and “hydrofracking” natural gas drilling – panelists said the ultimate responsibility for coordinating them lies with the state.
“I’ve been hearing about some of those things for years. I’d love to see them. I wish they’d happen faster,” said Queens Sen. Michael Gianaris. “What we lacked in the state and continue to lack – although there’s some sign of progress – is an energy vision.”
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