Sierra Club: Public Hearings on New Electric Plan Put Long Island at Forefront of Energy Overhaul

This week, PSEG kicks off two weeks of public hearings on their proposed Utility 2.0 plan, part of Governor Cuomo’s promise to reorganize Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) as a 21st century utility.

 Sierra Club Public Hearings on New Electric Plan Put Long Island at Forefront of Energy Overhaul

The hearings are scheduled for Smithtown (8/19), Mineola (8/20), Rockaways (8/21), East Hampton (8/26) and Riverhead (8/26).

At the same time, the state is going through a similar process called Reforming the Energy Vision (REV). The initial REV proposal is set to be released on August 22. While REV is expected to take years, the first phase of Utility 2.0 will begin next year, positioning Long Island as a leader and model for the statewide overhaul.

“We have an opportunity to lead the state in building a 21st century utility powered by clean, renewable energy,” said Matt Kearns who earlier in the summer ran the Wind 100, a nearly 100 mile run from Montauk to Long Beach, the two points on Long Island with proposed offshore wind projects.

The recently released Utility 2.0 proposal includes investments in energy efficiency and solar power as well as steps to cut unnecessary electricity use at peak times. However, it falls short on what many had hoped would be a strong vision for building large-scale renewable energy, particularly offshore wind that could help meet peak demand by generating power when it’s needed most.

“Governor Cuomo promised us a modern utility, but we can’t have a modern utility run on last century’s dirty energy sources. PSEG-LI’s commitment to invest in energy efficiency and solar is a great start, but Long Islanders are demanding a plan that includes building large-scale renewable energy, including offshore wind,” said Kearns.

Recently, PSEG-LI re-committed to plans already in place by LIPA to invest in 280 megawatts of new renewable energy generation, enough to power 150,000 Long Island homes. That decision, which could spur development of New York’s first offshore wind farm, is expected at the December LIPA Board meeting.

Many are expected to speak at the hearings in favor of adding more renewable energy, especially offshore wind power, in addition to hundreds of similar comments already collected since the plan was presented publicly on July 24.

“We’re looking for leadership from Governor Cuomo, and Utility 2.0 is his first test. We hope he delivers on his promise with both a more efficient utility and a bold commitment to offshore wind power,” said Kearns.

Press release, August 19, 2014; Image: DONG Energy (Illustration)
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