New York City facing emergency energy crisis within 60 days of closing Indian Point: Who would have guessed?

Commentary on ‘Conserve Energy’: New York City Begs Residents to Help Avoid Outages, a New York Times article by Mihir Zaveri and Ashley Wong

Less than sixty days from closing the Indian Point Nuclear Power plant, New York City’s last significant and only firm source of clean energy, city energy officials found themselves begging residents to stop using energy to avoid the risk of major black-outs, even as the city was swealtering under record-breaking heat.

“Conserve energy: NYC is urging all households and businesses to immediately limit energy usage to prevent power outages as the intense heat continues,” read the alert, which was sent out citywide at 4:15 p.m. “Please avoid the use of energy-intensive appliances such as washers, dryers and microwaves. Limit unnecessary use of air conditioning.”

This situation was totally predictable and is utterly tragic in that it was also entirely avoidable. Perhaps Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio have not gotten the memo about climate change . . . and the fact that it is causing global warming.  What is one to think when an elected official, in this case Mayor De Blasio, presumably well informed for decades, says “We are not used to seeing many days in a row of unbroken heat.” Was he talking about the fact that, in the prior months, the city was able to enjoy spring weather and before that winter?

These are not well-intentioned elected officials, especially Governor Cuomo.  He has almost guaranteed that New York, now entirely consigned to dependence on fossil fuels, will experience increased smog and air pollution along with severe energy insecurity for years, since the only energy brought online to replace Indian Point was fracked gas being burned in frontline communities.

It is easy to feel bad for those New Yorkers living in small apartments, many with windows that don’t even open, being dependent upon air conditioners for their comfort and survival, being told by the same elected leaders—who attacked their cleanest and most reliable energy source—that they should cut back on their use of energy. Except that it feels like the number of New Yorkers who supported Indian Point could be counted on two hands.

It is too bad that Mr. Zaveri and Ms. Wong failed to even mention how wrong it was to allow Indian Point to be shuttered.  Of course, no one could have predicted four days of extemely hot weather.  That was too much to ask.