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LIMBA Dr. Matt Cordaro- Governors Energy Highway

May 4, 2012 @ 12:00 am EDT


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Our Speaker this morning, Dr Matt Cordaro has been a constant voice on energy matters since the 1970’s. His experience in the utility field is matched by very few people anywhere. With the level of expertise he brings to the table you can expect the presentation to have some depth, and it did.

Cordaro’s topic was the Governors Energy Highway. The idea is to knit together a wide system of generation coming from various sources in the state. More pointedly, bringing generally low polluting, low cost power from upstate to downstate. Presently there is an abundance of available power from Hydro Quebec and wind generation in New York that cannot efficiently be moved to the so-called load pockets such as Long Island

Matt stated that there are a large number of generators locally that “were already old when I was young.” 40% of the power plants are over 40 years old and 22% are over 50 years old.

Last month an advisory board was formed to create an unclogging project. The panel will address; Efficiency, Renewables, and Repowering, The underlying objectives are to lower costs, create competitive rates, and develop new technologies.

The grand idea of building a 1000 megawatt had broad initial support. The environmentalists liked it because it would tap non-polluting sources such as wind and previously built hydro. Already on the planning boards is the Champlain-Hudson Express planned for the northern part of the state. That will cover the area coming down from Canada toward Albany. The overall plan is very complex and just refining the connections is going to cost about $2billion. The other elements are new generation facilities, repowering old power plants, and abandoning old inefficient plants, particularly high polluting coal burning power plants. Some of the repowering efforts will be right here on Long Island.

During the Q&A which was quite lively due to the level of expertise in the room, the question of vulnerability came up. Would we become too dependent on this new system if that power link was sabotaged, or broken? The answer is no because we would still be required to have 80% of the needed generating capacity in place. In other words we would still have generators in place that could be fired up if needed.

The question about carbon based energy still being an important component of the energy mix was raised. Cordaro agreed that the natural gas plants would still be used, but any new plants would be combined cycle gas burning plants that pollute very little.