Niagara Falls Reporter
Home | Archive / Search
SEP 01 - SEP 08, 2015

Cuomo's 2015 State Energy Plan More of the Same, Except Even More Local Hydropower Going to NYC

By James Hufnagel

SEP 01, 2015

Mayor Dyster and former NYPA boss Richie Kessel. Ten years ago, Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper was chosen by NYPA to "negotiate" for the environmental portion of the relicensing settlement, sidelining Niagara County environmental groups. On the eve of talks, NYPA made a $10,000 donation to Riverkeeper. Paul Dyster was serving on the Riverkeeper board of directors at the time.
Most of the hydropower generated by the Niagara Power Project is shipped out of the region. Western New Yorkers pay some of the highest electric bills in the nation.


"For struggling communities, taking a proactive approach toward the development of clean energy resources is a smart economic move that sends a powerful signal of revitalization. New York State is committed to helping its communities and municipalities realize these benefits."

So states the recently-released 2015 New York State Energy Plan.

Several hundred pages long, the plan maps out a pathway to New York State's energy future in exhaustive detail. Emphasizing wind, solar and hydropower, and continued promotion of old stand-bys like conservation and efficiency, it prioritizes clean, green and sustainable energy, projecting that 50% of electricity generation will come from renewable energy sources by 2030. The question we ask is, what does the 2015 State Energy Plan mean for the city of Niagara Falls and Niagara County? We reviewed the entire plan, and here are some highlights.

The plan's central theme, "Reforming the Energy Vision", "will lead to regulatory changes that promote more efficient use of energy, deeper penetration of renewable energy resources such as wind and solar, wider deployment of distributed energy sources such as microgrids, roof-top solar and other on-site power supplies, and storage... These changes, in turn, will empower customers by allowing them more choice in how they manage and consume electricity."

The plan discusses at length the microgrids, customer choice, the on-site this and roof-top that. One has to scroll all the way to page 93 before encountering the first glimmer of an alternative agenda.

"New York’s Energy Highway Blueprint is upgrading and modernizing New York’s electric grid... Transmission projects to reduce congestion from upstate to downstate are moving forward..."

"NYPA is also addressing congested transmission lines in Central NY to allow additional energy to flow to the downstate region as part of the Energy Highway Blueprint..."

How much of that "additional energy" will be coming from the Niagara Power Project is not easily gleaned from the new State Energy Plan. One of the largest hydroelectric generating facilities in the entire country, located on the Niagara River at Lewiston, NY, the Niagara Power Project obtained a fifty-year operating license commencing in Sept. 2007. As a result of that agreement, Western New York received settlement amounts that were generally regarded as far less than the region deserved.

Over the past eight years, NYPA and NYS have taken over $1 billion from the Niagara Power Project to fund operations elsewhere. Routinely, an average of 76% of NYPA's annual surplus comes from the Niagara Power Project.

"New York is the largest hydroelectric power producer east of the Rocky Mountains," notes the new State Energy Plan, "NYPA’s power generation assets, and its mandate to promote statewide economic development, provide a strong foundation upon which New York will build a more sustainable and resilient energy grid while driving job creation."

Speaking of "job creation", this region has lost 37,000 jobs since NYPA took over local hydropower generation here, previously a locally-owned and operated enterprise. According to a recent study, 98% percent of the nation pays less than what we pay for electricity, 25% paying less than half of what we pay.

Prior to relicensing, NYPA studies found that only 14% of the economic benefit from the Niagara Power Project remained in WNY. The other 86%, of course, went elsewhere, with the lion's share allocated to New York City.

In addition, a large generating plant in our backyard has security implications, which are mentioned in the "Impacts and Considerations" section of the plan.

"In spite of progress made to improve dam safety, dam failure and earthquakes by reservoir-induced seismicity are still the major catastrophic hazards associated with hydroelectric generation... Thirty-four percent of the existing federally regulated dams (in New York State) are classified as having a high hazard potential due to dam height, reservoir capacity, downstream activities, and other factors."

Understandably, at-risk dams are not identified on-line, however, those criteria appear to describe the Lewiston facility "to a tee".

State Energy Plans are created every few years (previously 2002 and 2009) based partially on input from public hearings held across the state, and this being an election year, the following is relevant as it relates to how seriously local politicians such as Mayor Paul Dyster take our energy situation.

"Yesterday I testified at the Center for Tomorrow (University at Buffalo) on the proposed State Energy Plan," this writer emailed Dyster in August of 2009. "(I) made my public comments in the context of... the $500 million sweep of funds from NYPA."

"I testified also, right after the break," replied the Mayor. "Mostly on alternative energy policy... Must have just missed you."

I was in the hearing room all day without a break and, actually, Mayor Dyster never made an appearance. Just to make sure I hadn't nodded off and somehow missed him, I went back and checked the hearing transcript. No Paul Dyster. So our local energy picture shouldn't be much of a mystery to anyone.






No Plea Negotiations or Settlement Talks in Kane Case, Source Confirms
Touma Calls for Special Meeting to Fund the Frozen Pipe Fix on 72nd Street
Wasting Taxpayer Cash to Fight Matteo Anello Verdict, is Very ‘Appealing’ to Mayor Dyster
Dyster’s Shameful Performance on 72nd Street He Denied it Before he Admitted it, he Hid it Before he Found it, And Passed the Buck Before he Took up the Cause...
72nd Street Residents’ Suffering Has Been Lost in the Dyster Shuffle
Mendacity and Duplicity as Dyster’s Water Boys Attempt Run to the Rescue
Stewart III Parrots Forster Line On 72nd Street Water Main Freeze
City Dems Expect Leaders To Work Together
Anderson’s Council Run Offers Voters Chance to Reelect a Good Honest Man!
Choolokian Supporters Rally at Local #91
Hastings to Sell Main Street Properties, Reporter has Learned
Staying at the Grand Hamister Hotel
Lewiston: Reiter Throws Support Behind Rose for Highway Super, But Why?
Cuomo's 2015 State Energy Plan More of the Same, Except Even More Local Hydropower Going to NYC
Roundup Part 2 Francine DelMonte Returns; a Host of Town and Country Races Reviewed
Kane Cooperating in Rape Probe, Sources Say
Lewiston’s Riverwalk Problems Continue Like Bad Dream
In Wheatfield, BSing About Manure
Lewiston: The Poor Practice of Only Relying on Past Practice
Accardo: Abolish ‘Dyster Double-Dip’ Insurance Subsidy For Mayoral Appointees, Council Members
Thoughts on the Dyster Campaign Flyer
Only in NT: We Want our City Back!
Szwedo Pushing Hard in GOP Primary for Mayor
Some Dyster Directed Disasters You May Have Forgotten About
Finger Pointing all Around as Welfare Rent Program Becomes Silly Season Fare
The FBI and Hillary “Rotten” Clinton
Big Daddy Dyster takes Mendacity, Duplicity to Entirely New Level Here
Ten More Reasons to Vote “Anybody But Dyster” in 2015
City Hall Jokes

Contact Info

©2014 The Niagara Falls Reporter Inc.
POB 3083, Niagara Falls, N.Y. 14304
Phone: (716) 284-5595

Publisher and Editor in Chief: Frank Parlato
Managing Editor: Dr. Chitra Selvaraj
Senior Editor: Tony Farina