Michael Oates in his commentary “Investing in upstate renewables will lift all of New York,” June 28, points out that a grid bringing renewable energy downstate benefits both its ends: people upstate get needed jobs and people downstate get cleaner air.
Unfortunately, the plan touted by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio is the damaging, short-sighted Hydro-Quebec proposal.
Contrary to the hype, megadam hydro is not clean or renewable, and importing electricity undermines local renewable energy development. Hydro-Quebec has a long history of using indigenous land not ceded to the province for projects, flooding boreal forests and poisoning water with methylmercury. The Hydro-Quebec plan includes the Champlain Hudson Power Express, which would trench the spine of the Hudson River to bury a high-voltage transmission line. This will undoubtedly uncover long-buried PCBs and other toxins, threatening the health of our river and the drinking water of towns along the power line's route.
Fortunately, we don’t need to buy electricity from a distant, unreliable source. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority has received multiple proposals to develop in-state wind and solar power. This would create thousands of good, long-term jobs and keep energy dollars in New York instead of sending them to Canada. Why would we lock ourselves into a 25-year contract to import megadam energy when we can produce clean, renewable energy right here in New York state?
NYSERDA will select a proposal between now and Sept. 30. We need to make sure they choose one that promotes climate justice and grows our state's renewable energy economy.
New York City