Below is an edited version of the ULC's editorial that appeared in the NY Daily News.
New York is dependent on energy supplies from out of state for more than three-fourths of its energy needs, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration — that’s 75%. The Cuomo administration took a victory lap when they closed coal plants along the Southern Tier, resulting in thousands of jobs lost while the coal plants just over the Pennsylvania border continued to thrive, providing New York with dirty power.
Gov. Hochul recently announced the goal of creating 10 gigawatts of solar generation in the state by 2030. Close to 40 million solar panels are needed. If you laid them end to end, you’d reach all the way around Earth twice. These panels are typically not recyclable because they contain toxic materials like lead that can leach out as they break down. Landfilling them also creates new environmental hazards.
As this administration moves forward with environmentalist-driven energy policy, the men and women who keep the lights on ask that you move with caution. There are numerous examples of unintended consequences of good intentions. The governor is suggesting building an extension cord from Canada to Queens, relying on foreign power and exporting jobs to Canada, which would leave us with the potential for drastic price hikes in energy and the likelihood of rolling blackouts.
We support the emission goals set by this administration and suggest that allowing New York-based investor-owned utilities to engage in renewable generation. We all want to leave the planet in better shape for the next generation, however, doing it fast does not translate to doing it right. James Shillitto, president, UWUA Local 1-2, and Patrick Guidice, chair, IBEW Utility Labor Council of NYS