GCC symposium on climate change should look at costs of putting big solar, wind energy in rural WNY

Posted 16 January 2022 at 6:07 pm


I had the opportunity to review the article recently posted in the Orleans Hub (GCC Symposium will Focus on Climate Change and Sustainability in WNY) regarding Genesee Community College’s 2022 Wolcott J. (Jay) Humphrey III Symposium on Leadership and Community Life Symposium to be held on April 21, 2022 at 9 a.m. in The Richard C. Call Arena.

The keynote speaker at the symposium will be Mr. Peter Boyd, currently an Executive Fellow at Yale University’s Center for Business and the Environment and leader of the Time4Good group which “allows sought-out leaders to optimize their time so that they have more energy to dedicate themselves to the environmental and social causes they care about”.

Mr. Boyd is an interesting person. Prior to his current responsibilities, he worked as Launch Director and COO of Richard Branson’s “Net-Zero by 2050” global initiative, as well as chairing The Energy Efficiency Deployment Office for the UK Department of Energy & Climate Change.

Mr. Boyd’s views are also interesting.  He has stated that:

“There is no Planet B,” a statement that indicates we only get one Earth, as well as “This is a decisive decade to get on a sustainable path. Fortunately, there are multiple benefits from action, but also a huge cost of inaction.”

Clearly, we only get one Planet A. Bravo Mr. Boyd! However, your pitch to the people attending this symposium is wrong-minded. Your view that wind, solar and battery storage energy modalities are the future is off-axis. The symposium does not seem to be scheduled to discuss the benefits of the only effective future energy production technologies: Nuclear and Hydro.  Unfortunate, as the effort to save our planet from the unsettled science of Anthropogenic Climate Change via the use of unreliable wind, solar and battery storage energy modalities will actually destroy Planet A, not save it.

Regarding Mr. Boyd’s “Decisive Decade” comment: Remembering that the planet operates on geologic time, not human life-time, I’m hoping there will be mention of the mini-Ice Age we’ve been coming out of since 1850 as a naturally occurring reason for the overall increase in global temperatures.

Is the purported warming we’re seeing anything more than the conclusion of 1850 mini-Ice Age? We don’t know, because that study has either not been performed or is not published. In fact, the 861-page New York Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (ie:  CLCPA) Draft Scoping Plan makes no mention the mini-Ice Age in its chapter on “Scientific Evidence of Our Changing Climate (Chapter 2.1).  It only uses a 50-year (1970-2020) temperature, natural disaster data set, which is a statistically insignificant sample to make the case for the tectonic, economy-destroying changes needed to feed the CLCPA goals of:

  • 85% Reduction in Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 2050
  • 100% Zero-Emission Electricity by 2040
  • 70% Renewable Energy by 2030
  • 9,000 MW of Offshore Wind by 2035
  • 3,000 MW of Energy Storage by 2030
  • 6,000 MW of Solar by 2025

While Mr. Boyd’s, statements on the cost of inaction are admirable, he is mute on the cost of action. Will there be any discussion on the cost of destroying the planet to “save” it? Doesn’t seem so.

I’m fairly confident that CLCPA will be a cornerstone of the symposium presentation to show how “ahead of the wave” New York State is in fighting climate change. By the way, CLCPA is a plan developed by appointed Albany insiders and wind/solar/battery developer’s lobbyists with absolutely no meaningful input from the citizens of rural New York where the environment, prime farmland, wildlife, quality of human life and property values will be under full attack.  This should concern every Western New Yorker.

I did find it curious that the focus of the symposium is Climate Change and Sustainability in WNY. We, in Western New York, are the beneficiaries of Hydro and Nuclear electrical generation. In fact, Western New York is 90% carbon free in electrical power generation. Why is there this need to focus on Sustainability in Western New York?

It is the Downstate areas that are “destroying the planet” with dirty, mixed fuel, coal-burning electrical generation.  Which brings up an interesting point: If New York’s Downstate area is the bad actor in carbon generation, why is 90% Clean Western New York the target of the wind, solar, battery storage build out?

Clearly these projects will never be sited in the well-heeled areas of New York State like Albany, The Hudson Valley, Westchester County, The Five Burroughs of New York City or Long Island.  This Planet-A-destroying hardware will be located…you guessed in…In our towns, our backyards, our farmland, our National Wildlife Refuges and our Great Lakes freshwater supply.

In fact, Mr. Boyd and GCC, via the subject of “climate change and sustainability in WNY” seem to be initiating a flank attack on the industrial wind, solar and battery storage project opposition of so many Western New York towns. Is this symposium being held to vilify and cancel any Western New York Town or Constituency that opposes ill-sited wind, solar and battery projects? We’ll see.

What we hear from Albany in this part of the state is, “Industrial Renewable Energy projects are for the common good”

“We just need to educate you country folk that live “up there and out there” or “You upstate rural folks don’t have enough money, influence or votes for us to really care about your opinion or input. So, we’ll do what we need to do and you’ll just have to deal with it.”

As a lifelong Western New Yorker, I would be a rich man if I had a nickel for every time I heard these types of statements from our leaders in Albany.

If you don’t think that this is how these people think… think again.  They are hell-bent on implementing their agenda at the expense anyone who gets in the way of their particular view of a sustainable future. Is this symposium a shot across Western New York’s bow or the first salvo in the battle for Western New York?  We’ll see.

A final and key point. GCC seems to have overlooked the time-honored reasons for symposiums. While it is admirable for our institutions of higher learning to drive discussion and discourse in the effort to educate, the GCC-sponsored symposium does not seem designed for an open, complete treatment of the subject matter.

Will there be discussion on the real costs of the proposed build-out of wind, solar and battery storage projects such as:

  • The cost to the planet of despoiled prime farmIand?
  • The cost to the planet of exponentially diminished wildlife populations and bio-diversity?
  • The cost to the planet of exponentially reduced human health of all living near industrial renewable energy projects?
  • The cost of destroying the property values of those who have their spent life-savings to be home-owners?
  • The cost in human health and the environment from destroyed freshwater supplies with industrial wind turbine projects in the Great Lakes?

This symposium seems more an indoctrination than an academic exercise.

Rest assured the wave of “get on the train or get out of the way” is nigh upon us.

You can do better GCC.

Thank you,

John Riggi

Councilman, Town of Yates