Governor can best meet energy goals with nuclear plants sited downstate

Posted 28 July 2020 at 11:27 am


Governor Cuomo is at it again!

I am sorely disappointed, but never surprised by the State’s headlong rush to destroy rural New York State. This time it involves our water supply as well as the sport fishing and tourism industries so important to our economy and way of life.

Apparently, the Governor is interested in siting offshore wind turbines within 2 miles of the southern shore of Lake Ontario. The myriad and significant issues that would arise from an ill-advised initiative such as this one would include:

  • Contaminated water supply as a result of toxin release from lake bed disturbances during construction and wind turbine nacelle leaks after construction
  • Shipping lane restrictions
  • Migratory bird flyway disruptions
  • Significant disruption of lake sport-fishing
  • Significant disruption to pleasure boating activities
  • Significant night time light pollution from aircraft navigation lighting installed on turbines

As lakeshore towns, we understand more than most the importance of these resources and the complete folly of destroying them in the name of electrical generation via an obsolete technology that currently generates no more than 0.10% of the State’s daily electrical needs.  Frankly, much more appropriate options for clean energy production are hydro and nuclear. In fact, nuclear plants can be very easily placed Downstate where the energy is needed without destroying prime agricultural land upstate.

The typical 1,000mW nuclear power plant utilizes 640 acres of land. Contrast this with the 12,000 acres of land a 200mW industrial wind turbine facility would use or the 3,000 acres required for a 150mW solar power installation.

Additionally, the Indian Point Nuclear Power plant in Buchannan, NY (Westchester County) produces 2,000mW of power at a 239-acre site in that town. However, the well-heeled residents of Westchester County browbeat the Governor into closing that site, leaving a minimum 39% daily deficit in downstate power generation. The deficit is being replaced with coal-generated power from New Jersey.

Interestingly and not surprisingly, nonprofit consortium Sustainable Westchester (read Albany lobbying group) does not agree that power should be generated where it is needed, as they state in their recent missive to the state:

“Tier 4 resource eligibility should be expanded to NYCA zones H and I deliveries. The same remarks stated…about New York City apply to Westchester County: a Tier 1 land-based renewable generation cannot be built in the County because of the same lack of developable sites for largescale solar systems or wind farms. In order to increase the penetration of renewable energy in Westchester County, the only solution for the communities is to contract a supply with upstate renewable generation and have it delivered in the County.”

So, Sustainable Westchester, believes that there are no “developable” sites in ALL of Westchester County and New York City and that rural, Western New York should bear the brunt of power generation for the Downstate area?

Westchester County = NIMBY land?  Maybe.

Lesson to Sustainable Westchester and Governor Cuomo: Just because there are not skyscrapers on rural Western New York land does not mean that land is vacant and unused.  Fully 100% of all rural land in Western New York is utilized in growing food for Downstate as well as providing a clean environment for constituents and wildlife in kind.

There are better energy solutions than destroying our Great Lakes.

John B. Riggi

Councilman, Town of Yates