Governor Eliot Spitzer got a jump on the Earth Day observance with an ambitious power conservation and production plan this week. He calls for an abrupt turnabout in rising electricity use to help fight global warming, at the same time the state builds new energy-conserving power plants.
Mr. Spitzer said he also planned to pursue a major expansion of the state’s generating capacity in coming years, calling it necessary to build more power plants even if energy consumption remained level because prices would still be too high. Electricity is more expensive in New York than in almost any other state.
Along with the governor’s speech, state officials announced yesterday that they had approved contracts for the construction of 21 clean, renewable-source power plants. In his speech, Mr. Spitzer said the contracts were worth $295 million and would attract an estimated $1.4 billion in private investment. Construction of those facilities, all of them upstate, could be completed as early as next year, he said.
Those new plants, unfortunately, do not include the canceled Siemens generating station in Syracuse that would have burned renewable willow shrubs, and might have been the basis for a municipal power company in the city.
Spitzer wants to move power sales in the state to a model that guarantees utilities a certain level of revenue, no matter how little power they sell. Without the other half of that equation- generating cheaper power, we’ll keep on paying some of the biggest electricity bills in the nation.