Letter: Rethink new LIPA construction

A Long Island Power Authority truck is among

A Long Island Power Authority truck is among those arriving to make repairs in Belle Harbor a couple of weeks after superstorm Sandy. (Nov. 12, 2012) (Credit: AP)

Your editorial on the involvement of the consulting firm Navigant in the Long Island Power Authority's new fossil fuel power plant selection states, "LIPA's decision to enter into a new billion-dollar power-supply contract should wait until the new board can review the selection process" ["Push pause on new power," July 7].

Actually, the new board needs to back up even further and determine whether a new fossil fuel plant is necessary at all, in light of the need for a rapid transition to renewable energy sources to meet strict state standards and limit the extent of global climate disruption. LIPA is seriously lagging in achieving both its own and state renewable-energy goals. Spending billions of dollars on additional carbon-emitting fossil fuel plants would be a major step backward. We need larger scale efficiency and carbon-free generation such as solar and offshore wind power.

Further, it should be noted that the cost to LIPA and its ratepayers of a kilowatt-hour of energy saved through its successful efficiency programs is one-fifth to one-half the cost of a kilowatt-hour of energy actually generated and consumed. Therefore, by my math, adding a new power plant -- whether by J-Power USA or Caithness II -- would actually increase the cost of electricity to LIPA ratepayers, as opposed to alternatives.

LIPA's own 2010-20 energy plan shows that little or no growth in capacity is needed until 2020. Actual electricity sales have been below the plan's projections, and the cost of solar and wind are declining. LIPA needs to update its energy plan to reflect the current climate, economic and technical realities before committing to a new fossil fuel plant.

Peter Gollon, Huntington

Editor's note: The writer is the energy chair of the Long Island Sierra Club.

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