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The Oneida Daily Dispatch (Oneida, NY) - - Opinion -

We must fo­cus on longterm en­ergy needs

With all the ex­cite­ment about the so­lar eclipse, it was easy to for­get the 14th an­niver­sary of an event that ac­tu­ally did plunge New York into dark­ness: the 2003 North­east Blackout. Un­like the eclipse, the blackout had dev­as­tat­ing con­se­quences for New York, in­clud­ing an es­ti­mated $1 bil­lion in eco­nomic dam­age and the tragic loss of 90 lives.

Re­mem­ber­ing the North­east Blackout re­mains cru­cial be­cause we are still at risk of large-scale black­outs.

To lessen the odds of this, we need abun­dant baseload power right here in New York, so that we don’t have to rely on more vul­ner­a­ble out-of-state sources. Un­for­tu­nately, we’re slated to lose our sin­gle largest baseload gen­er­a­tor of clean elec­tric­ity, In­dian Point, when it closes in 2021 — and re­place­ment projects, of which many are needed, are prov­ing both slow and ex­pen­sive to de­velop.

We also need a trans­mis­sion grid that’s ro­bust and upto-date, nei­ther of which prop­erly de­scribes ours. Sit­ing and per­mit­ting new and up­graded lines, which our ma­jor elec­tric util­i­ties are thought­fully pur­su­ing, takes years—yet this process too is merely crawl­ing along. Mean­while, new tech­nolo­gies that re­quire abun­dant elec­tric­ity are grow­ing faster than con­ser­va­tion mea­sures, so de­mand for elec­tric power con­tin­ues to ex­pand.

We’ve been for­tu­nate to en­joy the so­lar eclipse with­out hav­ing had to deal with a real blackout—but that’s no cause for com­pla­cency about our long-term en­ergy needs. The time is now for our state gov­ern­ment to move quickly on a com­pre­hen­sive plan to pro­vide for our en­ergy needs safely and re­li­ably, from gen­er­a­tion through trans­mis­sion, be­fore an­other large-scale blackout forces us to con­front our lack of prepa­ra­tion.

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