Regarding the July 22 letter, “Overreliance on electricity will be bad for the state,” the writer is correct about one thing. Our electric grid needs work. That’s primarily because utilities have underinvested in it for years. We need them to catch up.
But gas generation doesn’t support grid reliability. Gas generation fails in power outages, too, as the recent fierce Texas winter storm showed, as have all previous blackouts. Keeping gas plants running, rather than substituting clean energy, is not the answer. We need greatly expanded transmission facilities to get renewables rolling.
Another necessary path is geothermal heating and cooling, an option gas generation companies can pursue now that Gov. Kathy Hochul has signed the Utility Thermal Energy Network and Jobs Act. Geothermal energy reduces stress on the grid, as do air source heat pumps. Had the All-Electric Building Act passed this session instead of being held up by State Assembly Leader Carl Heastie, new construction would be equipped with energy-saving air source heat pumps.
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Getting renewable power to our communities seems a bit of a chicken and egg situation. We need utilities, with their union workers, and the state to invest both in our grid and in clean energy generation. A commitment to energy-saving geothermal and air source heating and cooling would lessen peak demand and stress on our overburdened grid.