NY Building Not Just One, but Eleven (!) NatGas-Fired Micogrids

In May MDN told you that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo had announced plans to construct a new “state-of-the-art, locally-sourced mini-power grid” that will connect to the statewide electric grid but will also be able to operate independently, to power the Empire State Plaza in Albany–a complex of buildings in downtown Albany housing much of New York State government (see NY Gov Cuomo Building New Fracked Gas Elec Plant to Power Albany!). The energy-efficient microgrid will supply 90% of the power for the 98-acre downtown Albany complex, and is expected to save the Plaza more than $2.7 million in annual energy costs. The project will also remove more than 25,600 tons of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere each year – the equivalent of taking more than 4,900 cars off the road–supporting New York’s goal to reduce emissions by 40 percent by 2030 from 1990 levels. In an emergency, it can power a shelter for Albany residents. So what will power the magical microgrid and deliver this nirvana of cheaper electricity AND reduce so-called greenhouse gas emissions at the same time? Is it a huge solar array errected in Albany or in the nearby countryside? Nope–the sun doesn’t always shine. Must be a wind farm, maybe off the coast of Long Island? Nope. The wind doesn’t always blow. The magic fuel for the magic microgrid is, you guessed it–fracked shale gas from the Marcellus. Here’s something that will leave you (as it did us), speechless: Gov. Cuomo recently handed out $1 million each for 11 more microgrid projects–as seed money to get them going (making them eligible for more money from the NY Green Bank). And yes, each and everyone one of those 11 microgrids will be powered primarily by fracked shale gas. If that doesn’t beat all…

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