As new climate laws force more buildings around the city to make the switch to electrical heating, New York City is at risk of facing more blackouts this winter season.
The New York City Council passed legislation to phase fossil fuels out of buildings in order to reduce carbon emissions. Local Law 97 will force buildings to phase out the use of fossil fuels beginning as soon as January 2024, while Local Law 154 will ban the use of fossil fuels in new buildings.
By 2050, all of New York City’s buildings must cut carbon emissions by 80%.
The NY Assembly stated:
Since buildings alone account for 32% of greenhouse gas emissions in New York, they need to be part of our response to the climate crisis. Starting in 2026, the all-electric buildings law will require most new buildings in New York to use electric heat and appliances, instead of planet-destroying fossil fuels. The law includes many commonsense exemptions to help ensure a smooth roll-out which benefits all New Yorkers.
The downside is that NYC’s existing electrical infrastructure is not prepared for such a surge in electricity usage. Con Edison expects that electrical consumption will transition from peaking during the summer to peaking during the winter by 2035, nearly doubling over the next three decades.
This, however, is expected to pose challenges to the city’s power grid.
A report by the New York Independent System Operator reads “changes to the resource mix may complicate system operations during multi-day cold snap conditions. The frequency and severity of projected potential loss of load events grow over the modeling time horizon as the generation mix evolves and the demand for electricity increases.”
“Our latest report demonstrates the continued importance of the NYISO’s in-depth planning process and the need to closely monitor the rapidly changing electric grid,” said Zach Smith, Vice President, System and Resource Planning.
Con Edison will have to spend $22.3 billion to improve grid reliability, such as building modern electrical infrastructure that will connect to renewable energy sources rather than fossil fuels.
Considering meteorologists have predicted a “frosty, flakey, and slushy” winter for NYC, we can only hope there won’t be as many blackouts as they suspect.