REV Background Summary Page

Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) is Governor Cuomo’s plan to “rebuild, strengthen and modernize New York’s energy system. The ultimate goal of REV is to change the energy system of New York to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 80% from 1990 levels by 2050 (“80 by 50”). This page describes the background information necessary to understand the feasibility of this goal in this program.

In order to understand the difficulties of the proposed changes the complexities of the existing electric system have to be understood. This page includes references that provide background information to help with that understanding.   Two blogs have a series of posts that I recommend for anyone is interested in understanding the enormous challenge inherent in the REV goals.

The Science of Doom blog was written for “People interested in the science behind the climate stories we read about every day.” While there are a whole slew of articles that address the nitty gritty of climate science there also have been a series of posts on renewable energy. The author does a good job of not only distilling down the information but also providing links to original documents with the admonition that readers review the entire documents.

One Science of Doom post is particularly appropriate for REV. My biggest problem with REV to this date is that it is much more of an executive summary than a comprehensive plan. The post entitled Behind the Executive Summary and Reality vs Dreams specifically addresses this issue. The author writes about a United Kingdom plan which claims that a flexible grid could save a lot of money. That is exactly the claim made by REV proponents so you can read that post, substitute REV for the “An analysis of electricity system flexibility for Great Britain”, and get an overview of the key challenges for the large CO2 emission reductions proposed. Read the whole thing but this is a key takeaway message:

What is fascinating reading the report is that all of the points I made in previous articles in this series show up, but dressed up in a very positive way:

We’re choosing between all these great options on the best way to save money

For those who like a short story, I’ll rewrite that summary:

We’re choosing between all these expensive options trying to understand which one (or what mix) will be the least expensive. Unfortunately we don’t know but we need to start now because we’ve already committed to this huge carbon reduction by 2050. If we make a good pick then we’ll spend the least amount of money, but if we get it wrong we will be left with lots of negative outcomes and high costs for a long time.

The other series of blog posts on renewable energy is at Climate Etc. These blog posts on energy planning give a very good overview of current energy related issues. The posts were provided to provoke thought and spur discussion to provide valuable background information. They were not written to “be cited for homework, peer reviewed papers, master’s thesis or public testimony”.

The primary author of this series of blog posts signs his articles as “Planning Engineer”. He has a BSEE is from The Ohio State University and a Masters of Electrical Engineering from University of Southern California. He worked in generation and transmission for over 30 years for different sized utilities, participated and held leadership roles in various research groups and reliability organizations. His first blog post, Myths and Realities of Renewable Energy, addresses the implications and costs of renewable energy programs to reduce carbon emissions. He notes that:

Unfortunately many non-experts, driven by fear of AGW, have done much to cloud, distort and ignore critical issues around the cost and capabilities of renewable energy and the realities relating to the provision of electrical power. This is harmful because even if carbon reductions justify any level of power system costs; we are better served knowing at least generally the range of those costs.   If however, a balancing between costs and emission reductions is required – it is crucial that we understand the true costs and challenges imposed by renewable energy. To provoke discussion this post offers some preliminary thoughts, observations and personal opinions.

Please read the entire post.

I have provided the links to both series here. I call your attention to one of those posts because of its importance. In the post New York GHG Emissions and Energy Trends I document the 1990 emissions and trends since then. It is very important that you understand how New York uses energy and emits GHG so you can understand how REV purports to meet the 80 by 50 goal.

In addition to those posts the following posts are intended to provide additional background information:

Contents REV Inconvenient Truths