Physicist to Discuss Need for Major Power Lines Projects

i Oct 10th Comments Off by

HUDSON VALLEY—Two presentations by an independent research physicist will showcase his findings that existing power lines can meet our region’s peak electricity-demand needs well into the future. The presentations are being hosted by members of the Hudson Valley Smart Energy Coalition. The coalition is a broad-based coalition of community groups and officials partnered with Scenic Hudson that is working to protect Hudson Valley communities from potential negative impacts of towering high-voltage power lines and to promote innovative energy systems that don’t damage community assets. The state’s Public Service Commission (PSC) is seeking to expand 150 miles of transmission lines that would pass through 7 counties and 25 towns in the Hudson Valley, ultimately reaching their destination in Dutchess County.

The first presentation will be held Saturday, Oct. 18, from 1 – 3 p.m. at the Churchtown Fire House in Claverack, Columbia County. The second session will be Saturday, Nov. 1, from 2 – 4 p.m. in the Bertelsmann Campus Center Multipurpose Room at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, Dutchess County.

The presentations will be by Bard College Research Professor of Environmental Science and Physics Gidon Eshel, Ph.D., a physicist with expertise in data analysis and efficiency metrics. Dr. Eshel did not take on the research project as part of a university, agency or even for the Hudson Valley Smart Energy Coalition but as an independent researcher. His property could be impacted by the proposed power lines, and he was motivated as a credentialed, professional researcher to prepare a scientific analysis of the consumer-demand issue. Dr. Eshel is not a member of the Hudson Valley Smart Energy Coalition. Members of the coalition will be in attendance and able to provide information about the proposed high-voltage power lines and how citizens can be involved in the regulatory review process being managed by the state PSC.

Wide participation sought for presentations

All interested parties are invited to attend to learn about the only independent model to date created to assess electricity-demand need before potentially locking ratepayers into a long-term obligation. Among the attendees sought are state and local representatives, municipal officials, members of the state PSC and New York Independent System Operator, ratepayers concerned with implications of a $1-billion project, and citizens concerned with potential impacts to scenic, historic, farming and general economic assets of the region.

“Dr. Eshel’s analysis is a game changer. These two countywide presentations—in Churchtown on October 18 and at Bard College on November 1—are a must for anyone living in, and concerned about, the Hudson River Valley,” said Pam Kline of Farmers and Families for Livingston.

Ian Solomon, with Farmers and Families for Claverack, said, “We in Claverack are looking forward to seeing Dr. Eshel’s presentation. Before entering into a potentially billion-dollar project, we as ratepayers and communities deserve a hard look at whether it’s necessary. We are fortunate to have such an accomplished scientist willing to take on a study such as this, and it will be good to let people know the issue hasn’t gone away, but has perhaps become even more urgent.”

Town of Milan Town Board Member Marion Mathison stated, “Dr. Eshel and the coalition seek scientific review and discussion with the PSC, NYISO, state energy officials, FERC and any and all responsible agencies and scientists. The time to discuss and debate need is now.”