Audrey Zibelman and the New York policy on renewable energy

Aubrey Zibelman came from New York where she was the Chair of the Public Service Commission that presided over the regulation and safety of the electricity, gas, telephone, cable and water system and set consumer rates for electricity. She came to Australia in 2017 to head up the Energy Market Operator (AEMO) to guide our transition to green energy. Leaving New York she said moving toward a system that reduced carbon emissions did not necessarily mean higher costs. “It actually means lower prices if we do it right,” as reported in a revealing story about the New York electricity system.

Recently at a conference at the University of NSW she repeated the mantra “we can have it all” – cheap power, a reliable grid and greatly reduced CO2 emissions – provided that we do it right. Unfortunately doing it right for Ms Zibelman does not mean holding off on solar and wind until the storage problem is handled.

What could Ms Zibelman learn about the problems of a green transition in Australia based on her experience in New York? As the New York story explains the citizens of the state could theoretically draw all their power from natural gas (half their power at present) local nuclear facilities (one third), local hydro (20%) and out of state sources for the remainder.

When you turn on a light or charge your phone, the electricity coming from the outlet may well have traveled hundreds of miles across the power grid that blankets most of North America — the world’s largest machine, and one of its most eccentric.
Your household power may have been generated by Niagara Falls, or by a natural-gas-fired plant on a barge floating off the Brooklyn shore. But the kilowatt-hour produced down the block probably costs more than the one produced at the Canadian border.

The Australian situation is radically different. No nuclear power, nothing like 20% hydro and no connections to any provider outside. It is amazing that New York would want to go seriously renewable but that is the plan, to increase from 25% RE at present to 50% by 2030, dispensing with one of the nuclear facilities and the two remaining coal-fired power stations.

Despite Ms Zibelman’s optimism about the price of going green, just the announcement of the impending shuttering of the coal stations sent the market slightly crazy.

New York’s plan to put the state’s last coal-fired power plants out of business hasn’t even been approved yet and electricity is already trading like they’re shut.

The price of power in 2021 in New York City and other regions surged more than 30 percent beginning in May. The only major difference between then and now: a pending state rule to limit power-plant emissions that was designed to eliminate coal-burning power plants by the end of 2020.

States that are taking more aggressive steps to curb climate change should pay attention to this early reaction. Governor Andrew Cuomo has set a target of getting half of New York’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030, and this is the first time a state has targeted coal by using its regulatory authority to limit carbon emissions. While the plan wouldn’t kick in until 2021, it’s already affecting power markets and shows that these efforts may come with a cost.

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33 Responses to Audrey Zibelman and the New York policy on renewable energy

  1. Beachcomber

    This article in Quillette is a clear, coherent explanation of why so-called ‘renewable’ energy is actually bad for the environment. It’s summed up in few words in this interview.

    The renewables dogma is Green Marxist vandalism; an assault on our living standards. For what they have done to our energy system, Ms Zibelman and her fellow travellers in the establishment ruling class should be taken to the city square and publicly flogged.

  2. RobK

    These renewable schemes are doing a lot of harm to a system that worked quite well. Much squandered effort for nil return and rising costs. Futile.

  3. Miltonf

    She’s a lawyer so of course she knows all about electrical engineering

  4. Bad Samaritan

    RobK (3.59am) The dilemma is whether to make a motza out of the stupidity and delusions of crowds or else to fight the good fight and make no dough at all. The same choice as going along with the latest health fads and supplying whatever the wokesters want to waste their money on, or else not supplying it.

    Example; the hot trend is currently the fermented tea drink Kombucha. A mate produces then sells it at hippy markets. For this he makes a lot in easy profit…but, from Wiki “A 2003 systematic review characterized kombucha as an “extreme example” of an unconventional remedy because of the disparity between implausible, wide-ranging health claims and the potential risks of the product.[9] It concluded that the proposed, unsubstantiated therapeutic claims did not outweigh known risks, and that kombucha should not be recommended for therapeutic use, being in a class of “remedies that only seem to benefit those who sell them.”

    This is the exact same as renewables. Is it my job to educate the idiots, or to exploit them? Why should I miss out on the gravy train?

    And BTW; I will not be around to experience the total societal collapse being brought upon us, and gave up trying to alter the future long ago. Burn baby burn!

  5. Elizabeth (Lizzie) Beare

    The only hope is that soon enough Millenials and the generation after will wake up to the perils of being ‘woke’. They will be the unlucky generations, those who have to fight the economic survival wars to reclaim something back from the debris left behind by those promoting the paths we are taking today.

    Now that’s a depressing thought for the start of a brand new day. I’m going back to bed for a while.

  6. Mark M

    “It is amazing that New York would want to go seriously renewable but that is the plan, to increase from 25% RE at present to 50% by 2030,”

    Why would you bother when the Green New Deal ‘science’ says the world will end in 12 years irrespective of what is done?

  7. The only hope is that soon enough Millenials and the generation after will wake up to the perils of being ‘woke’.

    Once the blackouts start affecting their ability to access social media, their ability to get a soy latte, the cost of holidays skyrockets etc; the realisation that they have been had will hit home very hard indeed. But by then the old, white, Greens will be long retired.

  8. Bruce of Newcastle

    Last year the New York/New England market area ran out of gas and had to buy an emergency shipment from Russia. This is while the US has sanctions on Russian gas – they had to find a way around their own sanctions just to keep the lights on.

    Here in Australia it is finally sinking in that we have a looming gas shortage.

    Australia’s competition watchdog warns high gas prices threaten manufacturers (5 Mar)

    MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Australia’s gas prices are so high they could force the imminent shutdown of some manufacturing on the east coast, the nation’s competition watchdog said on Tuesday, urging gas producers to step up output and offer reasonable prices.

    The warning comes three years after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission first flagged prices were rising amid uncertainty over domestic gas supply, due to the start-up of liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports from the eastern state of Queensland, cuts in exploration spending and drilling bans.

    “Many Australian manufacturers are under extreme pressure to remain internationally competitive,” Australian Competition and Consumer Commission Chairman Rod Sims told a gas conference in Sydney.

    “The high cost of gas, and the high cost of electricity, is making it extremely hard for these businesses and poses an imminent threat.”

    So having screwed up north eastern US energy she is now helping to screw up the entire AEMO market area. All for global warming which isn’t happening in the real world.

  9. sfw

    Here in Victoria, just got my bill for Feb, 28 days, gas cooking, evaporative cooling, electric hot water, one fridge. Two adults, two teenagers. Hot weather so cooler run most days.
    Total $574.01
    Pay on time reduced to $342.49 (not really a discount a late payment fee)

    I’m seriously considering going off grid and getting a diesel generator.
    When are our fxxxxxg stupid politicians going to see that ordinary people are reducing their standard of living to afford electricity?

  10. JohnL

    Why do we import these halfwit experts from the USA (e.g. professor Joe Syracusa etc.)? Why don’t we import the real experts from Venezuela (or Cuba)? That way we would be able to destroy this country much sooner!

  11. yarpos

    sfw: without any context of house scale/location/efficiency actions you have already taken, thats just a number. It may be good , in may be bad who knows? $12 a day for unlimited electricity piped to your door and maintained by others to support a comfortable 1st world life doesnt sound too horendous really. About the cost of a take away lunch.

    In the article Zibelman sounds like the classic socialist rationaliser. We just need to get it right this time. Does she ever show examples where anyone “has got it right”? i.e. high renewable% and low consumer costs?

  12. sfw


    You must be more affluent than me, I find the $12 a day quite expensive on top of all the other bills. I guess that’s your way of telling me to eat cake.
    Even the stinking ABC agrees that power prices have increased by a huge margin. I don’t know how much more cheap renewable energy the average person can afford

  13. bollux

    Australia is full of Green dopes starting with Malcolm Morrison, so it begs the question, why do we import them? I am now thoroughly convinced that Malcolm Morrison and co. are actively working against the best interests of real Australians. Damn them all to hell.

  14. RobK

    Domestic solar PV causes higher and fluctuating local grid voltage. There is a product that addresses some of this problem. An extra cost for those who can afford it (I’m not making a recommendation, as such). It’s a case of “pull-up-the-ladder-jack, I’m all-right”.

  15. yackman

    re sfw: The fully off-grid option as often proposed is not simple and to provide adequate capacity to supply say 50 amps at peak requires a large generator with heating elements for winter in rural areas and requires appropriate fuel storage. by the time civil works are carried out and compliance requirements it would not be hard to spend $20,000. Inland peak requirement for cooling is 2 pm to say 8 pm and solar does not assist much after 5 pm. When I have costed solar for a ground location for safety, efficiency and maintenance, capital cost is excessive. I use a 7.5 kVa petrol generator for emergency supply for the house pump from the water tanks etc and it is VERY noisy.
    For those of us on LPG for heating etc the price rises have been similar.

  16. Confused Old Misfit

    It really is depressing.
    We import people with stupid ideas from the US and overpay them to initiate policies and practices that demonstrable failures and will cost billions.
    We ignore the economic/policy examples being proved in/by the US which we could replicate here at little cost.

  17. teamv


    I believe the Grattan Institute costing was 20k for a 95% reliable off grid system and 50k for a 99% reliable offgrid system

  18. Bruce of Newcastle

    I just turned on the tele.
    Immediately there’s an ad on Ten for home generators to protect against blackouts.
    To give you peace of mind, says the talking head.
    I don’t know whether to be horrified or entertained that someone has seen a business opportunity.

  19. Confused Old Misfit

    I don’t know whether to be horrified or entertained that someone has seen a business opportunity.

    The two need not be mutually exclusive.

  20. Dr Fred Lenin

    Nothing will be done to stop this foolishness untill voters start to punish politicians at the polls threatening their lucrative careers ,the climate scam will dropped like a hot potato, the renewable carpetbaggers can only employe a certain number of politicians who retired to spend more time with their families . The others desparately need to stay in politics they couldn t get a job anywhere else and there is a surplus of suburban conveyancing lawtradespersons and union thugs . Vite every sitting member last on your ballot paper .put the wind up the greedy bastards ,mmake them worried ,nothing like a lot of fear to make them concentrate on the voter not themselves ,fear makes things work ,look at the .05 fear.

  21. Destroyer D69

    Dr Fred Lenin.. We have what is arguably the most important election in Australian history looming on the horizon. We should all take time to critically read the current version of the Electoral Act to be properly informed as to what is in FACT a FORMAL vote. Sec 239″Marking of votes in Senate election”, Sec 268″Informal ballot papers” 268A”formal votes below the line” and Sec 269″Formal votes above the line” A critical study of these leads me to the conclusion that irrespective of what is printed on the ballot paper it is a VALID vote in the senate if there is either.. A minimum of two squares marked ABOVE the line or a minimum of six squares BELOW the line with in the case of correct marking both above and below the line the markings BELOW the line have precedence. Do your own reading and come to your own conclusion.

  22. Percy Popinjay

    Ms Zibelman and her fellow travellers in the establishment ruling class should be taken to the city square and publicly flogged.

    And then hanged.


  23. Roger

    Australia’s competition watchdog warns high gas prices threaten manufacturers (5 Mar)

    For the Prog Green Left that’s not a bug, it’s a feature.

  24. sfw

    Thanks Yackman, saved me some homework

  25. JB of Sydney/Shanghai

    In my local Bunnings, in Sydney, last week.

    No one could accuse Bunnings of of stocking expensive equipment which would not sell quickly

    A surprisingly large selection of generators on display, both petrol and diesel.

    No one in Chinese cities is considering such a purchase, I think.

  26. Dr Fred Lenin

    Perch .what about my guillotines? 100 per cent success rate ,never fail .

  27. Dr Fred Lenin

    Sorry Percy ioads and fingers often disagree.

  28. Perth Trader

    Renewable energy from the sun and wind is a great idea . It could be used to power Cities , Towns and dwellings , if only it worked.

  29. John Stankevicius

    Check Dan Britt on climate. Evidence from rocks, trees show the was1700 ppm of co2 in the atmosphere before India slammed into China. The resultant mountain range sucked all of the cO2 out of the atmosphere.
    At present we are living through a cold period of climate and sun spot activity will increase – this will warn the planet.
    Also the earths osciallation.
    CO2 increased whenMao died and China began the process of crawling out of poverty. The cO 2 emissions went through the roof.
    This will increase temperature and earth will return to its long term trend where there are no glaciers.
    Please check this out , I’m a dummy and have not un.derstood it fully but Mr Britt does a good job threading it all through.
    Also the power of technology, a Serbian Mathematician calculated it would take home 20 years working 30 hrs per week to clac the effect of the earth oscillation on climate- it will take you 2 weeks using excell.

  30. DaveR

    After dumping Turnbull, Morrison has failed to do a reset on Turnbull’s far left-Liberal policies. The UN Paris Agreement is still embedded in the energy policy mix and drives the outrageous renewable subsidies. Morrison should have removed Zibelman on day 1, making a statement that someone with such Marxist-Socialist politics has no place at the head of AEMO.

  31. EvilElvis

    until the storage problem is handled.

    I stopped reading, right at this concession. Storage ‘problem’? There will always be a storage problem with wind and solar! They can’t produce or store energy required for industry! Industry that creates jobs! The debate needs to go deeper than keeping the lights on or a coffee machine going or charging your bloody iPhone.

  32. oldmiseryguts:
    Your Gravatar – is that a Suzuki GT380?

  33. Nob

    JB of Sydney/Shanghai
    #2952654, posted on March 7, 2019 at 3:41 pm
    In my local Bunnings, in Sydney, last week.

    A surprisingly large selection of generators on display, both petrol and diesel.

    Can’t see any data online that indicates purchase or hire of gennies has increased significantly, but I seem to be seeing more and more.

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