The shock waves emanating from Con Edison’s moratorium on new natural gas customers that took effect for most of Westchester County on March 15 are continuing to be felt.
This week, as the county’s only business membership organization focusing on economic development and advocacy, the Business Council of Westchester’s Natural Gas Moratorium Taskforce met to get an update on the moratorium situation that is now spreading to Long Island and parts of New York City.
The issue, which poses a threat to the county and the region’s economy, stems from the lack of pipeline capacity to bring more natural gas to the Metro New York area. The state has not approved any new pipelines for more than five years, leaving Con Edison with no ability to meet the growing demand for natural gas being spurred by major new development projects planned for downtown areas including Yonkers, New Rochelle and White Plains and numerous other projects across lower Westchester.
The taskforce heard a presentation by BCW member Richard Ellenbogen of Pelham, an engineer with extensive experience in alternative energy sources. His presentation focused on the practical limitations on how much energy can be provided through solar, geothermal and other non-carbon sources. The taskforce is reviewing his conclusions as part of a broad-based approach to assessing how sufficient energy supplies can be assured to meet the increased demand and maintain a healthy economy.
On May 10th the BCW has scheduled a major conference – Running on Empty? Transitioning to a New Energy Landscape – bringing together private, government and public sector leaders in the forefront of the energy spectrum. The session will delve into the growing natural gas shortage and other issues tied to providing energy now and into the future. The forum will be from 9 a.m. to 12 noon at the Crowne Plaza in White Plains.