Physicist to Discuss Need for Major Power Lines Projects

i Oct 28th Comments Off by


Nov. 1 – Bard College event to follow big turnout at Columbia County venue

HUDSON VALLEY—Following rave reviews—from the public and press—at a recent presentation in Columbia County, an independent research physicist will come to Dutchess County to showcase his findings that existing power lines can meet our region’s peak electricity-demand needs well into the future. The presentation will be hosted by members of the Hudson Valley Smart Energy Coalition, a broad-based collaboration of community groups and officials partnered with Scenic Hudson in working to protect Hudson Valley communities from potential negative impacts of new high-voltage power lines. The coalition is interested in 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 upcoming presentation will be held Saturday, Nov. 1, from 2 – 4 p.m. in the Bertelsmann Campus Center Multipurpose Room at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson.

The presentation will be by Bard College Research Professor of Environmental Science and Physics Gidon Eshel, Ph.D., a geophysicist 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. While 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 PSC.

Wide participation sought for presentation

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.

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.”

“The Energy Highway threatens the beauty and farmland of the Hudson Valley with towering new transmission lines,” said Scenic Hudson President Ned Sullivan. “Governor Cuomo has launched another initiative to reform New York’s power grid through innovation and conservation. Gidon Eshel’s compelling presentation demonstrates new transmission lines are not needed. As a result we can immediately begin the transition to a 21st century energy system, putting New York on the national vanguard and saving the beauty and economy of the Hudson Valley.”

“Dr. Eshel’s analysis is a game changer. This countywide presentation at Bard College on November 1 is 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, “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.”

About the Hudson Valley Smart Energy Coalition

The Hudson Valley Smart Energy Coalition includes municipal officials; environmental, historic and land preservation organizations; businesses; and residents who oppose outdated power lines and support creation of a modern, comprehensive energy plan for the Hudson Valley and New York State. See this page for additional information and directions.