About Zachary Matson

Zachary Matson has been an environmental reporter for the Explorer since October 2021. He is focused on the many issues impacting water and the people, plants and wildlife that rely on it in the Adirondack Park. Zach worked at daily newspapers in Missouri, Arizona and New York for nearly a decade, most recently working as the education reporter for six years at the Daily Gazette in Schenectady.

Reader Interactions


  1. Jim says

    10,000 gigawatt-hours of electricity each year is 1 with 13 zeros Watts
    10,000,000,000,000 Watts / 8760 hours per year = 1,141,552,511 Watts per hour =
    1,141 Mega Watts per hour, the industry standard for measuring electrical power.

    The line from Châteauguay, Quebec to Marcy NY carries 3,000 Mega Watts
    per hour, this line is owned by the New York Power Authority.

    The peak load in NY is about 33,000 Mega Watts, the NY limit of production
    and import is about 36,000.

    Thus, in the summer on a hot sticky August week when NYC air-conditioning
    is roaring the potential for a blackout is at its peak. The loss of generation
    or line can cause events to happen that cannot be stopped. That is how the
    last blackout occurred.

    The average cost of a Mega Watt is as low as $2 at Niagara but can spike up
    to $50 for an area like NYC at peak demand.

    On average $10 is a safe number to use, 8760 hours per year x $10 x 1000MW
    (The 1,141MW theoretical) will yield about $88 million dollars in revenue.

    $4,000,000,000 / $88,000,000 = 45 years with no interest costs calculated in
    to pay off the capital expense.

    The only way to make this work is to drastically increase the cost to consumer.

    • Boreas says

      “The only way to make this work is to drastically increase the cost to consumer.”

      This was a given. And the actual “consumers” demanding the cable won’t be the only ones paying for it.

      Shifting away from fossil fuel will indeed be expensive. Perhaps more important is actual REDUCTION in power usage. Cheap electricity over the decades has allowed users to become very wasteful. 50 years ago, a 60 amp service panel in a typical house was fairly common. Now, 200 amp is the norm. Many people do not even know how much energy each of their devices use.

      And where is the push for more efficient appliances?? This push is quite anemic. Many households that are in communities with artificially inexpensive power ($0.03 – 0.06 kW/h!!) use the cheapest and least efficient methods of baseboard heating. Heated pools, steam showers, etc., would be very expensive outside of those isolated pockets of extremely low energy costs. Political borders should not control energy costs when others are forced to pay the difference! To be fair, we should ALL be under the same constraints of energy use and conservation.

      Modern heat pump options – both geothermal and atmospheric – need to be refined and tuned to northern climates. While it may still be necessary for secondary auxiliary heat for these cold locations, at least the total energy use will be moderated and reduced over a calendar year – especially with the increase in A/C use over the warmer, more humid summers.

      If we don’t get hold of our consumption, should we be relying on foreign, environmentally questionable hydro power – that can be shut off with a simple cyber attack? If NYC continues its wasteful use, what will happen if this power source is suddenly switched off for any reason? We need to balance our quest for cheap energy with thoughtful and efficient energy USE. This necessary part of the solution is not getting enough press.

    • Adirondackfarmer says

      The environmental impact statement completely ignores the large sludge beds containing methyl mercury that are many feet deep where the lake shallows near Fort Ticonderoga at the exit from the Ticonderoga Creek, now renamed with the pompous name Lachute. These originated from the old International Paper mill that was located right in the center of the village. The NY Attorney General sued IP in the late 60s, early 70s over the massive mercury pollution in the creek and above ground sludge beds but nothing was done about the lake pollution. The solution then was to cover up the above ground sludge beds with fill, and donate the land to the town. The town utilized the land to build a Little League park and girl’s softball field on top. This history can all be found with a simple web search, and don’t forget to search for Lake Champlain mercury sludge beds. I don’t know how the consulting firms and NY agencies involved in approving this power project could have ignored the mercury beds in researching the environmental and health impacts. If the mercury is stirred up, there are several public water systems on both sides of the Lake plus private farms that use Lake Champlain for drinking water. The public cost to remedy mercury in the drinking water could be massive. And there is the fishing tournament industry that brings in millions. Why has no one thought of these problems? Various NY and Vt agencies already have had long term warnings about mercury in Lake Champlain fish. The warnings are readily available in a Google search. The official solution, I fear, will be to emerge even further north above ground and cause further disruption of our beautiful Adirondack landscape.

      This project was seized by former Gov. Cuomo as a quick fix to bringng green energy into NY. In his last state of the state speech he promoted this instead of promoting solar and wind that cost more and had to be privately funded by homeowners and land owners. tt made up 80% of his goal of green energy. The first route for this project was through the center part of the state, overland with transmission lines through hundreds of miles of private propery. The landowners there fought it off for years and the project was switched to Lake Champlain. You can find the history of the fight in central NY in the full report at NYSERDA.

  2. upstater says

    The fact that Blackstone is financing this high-priced toll road is an example of the state capture by corporations at the expense of the public.

    New York Power Authority is the largest state owned generation and transmission company in the US. It built the Niagara and St. Lawrence hydro plants, Gilboa pump-storage and 1400 miles of high voltage transmission. Obviously NYPA has the technical and managerial expertise for such a project. If NYPA built the line, it certainly would be cheaper for the public.

    State government has sold out the public interest to the highest bidder… and to their campaign contributors. It does this under the guise of carbon emissions. The goal is to enrich their cronies.

    I agree that conservation provides the best solution. The cheapest KWH is the one you don’t burn.

    • Boreas says

      “And where is the push for more efficient appliances??” My quote from above.

      Being as old as I am, I have been witness to the generational ebb and flow of automobile size and efficiency. Every energy “scare” prompted smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles and fuel usage typically declined – only to rebound in the extreme a decade later. The last time was around the turn of this century – even with the additional knowledge of CO2 emissions. Vehicles trimmed their sheet metal, their weight, and their consumption. But since then, who has been behind the explosion in the AWD, SUV, and light truck market in the US? Not only the market, but the size and weight of the vehicles as well. This was not a world-wide phenomenon. This was relaxing US government fuel standards for the auto industry (lobbied for by Big Oil and signed by their appointed politicians) combined with stupid consumer preference. Anyone tried to buy a new, fuel-efficient sedan lately? US-built sedans are essentially extinct.

      What does this have to do with electrical energy? Energy is energy. Either type of energy is now a commodity, controlled by large corporations that write their own rules, own the politicians, and are too big to fail.

      The anemic push to improve the efficiency of a refrigerator for instance is immediately countered with – you guessed it – BIGGER REFRIGERATORS!! My friend recently bough a “modern” fridge that is about the same size as my dorm room in college. Sure, it may have a “good”(?) Energy Star rating, but that doesn’t make it Energy Smart if it still uses the same or even more energy than the previous model heading for the landfill (don’t get me started on “recycling”…). If the US could only get a handle on its extreme energy WASTE, we would go a long way toward solving many of our problems.

    • AdirondackAl says

      Refrigerator’s…”Today’s monster 25 cubic foot Energy Star side-by-side refrigerator only uses around 60 kWh of electricity per month. In comparison, a 1996 15 cubic foot frost-free refrigerator consumed almost three times that amount of power at 150 kWh per month.”

      • Boreas says

        Indeed, this IS a selling point for some of those “monsters”! BIGGER IS BETTER – just like cars. But is a 25 cf fridge using a lower 60 kWh necessary if a 15 or 20 cf unit using even less energy (over its measly 10 year life) would do? And the energy to build a new/larger fridge in China, ship it to the US, and to “recycle” parts of the old one (hopefully) needs to be considered. What can’t be recycled – most plastics – goes to a landfill – somewhere. Of course, now the fridge won’t match the rest of the appliances, so they need to be “upgraded” as well. Cue China again. It is all part of driving the disposable world economy, which wastes energy and creates emissions overseas where they are manufactured and on our shores where with any materials land-filled here. Don’t drink the Kool-ade. It isn’t all about Energy Star ratings. We need to think more responsibly. We all need to purchase appliances occasionally – just don’t buy “more” than you need.

        • Adirondack Al says

          No Kool Aid here. I was just correcting the rationale for concluding “My friend recently bough a “modern” fridge that is about the same size as my dorm room in college. Sure, it may have a “good”(?) Energy Star rating, but that doesn’t make it Energy Smart if it still uses the same or even more energy than the previous model heading for the landfill (don’t get me started on “recycling”…).” Indeed, from a life cycle energy perspective, in most instances it is best to use an appliance until it dies, then purchase the most energy efficient, electric appliance available.

  3. Tom Paine says

    What a joke. Don’t allow any energy projects to be built within NYS, then go outside the country to purchase energy and then construct a transmission line to blue NYC. The height of green hypocrisy.

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