The state Public Service Commission (PSC) is seeking public comment on whether Iberdrola S.A. should acquire Energy East, the parent company of New York State Electric & Gas (NYSEG) and Rochester Gas & Electric Corporation (RG&E).
Iberdrola is the owner of the proposed Jordanville wind farm.
Perhaps the best argument against Iberdrola’s acquisition of NYSEG is the PSC’s traditional reluctance to allow a single company to own both the means of generation (Jordanville) and transmission of electricity.
The reason, of course, is fear of monopoly control.
Several years ago, Niagara Mohawk was acquired by National Grid, a foreign-owned and -based corporation. If Iberdrola should acquire NYSEG, much of New York State’s transmission capacity will be owned by foreign interests.
Yet, at the same time, Iberdrola and other foreign corporations have become major players in the production of wind-derived electricity in New York State.
Significant foreign ownership of both generating and transmission capacity raises the question as to what degree the interests of these corporations correspond to the interests of New York consumers. We should also ask to what degree their interests can be responsive to long-term state energy policy.
Comment already received – from public agencies, private corporations and public interest groups – is largely not favorable, but it is divided as to whether the proposal will encourage or discourage wind-energy development.
The PSC itself states “it would discourage wind-energy investments unless the PSC bars the companies from owning generating plants in New York.”
So why is Iberdrola seeking ownership of Energy East? Isn’t it engaged in a futile pursuit by seeking monopolistic control of both generating and transmission capacity?
Maybe Iberdrola has more friends than we suppose. Could that be why they’re going after the whole pie?
29 February 2008
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