New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has become the politicians other politicians love to love, and he came on stage in the wake of a glowing introduction from Harry Reid, greeted by enormous applause.
Most of Bloomberg’s speech covered familiar ground, bashing federal politicians for inaction on clean energy, lamenting how far behind America has fallen, and boasting about PlaNYC, his city’s ambitious green agenda.
The one new announcement had to do with NYC’s issuance of a formal expression of interest for firms with experience in small- to mid-sized renewable energy generation. Bloomberg says he doesn’t know what it will end up looking like — could be tidal power on the Hudson, small wind turbines on buildings, solar PV on buildings, or ocean energy off the coast — but that NYC is committed not only to using less energy but to generating its own. He wants NYC to become "the No. 1 city in the world" for green energy, and for America to become the No. 1 country in the world.
The other recurring theme — not new for Bloomberg but much more vehement this time than the last time I saw him — was the need for new transmission. The kind of NIMBYism and short-sightedness that stand in the way of cross-country high-voltage transmission lines drive Bloomberg nuts. The CEO in him wants to cut through all the red tape.
I suspect much of the Bloomberg worship, at least from other politicians, has to do with mayor envy. To Harry Reid, it must look like Bloomberg has almost unfettered power to make things happen, without congressional protocols or an opposition party (Bloomberg’s an Independent) to hold him back. Hizzoner reportedly flirted with a presidential run this year. From what I’ve seen, if the voting public was composed of business and political elites, he’d win in a landslide.