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HomeOuter LoopReport Shows Cost-Effective Energy After Westchester's Indian Point Shuts Down

Report Shows Cost-Effective Energy After Westchester’s Indian Point Shuts Down

Ever since Governor Cuomo announced the state’s new deal to close the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant after 2021, supporters of the plant, the media, and many others have been asking key questions about replacing the power. Will it actually be possible? What will the costs be for consumers? What if it cannot be replaced adequately? (See our previous coverage.)

Now a major new report commissioned by the independent nonprofit Riverkeeper and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has answered those questions in detail.

Bottom line: The report shows that New York can definitely provide a cost-effective transition from the nuclear power generated at Indian Point to clean, safe energy without any risk to reliable electric service, and it can be done without a net increase in carbon pollution. An important caveat is that this transition depends on ” the right policies on the books and smart execution of those policies.”

According to the report, scaling up renewable energy under New York State’s already adopted “50% by 2030” Clean Energy Standard (CES) and adopting policies to increase energy efficiency investments in the state’s buildings, are crucial for success.

The  lower cost of wind and solar power and many of the clean energy projects started by the Governor in recent years are enabling factors for success.

The report updates a 2013 study, also by Synapse Energy Economics, Inc., and provides a detailed analysis of six possible scenarios over the 2016-2030 time period, looking at projected electricity demand, future transmission systems upgrades, and expectations about power plants exiting or entering the market in the coming years.

The modeling demonstrates that once Indian Point closes, electric service will be reliable in all scenarios. (NRDC explains how to maintain grid reliability in the future with renewables here.)

Will consumers get bigger utility bills? Not according to the report which finds that the  costs for consumers will be “minimal.”  Also the report notes that as New York increases investments in energy efficiency improvements, the costs can go even lower.

On carbon emissions, the report says New York can meet its ambitious climate goals even after Indian Point closes if it  implements: 1) offshore wind power projects; 2) the Clean Energy Standard’s renewable program of 50% renewables by 2030; and 3) a much more robust energy efficiency portfolio in the near-term.

The nine-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) also would have an important role in limiting power sector carbon pollution after Indian Point is closed. The Governor has proposed stricter caps on carbon emissions from power plants as part of the RGGI initiative.




Joyce Newman
Joyce Newman
Joyce H. Newman is an Emmy Award-winning environmental journalist, educator, and gardener. She holds a Certificate in Horticulture from The New York Botanical Garden, and is a tour guide there.


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March 8, 2017 11:03 AM
Reply to  Joyce Newman

Just because the report says it you believe that 1000%? That seems niave to say the least and the report is definately 100% skewed towards supporting the plants closure, its anything but independent.

Svetlana Wasserman
Svetlana Wasserman
March 7, 2017 7:11 PM

I am so proud that NY is taking the lead in changing to renewable forms of energy and this report is an important guide in showing us how it can be done. I am so tired of Astorino trying to justify keeping open a plant whose spent fuel rods are already leaking radioactive content into our groundwater.

March 7, 2017 2:24 PM

What a load of ______ and I’m not talking about electricity. NY does NOT have the electricity needed to replace Indian Point. Perhaps in a few years the extension cord to Canada will be live, but that’s only 1/2 of what IP generates so either we the ratepayers will have to purchase much more expensive electricity from neighboring states (if they have any to sell) or we’re going have rolling blackouts during the summer time.

It sounds nice to tell people we’re closing Indian Point, but Cuomo should have a plan in place and not try to tell us efficiencies will solve the problem because they won’t which brings us back to rolling blackouts.

Marilyn Elie
March 8, 2017 3:26 AM
Reply to  bill

The reactors are closing because they can’t make enough money selling the electricity they generate. That is what the CEO of Entergy reported. The NYSIO runs the grid, not Cuomo, they reported that there would not be a problem when Indian Point closes. They are the electricity professionals. We have a surplus of electricity and nuclear power plants cannot compete.

The NYS Department of State, Bureau of Ocean Management refused a certificate the plant needed to operate because of the damage the reactors do the Hudson River and because there was ample replacement power. The NYDEC refused them a discharge permit because of the damage to the fish population and the excessive amount of water the plant uses. Entergy did not want to put in closed cycle cooling in order to get the permit because they deemed it too expensive since demand is projected to fall at about 2% a year, maybe more, and gas and wind are so much cheaper and roof top solar keeps taking the summer peak down.

THERE ARE PLANS IN PLACE TO REPLACE iNDIAN POINT and the above article describes them – if you choose to read them and not deny reality. You can of course continue to hold your breath, shut your eyes tight and continue to wish for the rolling blackouts that will never come due to a lack of electricity. Maybe because of Con Ed’s lousy maintenance, but lack of electricity – no way.

March 8, 2017 10:56 AM
Reply to  Marilyn Elie

I have read the report and 1 of the main replacement plans is conservation, not actually replacing the generating capacity that Indian Point has. Conservation as in everyone using less and that’s not happening anytime soon so that leads me to believe rolling blackouts can’t be far behind. And yes our ConEd Bills are going to go up as a result.

You should try asking questions and not just accepting what the government tells you to be true. And if the plant is losing money because cheaper alternatives are out there, why would NY pay to close it? It’ll end up closing on it own so I think that’s not entirely true. As I said, the winner in all this can only be Entergy as the ratepayer will get screwed again.

But this is NY so I expect that.

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