The nuclear power plant known as Indian Point Energy Center (IPEC) is slated for closure Friday, fulfilling Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s multi-year plan to shutter the aging facility. IPEC is a 2,000-megawatt nuclear power plant located 24 miles north of New York City and presents numerous safety threats to the people of NYC and the environment.
“Since my time as Attorney General, I have been deeply concerned with the safety of the Indian Point nuclear power facility. It does not belong on the Hudson River and in close proximity to the most densely populated area in the country,” Cuomo said. “After years of relentless work together with federal, state, and local officials, we found a path to safely and responsibly close Indian Point, ending the threat the plant has long-posed to an area that is vitally important to our state, the nation, and the world. This is a victory for the health and safety of New Yorkers, and moves us a big step closer to reaching our aggressive clean energy goals.”
But closing IPEC could create new problems for the state’s power grid that will have to resort to more natural gas plants, which emit pollution until the state’s renewable energy comes online. The nuclear power plant produces about a quarter of NYC’s energy.
State officials told NYTimes the closing of IPEC “will be a step in the wrong direction, but say that it will be made up by a leap forward in clean energy sources, like wind and solar.”
Tom Congdon, the chairman of Cuomo’s Indian Point Task Force, said, “once the large-scale renewable and offshore wind farms are complete, more than half of New York’s electricity will come from renewable sources, putting the state ahead of schedule toward reaching its goal of 70 percent renewable energy by 2030.”
However, those megaprojects will take years to construct and means the city will soon be sourcing more power from gas-burning plants. Expect a bump in natural gas demand after the IPEC is closed.
The closure of the plant ahead of the summer season when energy demand rises due to millions in the metro area lowering their thermostats could spark blackouts on peak demand days. NYPost warned:
In reality, the final shutdown of Indian Point is yet another milestone in the governor’s ongoing assault on the state’s energy infrastructure. He has refused to allow new gas pipelines to be built that would allow residents to enjoy the benefits of low-cost natural gas.
Yet that new pipeline capacity will be sorely needed now: to deliver additional natural-gas supplies to the power plants needed to replace the roughly 16 trillion kilowatt-hours of electricity that Indian Point generated every year.
That’s a lot of natural gas. Without it, Gotham is facing blackouts during the sweltering days of summer, especially on hazy, windless days.
Cuomo’s clean energy push is merely virtue signaling, and today’s IPEC closure will force even more significant amounts of fossil fuel generation for NYC even though the governor promotes renewable energy. Who knows when those green projects come online. As for now, the city and state are moving in the wrong direction.