The Fukushima disaster in Japan has certainly put a renewed spotlight on nuclear power plants in general, and–in particular–on the two plants in our own backyard at Indian Point Energy Center.
Regardless of where you stand on nuclear power or Indian Point specifically, everyone can agree on these two points about the nuclear plants in Buchanan, New York: (1) Indian Point provides a significant slice for the metropolitan New York area’s growing electricity needs; (2) We do not have a thorough analysis of how we would replace Indian Point’s base load of energy if–for any reason–it ceases to operate.
So what are we waiting for? Let’s ask Governor Cuomo to charter such a study immediately:
Whereas, several options exist that, collectively and in conjunction with other actions, could replace the need for Indian Point’s electric generation capacity,
Now therefore be it resolved that __insert your city/town/village here__ hereby request the following of the Governor of the State of New York:
That the Governor initiates a study immediately by an independent professional agency or commission to examine concrete steps to replace the electricity currently generated at the Indian Point Energy Center, including, but not limited to, suggestions such as the following:
1. Support for the Champlain Hudson Power Express high voltage transmission line being developed now to bring 1,000 megawatts to the region from Canada; and
2. Support for the Cross Hudson Line high voltage transmission line being developed now to bring 660 megawatts from New Jersey to New York City; and
3. Support for the installation of 300 to 600 megawatt gas-fired combined cycle power plants at the site of the former Lovett Power Station in Tompkins Cove in the Town of Stony Point, a site already equipped with a natural gas supply and power station infrastructure; and
4. Support for simplifying access to state and utility incentives for energy efficiency and renewable energy installations in order to counter or reduce the annual electricity load growth in the New York City metropolitan region.
5. Support for new public policies that would accelerate private market participation in ramping up energy efficiency and renewable energy through state-wide adoption of policies, which are already being deployed in other states, such as Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) to empower consumers in aggregating their electricity supplier choices, Private Efficiency Portfolio Standards (PEPS) to create a private sector incentive for increasing efficiency, and Feed-in Tariffs (FIT) to improve long term revenue and grid access for reliable renewable energy installations both large and small.
And be it further resolved that the Governor stipulate that such a study be delivered within twelve months or sooner after being commissioned.
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Finally, I have two points to underscore:
1. Communications from NYISO’s CEO and President Stephen Whitley on Indian Point have NOT been that Indian Point cannot be closed. The message HAS been that we COULD close it, IF we plan properly. Hence call for that study and plan in the resolution above.
2. The recession has bought us an extra couple of years (through to 2016) to actually do the things we ought to be doing: CCA, PEPS, FIT, Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing, MicroGrids deployment–all these should feed open information about consumption to consumers to affect behavior change to go along with efficiency upgrades.
We can do a lot in the next 12 months. Let's get started!