How will New York replace Indian Point?
One of New York’s biggest energy debates became even bigger when Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a deal this year to close the Indian Point nuclear power plant: How will the state generate enough replacement power for the downstate region?
Some officials question whether it can be done – or whether the facility’s 2,000 megawatts of generation can be replaced cheaply and cleanly. Others say there are plenty of alternatives – especially since the plant won’t fully close until April 2021. Here are a few of the options.
CHAMPLAIN HUDSON POWER EXPRESS
Transmission Developers Inc.’s pipeline would deliver Canadian hydroelectric power to the downstate region, with an expected completion date in 2021.
Megawatts: Up to 1,000
Pros: The project would be online by the time Indian Point fully shuts down.
Cons: Critics say it will face siting challenges. Other power plants would not be able to connect to the line, which they say benefits an international competitor at the expense of in-state producers.
The state Clean Energy Standard could spur solar and wind power. The Long Island Power Authority just approved a 90-megawatt offshore wind project, and the Cuomo administration hopes it is the first of many.
Pros: Renewables are cleaner.
Cons: The Clean Energy Standard target is 2030. The wind farm off Long Island would not be operational until 2022.
EFFICIENCY AND UPGRADES
Riverkeeper and the Natural Resources Defense Council issued a report arguing the state could increase grid efficiency and use renewable energy sources to replace Indian Point. The Cuomo administration said transmission upgrades in the works will also offset lost capacity.
Pros: Avoiding new generation is better for the environment.
Cons: Critics say efficiency expectations are unrealistic.
NEW POWER PLANTS
Competitive Power Ventures has started construction on its 680-megawatt natural gas CPV Valley Energy Center in Wawayanda. Advanced Power has secured financing for its 1,100-megawatt natural gas-fired Cricket Valley Energy Center in Dover, New York.
Pros: Both projects are underway. Natural gas is a relatively clean fuel source.
Cons: Renewable energy is cleaner than fossil fuels.
Defunct power plants could be repowered or existing ones expanded, such as a natural gas repowering of the old Lovett coal power plant in Stony Point or NRG’s facility in Astoria, Queens.
Pros: The sites are already developed for power plants.
Cons: It can take time to get permits and approvals. Renewables are cleaner.