Entergy Says Economics Behind Indian Point Closure

TARRYTOWN, N.Y. -- Indian Point is simply not economically viable to keep open.

Bill Mohl, president of Entergy, at a press conference on Monday in Tarrytown.

Bill Mohl, president of Entergy, at a press conference on Monday in Tarrytown.

Photo Credit: Sam Barron
Cortlandt Supervisor Linda Puglisi listens as Entergy announces plans to close Indian Point at a press conference.

Cortlandt Supervisor Linda Puglisi listens as Entergy announces plans to close Indian Point at a press conference.

Photo Credit: Sam Barron

That was the reason given by Entergy, which owns the Buchanan-based power plant, when it officially confirmed plans to close the nuclear power plant in 2020-2021 at a press conference in Tarrytown Monday afternoon.

Unit 2 will shut down by April 30, 2020, and Unit 3 will shut down by April 30, 2021.

The closures come after Entergy reached a settlement agreement with New York State.

As part of the shutdown agreement, the state has agreed to drop all legal challenges against the plant.

Bill Mohl, president of Entergy Wholesale Commodities said the company has spent more than $200 million and 10 years on a license renewal for Indian Point. The facility still has not had its license renewed. 

Power prices have fallen 45 percent, reducing revenues by $160 million, Mohl said due to the abundance of natural gas in the Marcellus Shale region. 

"This is a real industry challenge," Mohl said. "Up to this point, Indian Point has been a profitable unit, but all good things must come to an end. The plant is no longer economically viable. The decision was ours and ours alone due to economics. We cannot afford to take that kind of hit to revenue."

Mohl said the simple cost of running a nuclear power plant has been more expensive than expected, especially after the plant found issues with hundreds of missing baffle bolts. Mohl said it was a tough day for employees at Indian Point. 

"I am proud of them and I thank them," Mohl said. "I want you to know we are committed to making every investment required until the facility comes offline.

Mohl said they have made a commitment to employees that if they have not found a job and are willing to relocate, then they would try to provide them with jobs at other power plants.

As part of an agreement made with the state, Entergy will provide $15 million to community stakeholders. Mold said it was up to the state to determine how to replace the energy. 

Cortlandt Supervisor Linda Puglisi confronted Mold at the press conference, upset that she found out about the plant's closure from the New York Times.

"Whenever a nut or bolt or screw falls on the ground, I get a phone call, even at 2 in the morning," Puglisi said. "We have sat in good faith with you and your company for two PILOTs (Payments In Lieu Of Taxes). "

Puglisi said she was given an hour notice for Monday's press conference and wondered why it was held in Tarrytown (at the Double Tree Hotel) and Cortlandt.

"It's extremely disappointing there has not been any transparency on these negotiations by you or the governor," Puglisi. "They are the biggest taxpayer in our town."

Indian Point closing will impact 2,000 jobs. The Village of Buchanan receives 46 percent of its revenue from the power plant while the Hendrick Hudson School District gets 33 percent of its budget funded from the power plant.

Puglisi called for a Blue Ribbon Commission to address issues with the closure of the plant. The supervisor said the commission should include state, county, and local officials along with key stakeholders. A similar commission was established when General Motors closed its Sleepy Hollow plant.

Mohl did not respond to any of Puglisi's concerns at the press conference. She refused to shake his hand when he approached her after the press conference ended.

Entergy said Securities and Exchange Commission regulations prevented them from keeping Puglisi in the loop of ongoing negotiations. 

"We wish we could have informed our employees and stakeholders like Linda about this news before unidentified sources leaked it to the media, but no formal deal had been reached," Entergy spokesman Jerry Nappi said.

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