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Riverkeeper Study: Indian Point Can Be Replaced

OSSINING, N.Y. – Riverkeeper and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) say a study released Friday provides a road map to New York State's energy future without Indian Point nuclear power plants.

The Indian Point license renewal hearings begin Monday, Oct. 15.

“It simply makes no sense to keep operating 40-year-old reactors that are vulnerable to fire, earthquake, outside attack and a host of other potential disasters," said Robert Kennedy Jr., Riverkeeper's chief prosecuting attorney and senior attorney at NRDC.

The report, "Indian Point Replacement Analysis – A Clean Energy Roadmap," was prepared by Synapse Energy Economics Inc., and makes recommendations to replace the nuclear plants' roughly 2,000 megawatts of generation capacity. According to the study, the measures add 1 percent to energy bills in 2022, or about $1 per month for the average residential consumer.

Some recommendations made by the report include establishing financing for 5,000 megawatts of offshore wind projects, and extension of the New York Sun initiative, which encourages businesses and citizens to install solar panels, with a goal of installing 2,200 megawatts of solar power statewide. The report notes that the Hudson Transmission Project could come online as soon as 2013, and provide 660 megawatts of energy.  

Energy efficiency goals would also increase, recommendations say, speeding up implementation and boosting enforcement of energy efficiency building codes.

The pro-Indian Point advocacy group, of which Entergy is a member, the New York Affordable Reliable Electricity Alliance (NY AREA) reacted to the study by saying none of the measures would be available by the time Indian Point Unit 2 and 3's licenses expire, in 2013 and 2015 respectively.

"You continue to get these reports that just add up to piles of paper, that don't outline where the power's going to come from; it becomes like a fiction, and 'Alice in Wonderland,'" said chairman Arthur "Jerry" Kremer.

The report found that New York would maintain a surplus of energy through 2020, even if Indian Point retired. This is at odds with both New York State Independent System Operators and the New York State Energy Planning Board's (NYSERB) findings that reliability issues would be of concern beginning in 2016 should Indian Point Unit 2 and 3 retire at the end of their licenses in 2013 and 2015 without adequate market-based replacement options.

Nevertheless, the state is taking seriously the reactors' possible retirement, including the scenario in grid planning reports.  

NYSERB noted in its report, "New York State Transmission and Distribution System Reliability and Study Report," that when Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Energy Highway Task Force issued a request for information, it received responses from "85 private developers, investor-owned utilities, financial firms and other entities with 130 ideas to upgrade and revitalize the state's aging infrastructure, totaling more than 25,000 megawatts. Among those responses, over 11,000 megawatts of new generation, dedicated transmission, and other upgrades could be applied toward a replacement for Indian Point."

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