Last month New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced the retirement of the aging Indian Point Nuclear Energy Center (IPEC) by April 2021. Now, a new report released by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Riverkeeper presents six scenarios to the state on how to replace energy produced at the facility. The report found that increasing energy efficiency, improving transmission infrastructure and increasing the development of renewable energy sources can cost-effectively replace the 2,000 megawatts produced by IPEC.
“Recent transmission improvements–coupled with energy efficiency gains, cheaper renewables and lower demand estimates–show that New York is already on its way to a reliable, affordable, clean energy future. This report shows that when Indian Point closes in 2021 that power can be replaced entirely with clean sources as long as we take advantage of the additional renewable energy and efficiency options available to us,” said Paul Gallay, president of Riverkeeper.
One scenario in the report, Clean Energy for New York: Replacement Energy and Capacity Resources for the Indian Point Energy Center Under New York Clean Energy Standard, found that aggressive increases in energy efficiency alone could meet the state’s Clean Energy Standard (CES) requirements by 2023. More importantly, going beyond those levels could result in efficiency gains that double IPEC’s total energy output by 2030.
The recently increased requirements under the CES will require major development of utility-scale renewable energy sources like solar, wind and hydropower, the report found. Yet, the transition to clean energy sources to replace IPEC’s generation is expected to minimally effect customers’ average residential bill by adding less than 1 percent to wholesale costs of electricity.
“The report is a comprehensive update of an October 2012 analysis looking at the same replacement options but this one incorporates the many market and policy trends that have arisen over the past four years—including the plummeting costs of wind and solar power, transmission upgrades, along with a marked expansion of energy efficiency and local, distributed generation like rooftop solar,” explained Bob Fagan of Synapse Energy.
The state has already added large amounts of utility-scale and rooftop solar cost-effectively. Since 2011, the Empire state has increased its solar capacity by nearly 800 percent between 2011 and the end of 2016. In 2011 the state had only 83.6 megawatts installed. By the end of 2016 it had 744 megawatts installed across 64,926 projects with an additional 886 megawatts in development.Tweet