Indian Point Closure Raises Environmental Concerns
“In light of news regarding the closure of Indian Point over the next few years, we must ensure that any replacement power does not further burden already suffering communities,” said state Senator Michael Gianaris in a January 9 press release. “Western Queens already produces a majority of the electricity for the New York metropolitan area, and has the high asthma and emphysema rates to prove it,” he said.
Council Member Costa Constantinides, in a January 10 Facebook post concurred, saying, “As over 50% of the city’s power is generated in Western Queens, the closure must not increase the burden on existing fuel-fired power plants in our city.”
The Indian Point Energy Center, located about 25 miles north in the Westchester village of Buchanan and operated by Entergy for the past 15 years, produces more than 2,000 megawatts of electricity, about 20% of New York City area usage.
“The priorities shift now to making sure any additional energy doesn’t replace Indian Point with greenhouse gases,” said Richard Freudenberg, Vice-President for Energy and Environment at the Regional Plan Association. “We need to make sure whatever needs to be replaced at Indian Point is replaced with clean energy,” said Freudenberg in a January 9, 2017 PoliticoNewYork report.
Constantinides agreed, noting closing Indian Point should encourage New York to continue to develop clean energy sources. “As we phase out the power of nuclear generation in our region, we must also phase out the use of Numbers 4 and 6 fuel oils in power plants throughout our state. These types of dirty fuel oils produce carbon emissions that negatively impact our public health,” he said.
“This administration has been aggressively pursuing and incentivizing the development of clean, reliable energy, and the state is fully prepared to replace the power generated by the (Indian Point) plant at a negligible cost to ratepayers,” said Governor Cuomo in his State of the State address.
Governor Cuomo plans to absorb Indian Point’s 2,000 megawatts of power and replace it without any increase in greenhouse gas emissions through transmission upgrades and efficiency measures that account for 700 megawatts and about 1,000 megawatts of hydropower providing the rest.
Two natural gas plants are also expected to come online in the next few years – the 650-megawatt CPV Valley plant in Orange County and the 1,000-megawatt Cricket Valley plant in Dutchess County.
“Make no mistake, I will vigorously fight any efforts to build new power plants in already saturated communities,” said Gianaris.