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Replacing Indian Point – An Update

Last year, we wrote about New York State’s plans for replacing the 2,000 megawatts of electricity provided by Indian Point. As of March 2018, Indian Point is still slated to close in April of 2021. The New York State Independent System Operator (NYISO) will reassess the plant’s retirement plan later this year and will continue reassessing this plan regularly to ensure that the state’s electricity needs are met. At the time of the initial closure announcement, the replacement plan leaned heavily on increasing transmission capacity to New York City, particularly via the proposed Champlain Hudson Power Express. However, there were still some gaps between downstate’s power requirements and the total power available without Indian Point.

Indian Point Image

In December 2017, NYISO released an Indian Point retirement assessment report and concluded that downstate’s power requirements will be met, providing that three proposed power plant projects in New York and New Jersey are completed on time. The CPV Valley Energy Center will be a 680 MW natural gas-fueled combined cycle plant in Wawayanda, NY, opening later this year. The Cricket Valley Energy Center will be a 1,100 MW natural gas-fueled power plant in Dover, NY, and is slated to begin power generation in 2020. An additional 120 MW of capacity will be added in Bayonne, NJ. As of the end of 2017, NYISO has determined that all three of these projects must come online by 2021 in order for the Indian Point shutdown to go through.

All three of these power plants rely on fossil fuels, hindering New York City’s 80×50 goals. Amplifying concerns about the plan’s environmental impact, natural gas extracted by fracking the Marcellus Shale will likely provide some of the gas supply to these plants. In early 2018, Governor Cuomo introduced two proposals aimed at reducing the state’s dependence on fossil fuels. Proposal 9 calls for the state’s public pension fund, New York Common Fund, to divest from fossil fuel and to avoid future investments in entities with significant fossil fuel activities. Proposal 20 sketches out New York’s Clean Energy Jobs and Climate Change Agenda, and involves:

  1. Expanding regional GHG initiatives and reducing emissions equitably from the highest polluting, high demand “peaker” power plants;
  2. Issue solicitations in 2018 and 2019 to develop at least 800 MW of offshore wind projects;
  3. Investment into energy storage – target 1,500 MW by 2025;
  4. Create the ‘Zero Cost Solar for All’ Program;
  5. Reconvene the Scientific Advisory Committee on Climate Change;
  6. Establish an Energy Efficiency Target by Earth Day 2018; and
  7. Adopt Regulations to close all Coal Plants.

At the end of 2017, Governor Cuomo signed into law Assembly Bill A6571, which establishes the Energy Storage Deployment Program. This program will be spearheaded by NYSERDA and is tasked with meeting the energy storage obligation in Proposal 20.

In addition to the measures included in Proposals 9 and 20, the state is still anticipating 3,000 MW of solar PV to come online by 2023 under the NY-SUN initiative, 2,400 MW of off-shore wind power to be available by 2030, and increased transmission capabilities bringing 1,000 MW of hydropower from Quebec to NYC with HVDC cables by 2022. While these measures will not be complete in time to replace Indian Point, they are environmentally-friendly solutions that will bring us closer to 80×50.

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By Maria Rode, Mechanical Engineer

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