Local power plant battling lawmakers and environmentalists to stay open

By: Joe Mauceri |

Most of us here in New York City see the name Con Edison when we look at our electricity bills. But what you might not realize is that Con Ed gets much of the electricity it supplies from the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant located less than 30 miles outside the city.

Right now the plant is in the middle of an ongoing legal battle with Governor Cuomo and two environmental groups as it tries to secure a new 20-year permit for its nuclear reactors. But according to a new report, if those permits are not approved, and Indian Point is forced to close, there may not be enough electricity to power the city.

About 20 million people live within 50 miles of the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant, a huge concern for lawmakers and environmentalists who want it shut down before a there’s a major accident or natural disaster.

So while Entergy, the company that owns the plant, waits on a federal decision to renew permits for its nuclear reactors for the next 20 years, it’s also fighting court battles against opponents.

But a new report from the New York Independent System Operator says if the licenses are not renewed at Indian Point, “This would result in immediate transmission security and resource adequacy criteria violations unless sufficient replacement resources are in place prior to retirement.”

Which means, without another power source, closing Indian Point means you probably won’t be able to power your air conditioner to fight the sweltering summer heat or any other home appliance for that matter.

The state has already told utility companies like Con Ed to come up with a contingency plan in case that happens.

Those companies say filling the shortfall would cost more than $800 million, a cost that would be passed down to customers.

That’s why the New York Affordable Reliable Electricity Alliance is calling on policymakers to review the report.

“There are major challenges to system reliability pertaining to economic trends, technology advances, and public policy priorities. This includes the potential closure of Indian Point, which provides 11 percent of the state’s electricity,” Jerry Kremer of New York Affordable Reliable Electricity Alliance said.

Representatives for New York AREA say Indian Point is still undergoing regular inspection by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and calls it one of the safest plants in the country.

But for some lawmakers having a nuclear reactor so close to so many people is just too dangerous

Now the first permit for Indian Point is set to expire in September, but the plant won’t be forced to stop operating. That’s because they actually applied for permit renewal more than five years ago, so the law allows the plant to remain open until the NRC makes a decision.

That decision is still likely more than a year away.

Local power plant battling lawmakers and environmentalists to stay open