Replacing Indian Point with Low-Carbon Power
NEW YORK – The Indian Point nuclear power plant is slated to close by 2021, and a recent report says that electricity can be replaced with clean energy. The report, from the Natural Resources Defense Council and Riverkeeper, says the power can be replaced by a combination of increased energy efficiency, wind and solar, and transmission-system upgrades.
According to Jackson Morris, director of eastern energy at the NRDC, New York state's Clean Energy Standard, calling for 50 percent renewable energy by 2030, is critical to achieving that goal.
"We have the strong policy we need already on the books," he said. "And so it's just going to require really smart implementation, making sure we get the wind and solar and offshore wind onto the system at the pace necessary."
The report, called "Clean Energy for New York," describes how the power can be replaced with little additional cost without adding carbon pollution or risking reliability.
But while the state has strong policies for generating clean energy, Morris says meeting the goals will require more planning and action to increase efficiency in homes and businesses.
"Putting in more efficient appliances, putting more efficient refrigeration units into bodegas, double-paned window, insulation, lighting is a key component of energy efficiency."
He notes that aggressively improving energy efficiency alone potentially could replace Indian Point's electricity generation by 2023.
Time is running short. The first Indian Point reactor is scheduled to go offline in just three years, and the other a year after that. But Morris believes the state is prepared.
"This is not a cold start," he added. "We've been doing warm up laps for years, and with the right policies in place and the implementation of those, we can do it."
The report estimates that implementing the Indian Point retirement plan would add less than one percent to wholesale electric-system costs.