Renewables, Efficiency Could Easily Replace Indian Point's Nuclear Power: Report

As Indian Point nuclear power plant, shockingly close to New York City, up the Hudson River, comes up for relicensing after 40 years of operation next week, NRDC and Riverkeeper have released analysis showing, as past have, that the 2 gigawatts of power that the aging plant provides simply isn't needed in the future.

The study, done by Synapse Energy Economics, shows that New York can easily get by without Indian Point as: The area already has a surplus of electricity capacity, leaving aside Indian Point, expected to last through 2020; a new transmission line under construction will bring in power equal to one quarter of Indian Point's capacity will come online in 2013; provided the right policy support is given, energy efficiency, wind power, and solar power could easily provide similar power as nuclear; and, implementing all of this would increase the cost of electricity for consumers only slightly, roughly $1 per month by 2022.

As far as those policy measures required to replace Indian Point's power with cleaner, renewable alternatives (without any risk of catastrophic radioactive failure endangering one of the largest cities in the nation, where there would be no possibility of evacuation...), the report recommends the following:

  • Updating the state’s energy efficiency goals to capture all cost-effective efficiency opportunities in order to achieve a minimum electricity savings of 1.5 percent per year.
  • Faster implementation and stronger enforcement of the state’s energy efficiency building code for new and renovated buildings.
  • Expanding the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard to ensure that renewable energy provides 30 percent of energy statewide by 2016, and increasing that goal by 1 percent each year thereafter.
  • Extending the New York Sun initiative legislatively to run for 10 years with the goal of installing 2,200 MW of solar projects in New York State.
  • Establishing a goal of achieving 5,000 MW of offshore wind projects in waters off or near New York state, and backing it up with siting and long-term financing support for offshore wind.

Read more: Indian Point Replacement Analysis: A Clean Energy Roadmap