New York assessment ponders early Indian Point retirement

Problems with reliability and resource adequacy could occur in 2016 if Entergy (NYSE: ETR) should be forced to retire its two-unit Indian Point nuclear complex, according to a draft of a report from the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO).

That’s one of the highlights of the NYISO’s Aug. 21 draft of its 2012 Reliability Needs Assessment (RNA). NYISO updates the RNA every two years.

Entergy is already engaged in a prolonged battle for a 20-year license extension for both Indian Point Units 2 and 3.

Unit 2’s current operating license is scheduled to expire in late 2013 while Unit 3 is scheduled to expire in late 2015.

Indian Point is located next to the Hudson River, only 40 miles outside of New York City. License renewal faces opposition from not only anti-nuclear groups but Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

“The Indian Point Plant has two base-load units (2,060 MW) located in Zone H in Southeastern New York, an area of the State that is subject to transmission constraints that limit transfers in that area,” the NYISO said in the draft. “Southeastern New York, with the Indian Point Plant in service, currently relies on transfers to augment existing capacity, and load growth or loss of generation capacity in this area would aggravate those transfer limits,” the report goes on to note.

Furthermore, as reported in the 2010 RNA, under stress conditions the voltage performance on the system without the Indian point plant would be degraded, NYISO said.

The NYISO  also said regional reliability could be strained by much of the coal-fired capacity serving the state by year-end 2015. The document also rehashes the litany of U.S. EPA and state regulations affecting power generators.

Draft report notes plant retirements, additions

“Currently New York’s standards for permitting new generating facilities are among the most stringent in the nation. The combination of tighter environmental standards, coupled with competitive markets administered by the NYISO since 1999, has resulted in the retirement of older plants equaling approximately 4,000 MW of capacity, and the addition of over 9,300 MW of new efficient generating capacity,” according to the draft assessment.

The New York Department of Environmental Conservation has finalized its policy document “Best Technology Available (BTA) for Cooling Water Intake Structures.” The policy applies to plants with design intake capacity greater than 20 million gallons/day and prescribes reductions in fish mortality,” according to the draft assessment. “The proposed policy establishes performance goals for new and existing cooling water intake structures. The performance goals call for the use of wet, closed-cycle cooling systems at existing generating facilities. The policy provides some limited relief for plants with historical capacity factors less than 15%.”

The report indicates that although summer peak demand showed a rare dip in 2010, it is expected to continue to increase through 2022.

The document indicates that NRG Energy’s (NYSE: NRG) Astoria repowering project is now projected to go into service in June 2014, although an NRG spokesperson put the target date in the 2015-to-2016 timeframe.

A number of proposed generating units, such as Competitive Power Ventures (CPV)’s planned 675-MW Valley combined-cycle power plant are not included in the assessment’s 2012 base case.

The five year base case was developed in accordance with NYISO procedures using projections for the installation and retirement of generation resources and transmission facilities that were developed in conjunction with market participants and transmission owners.

The base case model includes all existing generation facilities that did not file their intention to retire or mothball with the New Your State Public Service Commission prior to April 15, 2012. Several existing generation resources, totaling 1,792 MW, did submit a notice prior to April 15, according to the draft report.


About Wayne Barber 4201 Articles
Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at