New York PSC seeks contingency plan for Indian Point retirement

The New York Public Service Commission has officially asked Consolidated Edison and the New York Power Authority (NYPA) for a contingency plan should the Indian Point nuclear complex, owned by Entergy (NYSE: ETR) be retired.

The state PSC announced the move Nov. 27 as part of the work on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s much-publicized “Energy Highway Blueprint.” In addition to taking actions designed to ease electric transmission congestion and connecting to down-state power plants, planning for “possible major power plant retirements” is also vital, the PSC said in a news release.

 “Therefore, the Commission commenced a proceeding today to develop a contingency plan in the event of a closing of Indian Point, two nuclear power plants located in Westchester County, approximately 30 miles north of Manhattan,” according to the PSC release.

The contingency plan isn’t entirely a surprise. Cuomo and a number of New York lawmakers have expressed public misgivings about continuing to have Indian Point Units 2 and 3 located so close to the city.

At the same time, the Indian Point units account for up to 30% of New York City’s electric supply and reports gauging the impact of their retirement have become something of a cottage industry in recent times. The Manhattan Institute has criticized its potential closure. The New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) has suggested that resource adequacy plans could occur in 2016 if the nuclear units are retired.

Unit 2’s current operating license is scheduled to expire in late 2013 while Unit 3 is scheduled to expire in late 2015. The Indian Point facilities are involved in a long and contentious license renewal case before the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

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 wayneb@pennwell.com.