New York PSC orders detailed enviro review of Indian Point options

The New York State Public Service Commission on May 21 issued an order that said a general environmental impact statement will be written to cover the options being looked at for possible replacement of the 2,040-MW Indian Point nuclear plant.

Indian Point, controlled by Entergy (NYSE: ETR), has been delayed in getting license extensions from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for its two units. The commission, as it looks at back-up options, told the New York Power Authority to issue a request for proposals to generating and transmission projects needed in case Indian Point gets lost. Offers from various parties for new power supplies have come in, including an offer from Entergy for 1,375 MW from Indian Point, with Entergy saying don’t count Indian Point as dead yet.

The commission has focused on the possibility that the Indian Point Energy Center (IPEC) may not be available to generate electricity at the end of 2015. Commission staff prepared an Environmental Assessment Form (EAF) describing the potential impacts of the action.

“After considering the EAF, we conclude that the action may have a significant adverse impact on the environment,” said the May 21 order. So it ordered the generic environmental impact statement (GEIS) to be prepared.

“On November 30, 2012, we instituted a proceeding to review generation retirement contingency plans and sought a Reliability Contingency Plan addressing the electric reliability impacts that could occur if IPEC was no longer available to generate electricity upon the expiration of its existing licenses at the end of 2015,” the order said. “We directed Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc. (Con Edison), in consultation with the New York Power Authority (NYPA), Department of Public Service Staff (DPS Staff), and other appropriate agencies, to develop the IPEC Reliability Contingency Plan. The conceptual plan presented to us on February 1, 2013, envisages resolving the reliability impacts with a combination of new generation and transmission resources and a demand response program targeted at demand in New York City. NYPA has recently undertaken a procurement process to identify resources that will meet that goal. We have directed DPS Staff to evaluate the projects that are submitted for review in connection with that procurement, and to recommend projects for inclusion in the final plan.”

The commission expects that the proponents of the plan (Consolidated Edison and NYPA) are likely to seek approval for implementation of some or all of the plan’s elements, including development activities related to one or more generation or transmission projects. “However, our approval of the plan does not include specific approval for the construction or operation of any facilities that may be identified as part of the final plan,” the commission noted. “Each facility, if constructed, will be subject to project-specific environmental review requirements under Article VII or Article 10 of the Public Service Law, or pursuant to [State Environmental Quality Review Act] SEQRA. Rather, the action we contemplate here is the approval of a final plan that may induce subsequent activities that are likely to have an adverse impact on the environment. Thus, SEQR requires that we assess those potential impacts.”

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.