NEI urges New York PSC to pass zero emission credits ‘without delay’

As might be expected, the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) is urging the New York Public Service Commission to adopt “without delay” a July 8 staff proposal that would recognize “zero emission credits” from nuclear units.

The state PSC is looking at such credits as one of the provisions that could help New York attain its goal of getting 50% of its power from carbon-free emissions by 2030.

NEI said in its July 21 comments to the PSC that the plan would allow the facilities to keep operating in the face of economic headwinds brought on by low natural gas prices and other mechanisms that are placing them at risk of premature closure.

NEI said the zero-emission credit mechanism proposed by the staff is a notable improvement over an earlier draft. The plan would produce a price signal—based on U.S. Interagency Working Group projections of the “social cost of carbon”—that will allow nuclear plant owners to make long-term investment decisions on the continued operation of their facilities.

Immediately after the proposal’s release, Exelon (NYSE:EXC) Constellation Energy Nuclear Group said it would invest $200m to keep its R.E. Ginna and Nine Mile Point nuclear plants operating in Upstate New York.

In addition, Entergy (NYSE:ETR) said it had entered discussions to sell its FitzPatrick nuclear plant to Exelon, which if successful could result in its continued operation past its announced January 2017 premature shutdown date.

The two companies have publicly announced that they are in negotiations, which could be completed in August.

“The Staff Proposal provides $4 billion in net benefits to consumers in the first two years of the program,” NEI said in its written comments.

“Moreover, by enacting the CES and related policies to maintain existing nuclear energy facilities, the DPS can avoid imposing additional costs on consumers for replacement electric generation, transmission capability, expansion of natural gas pipelines and other infrastructure that would be necessary to replace lost electricity from the state’s nuclear plants,” NEI said.

The comments were submitted on the nuclear trade group’s behalf by NEI Vice President Revis James and NEI Senior Director/Business Policy Matthew Crozat. The comments involve New York PSC Case No. 15-E-0302.


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