Here’s the New York City-commissioned report leaked to the New York Times yesterday that warns of potential pollution problems and higher energy costs if the Westchester County-based Indian Point nuclear plant were to close in 2016, when its permits would official expire.
The 105-page report from the Charles River Associates prepared for the New York City Department of Environmental Protection lays out various scenarios if Indian Point closed.
It states, “IPEC’s retirement will exert measurable net economic and environmental costs” and warns that New York City residents would be paying higher energy costs as a result.
The city refused today to release the report, saying it’s only a draft, but it was obtained by Gannett’s Albany Bureau.
“The report will not take a position on whether or not to re-license Indian Point,” said Farrell Sklerov, spokesman for NYC Department of Environmental Protection. “Rather it will lay out some of the tough trade-offs that any comprehensive energy planning process will have to address by focusing on what the effects of a closure would be in terms of cost to consumers, the system’s reliability and the impact on our environment.”
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Gov. Andrew Cuomo appear to be on different sides of the issue. Bloomberg has questioned how New York City and its suburbs would be able to meet its energy needs if Indian Point closed. Cuomo wants it closed and is seeking alternative energy sources by the time Indian Point’s last license expires in 2015.
Bloomberg said last week that, “If you closed Indian Point down today, we’d have enormous blackouts. There is no alternative to the energy we get from Indian Point. Four of five years from now, that’s probably not going to be true.”
Senate Energy Committee Chairman George Maziarz, R-Newfane, Niagara County, also questioned whether Indian Point could close under Cuomo’s timeframe.
“It would be a disaster for the energy markets, particularly the downstate energy market,” Maziarz said.
But the report in some points backs up Cuomo’s stance that Indian Point could be taken offline in a few years.
For example, it states that based on energy load standards this year, the demand could be sustained until 2020 if Indian Point was closed in 2016. Also, the report doesn’t take into account other energy efficiency steps and upgrades to other power-generating facilities between now and then.
Lastly, the projected increase in energy costs for consumers may be overstated. It states that consumers would pay approximately $300 million per year more for wholesale energy, or a 5 percent to 10 percent increase. But that’s only for the wholesale cost of the energy, which is about half a consumer’s energy bill. So a person’s total bill would go up as much as five percent.