Seeks Leverage on Indian Point
By William Opalka
Entergy said Wednesday that New York’s proposed incentives for three of the state’s four nuclear sites is too little, too late to save the James A. FitzPatrick plant. The company’s stance appears calculated to provide leverage for its Indian Point plant, which was excluded from the state’s plan.
Staff of the New York Public Service Commission on Monday released a clean energy standard proposal that includes incentives for the state’s upstate nuclear fleet to remain a zero-emissions “bridge” until large-scale renewable generation is in place. Gov. Andrew Cuomo wants the PSC to adopt the CES by June. (See New York Would Require Nuclear Power Mandate, Subsidy.)
“We have advocated for a clean energy standard in New York for several years. Unfortunately, whatever this program may turn out to be, it would not be in place in time to change the outcome for FitzPatrick,” the statement said.
The company in November said it would close the 838-MW plant near Syracuse in early 2017 due to low energy prices and repeated that stance a month later when Cuomo’s offer of incentives became known. (See Entergy Rebuffs Cuomo Offer; FitzPatrick Closing Unchanged.)
“We do not know when the support might become effective, how much it might be, what terms and conditions would apply to receiving support or many other important details. And it appears that those details will not be addressed until later this year, at the earliest. Under these circumstances, we remain focused on safely operating FitzPatrick through the end of its current operating cycle, then safely decommissioning the plant,” the statement continued.
Entergy is advocating the CES be applied to its Indian Point plant in the Hudson Valley, a facility Cuomo has vowed to close due to its proximity to New York City.
“If the state is focused on reducing CO2 emissions, the clean energy standard should apply to Indian Point, which is an essential generation resource critical to the state’s goal of reducing CO2 emissions,” it said.
Exelon, the owner of New York’s other two nuclear plants, was more receptive to the CES plan.
“Our initial impression is that the proposed mechanism to support the continued operation of upstate nuclear facilities as a ‘bridge’ to a low-carbon future could provide a meaningful path to sustain these facilities, which are vital to achieving New York’s clean air objectives,” Exelon said.
The company’s R.E. Ginna plant outside Rochester is likely to close in early 2017 when its ratepayer-subsidized reliability support services agreement expires. Its Nine Mile Point plant, adjacent to FitzPatrick, is also under financial stress.
“The implementation timeline is reasonable. We need to be certain that the mechanism provides the ability to maintain the safety and reliability of these facilities as the primary consideration. The economics of the proposal will be a critical determiner of its success, and we look forward to working with the governor, the PSC and other stakeholders to learn more,” Exelon said.