By William Opalka
The chairman of the New York State Senate energy committee called on the Public Service Commission Wednesday to immediately implement the nuclear subsidy in the proposed Clean Energy Standard before the entire proposal is finalized.
The move came a day after Exelon said it would close its 620-MW Nine Mile Point Unit 1 nuclear facility early next year if the state doesn’t complete regulations and have a signed contract with the generator by the end of September. (See Exelon Threatens to Close Nine Mile Point 1.)
“There is one thing everyone agrees on, and that’s the pressing need to make sure that our nuclear fleet does not retire prematurely due to current economic conditions in the energy sector,” said Republican Joseph Griffo, chairman of the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee.
The “Tier 3” of the CES is a special payment for nuclear generating stations that credits them for zero carbon emissions. Other tiers of the CES create incentives for wind, solar and other renewable resources.
“There are many opinions about how best to go forward with the broader Clean Energy Standard and, in particular, how to do so in the most cost-effective way for consumers,” Griffo said. “We need to slow down and evaluate the full CES more carefully in order to reach our goals while protecting ratepayers.”
The PSC on Thursday reiterated that the CES would be completed this summer. (See Stakeholders Debate New York Clean Energy Standard.)
“The department fully understands the difficulties facing the upstate nuclear fleet, which is why we have been working for the past six months to create a plan that will ensure the future viability of these emission-free resources and continue New York’s progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” it said in a statement.
Griffo was joined in his statement by several state legislators from districts that include or are near to the upstate nuclear fleet on Lake Ontario. The other plants are Exelon’s Nine Mile Point Unit 2 and R.E. Ginna station near Rochester and Entergy’s James A. FitzPatrick plant. Entergy has said it will close FitzPatrick, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo has excluded its Indian Point facility near New York City from eligibility for the CES.
Separately, the Oswego County Industrial Development Agency issued its own statement advocating quick action.
“Nine Mile Point 1, and the thousands of families and jobs it supports, as well as the surrounding community, and our state, needs regulators to implement the CES as soon as possible. We are very close to the finish line in this regulatory process, and the news that the plant could shut down without the CES is a reminder that the state’s economic and environmental future is now at stake,” CEO L. Michael Treadwell said.