Local officials in Ulster, Dutchess, Orange and Westchester counties, and NYC have come out with the same claim in response to the proposed closing of Indian Point — each official claims that Indian Point produces 25% of the electricity for their area. They are all very concerned about replacement power. They’ve been duped but they need not worry. The electricity from Indian Point has already been replaced.

First, some simple math. Entergy makes 2,060 MW of electricity at Indian Point. According to Con Ed, our peak winter load for NYC and Westchester is 9,000 MW and jumps to 13,000 MW in the summer. Entergy can’t produce a quarter of either of those figures, even if all its electricity went into our grid — which it doesn’t.

Entergy sells 560 MW to Con Ed and bids 1,500 MW into the summer Mid-Hudson Capacity market, which serves five counties. In the winter, the New York Times and Bloomberg News reported that Indian Point sends 1,500 MW to the Boston area, where a lot of gas is diverted for heating and the price of electricity is high. (http://tinyurl.com/bostonprices) The New York Power Authority, which supplies the subways, Metro North, municipalities and government buildings, among other things, has not purchased electricity from Indian Point for years because it can get it cheaper elsewhere. (http://bit.ly/ZvIi41)

What’s left? Nothing except the false 25% story that Entergy has told for so long that most people take it as gospel. Like a typical flim-flam artist, Entergy claims it is selling the same 25% share of electricity simultaneously to five Mid-Hudson counties, NYC and Westchester.

Replacement power does not have to be new generation. It can come from improvements in the transmission lines, increased efficiency, through which you get more work out of the same amount of electricity, or from something as simple as “demand response,” when large users are paid to curtail usage at peak times and make extra MWs available to the grid. There is a mixture of all of that plus new generation in the list below.

What follows is a description of the replacement power that came on line in 2016, with more to come in 2017, along with a bit of history about how it all happened.

Replacement Power for Indian Point

In 2012, Governor Cuomo directed the Public Service Commission to develop a plan for the closing of Indian Point. A Request for Proposals was put out to the private sector. In addition, several energy market evaluations, including the Indian Point Energy Center Retirement Analysis (http://tinyurl.com/nycenergy) prepared for the City of New York, the Synapse Report (http://tinyurl.com/rksynapse) and the 2013 Energy Highway Blueprint prepared by the State of New York (http://tinyurl.com/NYShighway) made recommendations about replacement electricity for Indian Point. All concluded that sufficient planning for renewables — coupled with privately financed supply projects — would allow a smooth transition away from Indian Point.

Between 2012 and 2015, market circumstances rapidly changed. The first surprise in 2013 was that Danskammer and Bowline, which were both out of service and expected to be demolished, were being refurbished and brought back on line as gas-fired generators. This happened largely because a special capacity zone was established by the Independent System Operator to encourage additional generation in this part of the grid. Consequently, 1,650 MW of unanticipated electricity became available in addition to transmission efficiencies, which were already in place. As a result, the PSC determined that the construction of new power plants was not necessary to replace Indian Point.

Most significantly, in the fall of 2013, the PSC terminated its Request for Proposals and closed the door on new generation in this region. It should be noted that demand for electricity has not increased at the anticipated rate due to efficiency, conservation and demand response. With the emphasis New York State has placed on rooftop solar, solar generation will undoubtedly play a role in smoothing out peak demand as well.

Since the 2012 projections and the Energy Highway Blueprint recommendations, over 5,000 megawatts of electricity have been added to the system through transmission upgrades, efficiency and demand reduction from distributed generation. This provides over twice the electricity needed to replace the 2,000 megawatts generated at Indian Point. Some of this is unfortunately gas generation, as the list below indicates. The carbon footprint for these plants has been anticipated and is already figured into the NYS Clean Energy Plan.

  • Danskammer (Newburgh) power plant 550 MW
  • Bowline (Haverstraw) power plant 1,100 MW
  • Hudson Transmission Project (NJ to NYC) cable 660 MW
  • PSE&G (NJ to Ramapo) power line 380 MW
  • Con Ed (Bergen County interconnection) power line 315 MW
  • TOTS (Westchester & Rockland Counties) power lines 600 MW
  • NYSERDA (Efficiency Projects) 200 MW
  • AC Hudson Valley Transmission Upgrades 1,000+ MW
  • New York Power Authority St. Lawrence Seaway 440 MW

TOTAL 5,245 MW

More projects will be coming on line in 2017 and demand has not been as high as anticipated. We have a surplus of electricity to replace Indian Point, with more megawatts to come. So, words to the wise — check your “facts” do the math and breathe easy. We have a surplus of electricity. Indian Point has already been replaced.

Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition
January 8, 2017