New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced plans for the early closure of the Indian Point nuclear power station, which currently accounts for about 10% of the state’s total power generation, and is betting the energy gap can be filled with a greater reliance on wind and hydro power.
ThinkProgress reports the two operational reactors at the power station, located about 30 miles north of New York City on the Hudson River, are scheduled to go offline in 2020 and 2021, more than 10 years ahead of schedule.
As important as the station is to New York’s utility grid, its location so close to New York also poses elevated risks in the form of a nuclear meltdown or terrorist attack. Cuomo, state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, and a nonprofit environmental group called Riverkeeper all have been advocating for the plant’s closure for some time.
Electricity costs for Con Edison customers in New York City and nearby Westchester County are already among the highest in the country. Cuomo, however, says closing the plant and shifting to hydroelectric and wind resources would come “at a negligible cost to ratepayers” and would not increase the region’s carbon emissions.
Cuomo has been pressing for more clean energy in the state’s utility mix, announcing last year a Clean Energy Standard that will require 50% of the state’s energy come from renewable sources by 2030. The state’s aggressive push to reshape its system of energy generation and distribution includes an effort called Reforming the Energy Vision.
Last week, Cuomo proposed the development of 2,400 megawatts of offshore wind generating capacity by 2030, enough to provide 1.25 million homes with electricity, Reuters reports.
Offshore wind is a key part of his plan to meet the 2030 goal of 50% renewable power.
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