New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is risking the stability of New York City’s electrical grid by closing a nearby nuclear plant that supplies a quarter of the city’s total electricity, according to a report from the Manhattan Institute.
The closure is part of a Cuomo administration initiative to provide half of New York state’s electricity through renewables by 2030.
Alternative sources of energy will have to make up the gap left after the Indian Point power plant is shuttered in 2021. Cuomo is narrowing those choices, though, by blocking construction of new natural gas pipelines, effectively cutting off gas generators as a cheap substitute.
“While the governor’s Clean Energy Standard may be politically popular, it will be dramatically expensive and will almost certainly drive the state’s already-high electricity prices still higher,” the report states.
Renewable options to take the place of the Indian Point reactors are hydropower from Quebec or current and future wind farms built in New York, The New York Times reports.
The renewable substitutes still leave NYC vulnerable to blackouts because of decreased reliability. Electrical grids require constant tuning to balance electrical output with consumption. Renewable energy that relies on corresponding natural forces like wind is more difficult to modify to the day-to-day needs of the customers it supplies, the report says.
Cuomo’s administration says the risk posed by the nuclear plant, located less than 30 miles south of NYC, is too great to justify its continued operation.
“For years, my office has been fighting to address the serious risks posed by Indian Point to the surrounding communities and the environment,” New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman said according to TheNYT. “If we can shut down Indian Point under an agreement that enhances public safety and kick-starts investment into safer and more reliable renewable energy sources, that will be a major victory for the millions of New Yorkers who live in the region.”
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