Guest essay by Eric Worrall
New York governor Andrew Cuomo has announced plans to shut down the zero carbon Indiana Point Nuclear Plant, as part of his grand strategy to combat climate change.
New York Aims to Replace Nuclear Power With Clean Energy
Gov. Cuomo promises declining carbon emissions even as the state closes the Indian Point nuclear power plant.
By Jeremy Deaton
New York governor Andrew Cuomo announced plans this week to close the Indian Point nuclear power plant, which supplies electricity to New York City and surrounding areas. The plant’s two working reactors — which account for roughly 10 percent of the state’s power generation — are slated to go offline in 2020 and 2021, more than a decade ahead of schedule.
Some environmentalists celebrated the closure. Others lamented the loss of a carbon-free source of energy, despite nuclear power’s potential hazards to humans and wildlife.
Some states, like Illinois, have thrown a lifeline to nuclear, subsidizing struggling plants, lest they be replaced by carbon-spewing natural gas. New York, by contrast, is betting that the hole created by Indian Point’s closure will be filled with solar, wind and hydropower.
In a statement, Cuomo said the plant’s closure won’t drive up emissions “at the regional level.” Given New York’s ambitious climate policies, he might be right.
New York may have the hydro resources to replace Indiana Point, but even dispatchable hydro-electric systems have their pitfalls. States which rely heavily on hydro power face difficulties if the water runs out, as the Australian state of Tasmania recently discovered.
Having said that, it seems likely that New York has or will have enough interstate power interconnectors to ensure continuity, which will allow Governor Cuomo to virtue signal all he wants from behind a safety net of reliable out of state fossil fuel power sources.