Letter: Do We Need to Replace Indian Point Power?

Entergy makes the claim that the Indian Point nuclear power plant provides 25 percent of the electricity used by Westchester County and New York City (Life Without Indian Point, Jan. 13). As a result, some county officials have expressed concern about how to replace that electricity. But they have been duped. The electricity from Indian Point has already been replaced.

First, some simple math. Indian Point’s two reactors produce up to 2,060 megawatts (MW). According to Con Edison, the peak winter load for Westchester and New York City is 9,000 MW and jumps to 13,000 MW in the summer. Indian Point doesn’t produce a quarter of either of those figures, even if it all of its electricity went into our grid, which it doesn’t. Entergy sells 560 MW to Con Edison and bids 1,500 MW into the summer Mid-Hudson Capacity market, which serves five counties.

According to news reports, in the winter it sends 1,500 MW to the Boston area, where a lot of gas is diverted for heating and the price of electricity is high. The New York Power Authority, which supplies the subways, Metro-North, municipalities and government buildings, has not purchased electricity from Indian Point for years because it can get it cheaper elsewhere.

Replacement power does not have to be “new generation.” Since 2012, when Gov. Cuomo directed the Public Service Commission to develop a plan for the closing of Indian Point, more than 5,200 MW have been added to the system through improvements in the transmission lines, some new generation, increased efficiency and from “demand response,” where large users are paid to curtail usage at peak times. Some of this new generation is gas, but the carbon footprint is already figured into the New York State Clean Energy Plan.

More projects will be coming on line in 2017 and demand has not been as high as anticipated by the independent system operator, the agency that monitors our grid. Do the math and breathe easy. Indian Point’s power has already been replaced.

Marilyn Elie, Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition, Cortlandt Manor

5 thoughts on “Letter: Do We Need to Replace Indian Point Power?

  1. Interesting and valuable information. I am hoping this closure means more emphasis is put on distributed energy resources and especially demand response, as you noted. Massachusetts will continue to have challenges until it can solve its ongoing natural gas capacity issues.

  2. The maximum deliverable output for Indian Point is 2,060 MW. This is not an an annual aggregate. Due to an editing error it is incorrectly categorized as an annual figure.

    I’m glad the information is useful Nate. I hope it clarifies the fact that Indian Point is unnecessary to our well functioning grid.

  3. It is deceptive to claim that Indian Point does not supply 25 percent of Westchester and New York City power citing “peak” demand. Also, failure to replace this power at (or near) the Buchanan substation will result in grid instability (low voltage) during periods of high electrical demand; failure to maintain voltage in these areas will require ConEd to brown-out portions of the grid to raise voltage within specification. (Low voltage results in hazardous current draw.)

    I would defer to ConEd and the ISO regarding numbers and details.

    • Could you please lay out the math for how Entergy arrives at their 25 percent figure?

      The ISO is clear that Indian Point is no longer necessary, as is the report from the Bureau of Coastal Management. You might want to take a look at the section on power in the closing agreement that was just signed. The entire agreement is available on Riverkeeper website.