The Nuclear Energy Institute estimates that Indian Point provides 25 percent of the electricity used in Westchester County and New York City (Life Without Indian Point, Jan. 13). One reason this is an inflated number is that Indian Point engages in negative bidding in the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) energy market.
In other words, Indian Point pays other energy providers to stop providing energy to the grid so that Indian Point can become the provider in their place. So, what Indian Point actually provides the grid is not the same as what the grid needs from Indian Point.
Indian Point does this for technological reasons. A nuclear power plant has no capability to power up and down. As a result, every bit of energy produced by a nuclear power plant must flow into the grid whether needed or not.
One effect of this is that renewable energy sources which are capable of powering up and down are shut off from the grid to accommodate the technological limitations of the nuclear power plant. This in turn creates the impression that Indian Point is more critical to the grid than it really is.
Diana Hird, Cold Spring
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