Entergy’s willingness to close Indian Point is based primarily on internal business decisions rather than, as the company would like us to believe, an oppressive regulatory environment.
According to Entergy’s most recent filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, a decreasing number of companies supply the key parts required to repair and maintain the plant. A delay in delivery of a key part could result in an unscheduled shutdown. If that happens, according to Entergy’s latest public filing, it would consider closing the unit permanently because of the overwhelming cost of restarting it.
Had Entergy been awarded significant government subsidies, the plant might have stayed operational. According to the New York Independent System Operator, such awards are made for unprofitable power plants that are critical to the reliable operation of the power grid, which suggests that Indian Point is no longer deemed critical.
Had these financial considerations not been a factor, Entergy probably would not have agreed to close Indian Point. The New York State Appellate Court decision against the company was not likely an important factor in Entergy’s decision. According to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, it could have preempted New York State environmental regulations.
It would be disingenuous for Entergy to blame oppressive government regulations and environmental activism for the closure of Indian Point. The reality is that under free market economic conditions, Entergy could no longer justify the expense to its shareholders.
It is time to end the blame game and to move forward with viable economic development strategies for our community.
Diana Hird, Cold Spring
In addition to the enormous economic impacts of closing Indian Point outlined in your March 3 article, the adverse environmental consequences will be profound for communities in the Hudson Valley.
We’ve seen how the zeal to close nuclear plants in other parts of the country and the world has been followed by a toxic combination of economic disruption and sharply increased carbon emissions. In California, Vermont and Germany, moving away from nuclear power has meant moving backward, because the replacement has been fossil fuel-sourced power. Renewable energy sources at baseload scale simply don’t yet exist in those places.
We can predict the same misfortunes for New York, where the not-in-my-backyard opposition has made the state hostile to new green-energy projects. While we’re waiting for such alternatives to be developed for Indian Point, we’ll be pumping carbon into our atmosphere at the same time that the governor’s new Clean Energy Standard is mandating that the state’s emissions be reduced 30 percent by 2030.
New York needs a massive infusion of investment capital to build new green capacity and update and augment our aged and fragile transmission grid, and we need that capital now. It’s time for Albany to make a plan, speed approvals and welcome investors rather than repel them with excessive paperwork and endless processes, because 2021 will be here before we know it.
Rob DiFrancesco, New York
DiFrancesco is executive director of the New York Affordable Reliable Electricity Alliance (New York AREA), a coalition of business, labor and community organizations founded in 2003 that includes Entergy.The Current is a nonprofit supported by its readers; please consider a year-end gift.