Clean Energy Standard is Good Public Policy

To the Editor:
In August, the NYS Public Service Commission adopted the Clean Energy Standard which included, among other things, subsidies for the upstate nuclear plants.

Since that time, the anti-nuclear crowd has ramped up their criticism of the PSC’s forward-thinking solution and now there is an effort to get the Clean Energy Standard overturned.

The criticism is baffling, particularly from so-called environmentalists considering that nuclear power is clean and generates zero carbon emissions 24/7.

If the PSC had not included nuclear power in the Clean Energy Standard, it is likely that all four nuclear power plants in Upstate New York would have had to close down – never to reopen.

This would be economically catastrophic for Upstate New York resulting in the loss of thousands of jobs.

Closure of our nuclear plants would also mean New Yorkers would have to import more of our power from out-of-state, likely coming from generators who use gas and coal, something the environmentalist crowd is demanding we become less reliant on.

Without our instate nuclear plants it is also very possible that we would be paying higher electricity bills.

New Yorkers need not look any further than the New England states for proof.

In Vermont, state officials forced the closure of Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant. With the closure of Vermont Yankee, the New England market has less fuel diversity leaving electricity prices closely tied to the cost of natural gas.

This was evident this summer as New England’s electricity prices jumped 38% (from June to July) mainly because the cost of natural gas increased by 43%.

With the impending closure of another nuclear power plant in the New England region, one can expect that costs will continue to go up for consumers in these states.

Under the Clean Energy Standard, the state is finally recognizing nuclear for being carbon-free the same way it does for wind and solar.

Governor Cuomo and the Public Service Commission made the right call with the Clean Energy Standard.

Those who call themselves environmentalists and all New Yorkers should support it.

Assemblyman Will Barclay
Assemblyman Barclay (R,C,I–Pulaski) represents the 120th Assembly District, which is home to three of the state’s six nuclear power reactors.
A study by the Brattle Group indicates that Upstate’s nuclear plants, which supply 18% of the state’s electricity, help New York avoid almost 16 million tons of CO2 emissions annually which equals a societal value of almost $700 million annually based on federal estimates.