OSWEGO, NY – The more than 150 representatives of businesses, government, education, labor and other ally organizations of Operation Oswego County heard a powerful message Thursday regarding nuclear energy.
OOC held its 64th annual meeting at the Lake Ontario Event and Conference Center. Keynote speaker Nick Canale, member of the Upstate Energy Jobs Coalition, highlighted the growth of the Upstate Energy Jobs Coalition.
It’s a rapidly growing group of more than 160 Upstate New York elected officials, business leaders, members of organized labor, economic development organizations and community leaders doing whatever it takes to help protect energy jobs in Upstate New York.
It began as an effort to save the James A. FitzPatrick plant in Scriba and has grown to include all four upstate nuclear plants, Canale said.
New York’s upstate nuclear plants – Ginna Nuclear Generating Station (Wayne County), FitzPatrick and Nine Mile Point (Oswego County) – save New Yorkers $1.7 billion a year in electricity costs, provide 25,000 jobs, contribute about $3.16 billion to state GDP and are critical to meeting New York’s carbon reduction goals.
The Upstate Energy Jobs Coalition was formed through the IDA, Canale explained.
“We had to get out in front and be part of the solution, rather than sit by and watch one of the biggest economic engines in our area go silent,” he said.
They quickly realized a lot more was at state than just FitzPatrick, he added.
All of the upstate nuclear facilities are suffering, he said. So, they decided to make their focus the entire nuclear fleet.
When they started out the Clean Energy Standard the governor put out didn’t include nuclear power, Canale pointed out.
The CES mandates that 50 percent of all electricity consumed in New York by 2030 come from clean and renewable energy sources and now would properly credit upstate nuclear plants for their carbon-free power.
“Anyone living in this area knows that the primary source of zero carbon power is nuclear,” he said, adding including nuclear power in the CES “is essential.”
They are working closely with partners in Albany, State Senator Patty Ritchie and Assemblyman Will Barclay.
Nuclear puts power on the grid 24/7 365 days a year, Canale said. They take whatever price is on the market unlike how other power producers operate, he added.
“Over time, nuclear keeps the price down for us. Without that power there 24/7 365 taking the market price, the price of the market will go up,” he said.
The group has initiated a letter writing campaign to support nuclear power centered around CES.
Next Monday (June 6) is the end of the public comment period for including nuclear in the CES.
“We’d like to encourage everyone here and your friends to make one last push and write positive comments for nuclear to the PSC,” he said.
People can go to www.upstateenergy.com and use the letter writing link.
Being included in the CES will help nuclear plants to remain profitable, Canale said.
“Entergy has made it clear to us, and to everyone that we’ve talked to, that their plan is to close that plant,” he said. “From our perspective, the only hope of keeping that plant open is a buyer, another operator. The Clean Energy Standard sets the table for making the plant profitable. At this point, no buyer has stepped forward but we’re pushing to get the Clean Energy Standard in place so it sets the table so a buyer is possible.”
The group will continue to also focus on the transmission issues regard the state’s power grid.
“The economic impact that this has on our area is beyond comprehension,” Canale said. “If all three of those plants close out there, at Nine Mile, it would devastate this area.”