OSWEGO, NY – A second Scriba nuclear plant could be closed in the spring of 2017.
In a recent filing with the NYS Public Service Commission, Exelon said it would close Nine Mile Point 1 if it doesn’t get a guarantee from the state for a financial lifeline by September.
The plant is scheduled to be refueled in March 2017.
Refueling would cost approximately $55 million, according to the company.
New York’s proposed Clean Energy Standard includes a mechanism to compensate nuclear plants through zero emissions credits. The zero emissions credits would provide extra compensation, similar to the way in renewable energy projects receive additional payments for their clean energy attributes.
However, the company said it couldn’t count on a CES that is “merely speculative.”
In a statement, Exelon said: “In order for CENG to make the investment and commitment necessary to keep Nine Mile Unit 1 and Ginna in operation, it needs the certainty provided by a commission order approving the CES and a signed contract procuring zero emission credits from the nuclear generators,” Exelon wrote. “CENG cannot simply roll the dice and make substantial investments on the hope that the program ultimately adopted by the commission is sufficient to justify the substantial investments and commitments required to enable continued operation of CENG’s upstate nuclear plants. Thus, CENG will need a contract in hand by September 2016. Time is of the essence.”
L. Michael Treadwell, CEO of the Oswego County Industrial Development Agency and a member of Upstate Energy Jobs responded to the news about Nine Mile Point 1 and the importance of moving Governor Cuomo’s Clean Energy Standard forward.
The CES mandates that 50 percent of all electricity consumed in New York by 2030 come from clean and renewable energy sources and would properly credit upstate nuclear plants for their carbon-free power.
“Nine Mile Point 1, and the thousands of families and jobs it supports, as well as the surrounding community, and our state, needs regulators to implement the CES as soon as possible. We are very close to the finish line in this regulatory process and the news that the plant could shut down without the CES is a reminder that the state’s economic and environmental future is now at stake,” Treadwell said. “If New York is serious about obtaining cleaner air and maintaining our economic health, which state leaders and energy stakeholders have said they are, then they should incent the outcome. The timely issuance of a Clean Energy Standard that would value nuclear for its environmental contributions will do exactly that.”
Gary Toth, vice chair of the County of Oswego Industrial Development Agency and a member of Upstate Energy Jobs, said New York Energy Week is a good time to think about the energy sector in the state.
“As we reflect upon how to drive our energy economy forward, and our long-term energy goals, we must keep New York’s upstate nuclear plants top of mind, as they are critical to our economy and environment,” he said.
Upstate nuclear plants provide a tremendous amount of benefits to New York. They support nearly 25,000 jobs and save New Yorkers $1.7 billion each year on electricity bills. The millions of dollars that they contribute in tax dollars keep local schools, fire departments, non-profits, and other essential public services operating.
“Unfortunately, our communities may not be able to rely on these significant benefits much longer, as these plants, which include Ginna, Nine Mile Point and FitzPatrick, face the risk of closure. Thankfully, Governor Cuomo recognizes the value these plants provide and as part of the Clean Energy Standard, has included a mechanism that would help keep these nuclear plants open,” Toth said.
“As a community leader and vice chair of an economic development organization, I am especially pleased to see the Governor focused on the need to maintain jobs and drive economic growth throughout the upstate and central New York regions. The Governor has also included nuclear in his plan as they are a critical component of New York’s clean energy future. In fact, upstate nuclear plants help avoid over 16 billion tons of carbon emissions each year,” he continued.
And, in the context of the state’s broader energy goals, it’s clear that nuclear is needed, he said.
A recent report issued by the economic consulting firm, The Brattle Group, confirms that more than 75% of the carbon avoided by the CES is due to keeping our upstate nuclear energy plants open. That study also shows that the Tier 3 component of the CES, which would preserve upstate nuclear plants, is responsible for more than 50% of the CES program’s lifetime financial benefits from carbon avoidance, despite incurring only 21% of the program’s overall costs.
The CES is set to be issued in the coming weeks.
“As we stop for a moment around New York Energy Week and consider the kinds of energy that deserve investment and support, it’s clear that nuclear energy should remain in the state’s energy portfolio for the long term,” Toth said. “The voices of support are all around us and have recently included a group of the country’s leading climate scientists, scholars and environmentalists, who have backed the measure in a letter sent to Governor Cuomo’s desk.”
“The CES deserves our support as it would not only help New York meet its clean energy objectives, but would contribute to the Governor’s goal of revitalizing the upstate economy. We are nearly across the finish line to a cleaner and brighter energy future for New York – the timely implementation of the CES and its support for nuclear will ensure we cross it,” he added.
L. Mike Treadwell is director of Operation Oswego County and head of Upstate Energy Jobs coalition, which is more than 130 New York electeds, as well as business, labor and economic leaders, who are leading the charge to keep New York’s upstate nuclear energy plants open to preserve thousands of jobs and the economy.
Gary Toth is vice chair of the County of Oswego Industrial Development Agency and a member of Upstate Energy Jobs.
The James A. FitzPatrick nuclear power plant is moving toward closure next year. The UEJ is working to find ways to save it and the more than 600 associated jobs.