View all Articles
Commentary By Post Editorial Board

How Cuomo Is ‘Building’ Blackouts for NYC

Energy, Energy, Cities Technology, Regulatory Policy, New York City

Editor's note: This editorial is based on a report by Robert Bryce, After Indian Point: Lights Out for New York City?

Better stock up on candles: In just three years, New York may face a wave of blackouts following the closure of the Indian Point nuclear-power plant.

That’s the bottom line of a new report by the Manhattan Institute’s Robert Bryce: The early shutdown of the reactors in 2020 and 2021 “threatens the reliability of New York City’s electric grid.” And the risk is even greater because Team Cuomo is nixing pipelines needed to bring natural gas to plants that could replace IP’s juice.

He urges New York policymakers to “begin a serious analysis of the implications” of taking IP offline. Now.

Wise advice. Bryce’s report echoes numerous warnings — from the New York State Independent System Operator (which oversees the state’s grid), a team of General Electric experts, the New York Affordable Reliable Electricity Alliance and others — about the folly of pulling IP’s plug.

Alas, Gov. Cuomo has ignored them all and instead fed baseless fears of the plant’s “dangers.” He calls Indian Point “a ticking time bomb” that puts Gotham at risk because it’s located just 30 miles north in Westchester, even though experts have repeatedly deemed it 100 percent safe.

In a bid to close the plant, Cuomo and officials like state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman harassed its owners for years, forcing them to shell out more than $200 million in a drawn-out legal battle to re-license the plant. In January, they got their wish: The owners gave up and agreed to close IP’s two reactors by 2021.

Trouble is, Indian Point pumps out up to 30 percent of the region’s juice; without it, demand may soon outpace supply. In particular, peak demand will become increasingly hard to meet — making power fluctuations that can stress the grid to the breaking point more common.

Plus, Cuomo has blocked expansion of pipelines needed to fuel gas-fired plants that could help make up for lost IP power. In April, he nixed a permit for the Northern Access Pipeline and for more than a year refused to grant one to the Millennium Pipeline Co. A third pipeline, to fuel the planned Cricket Valley gas-fired plant, is also in limbo.

What’s the gov’s Plan B? Well, renewable energy (solar and wind) is at the heart of his fantasies. Yet unless the weather cooperates 100 percent of the time, renewables just aren’t reliable. Even Cuomo admits they won’t meet the state’s needs anytime soon.

He also calls for hydropower from Canada. But, as Bryce notes, a transmission line to carry the juice can’t be built in time to help replace what’s lost when Indian Point closes.
The clock’s ticking. Pray answers arrive — before the lights go out.

This editorial originally appeared in the New York Post


This piece originally appeared in New York Post