The New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) held a technical conference in Albany on the costs of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed Clean Energy Standard (CES), which reinforced that the benefits of keeping upstate nuclear energy plants open far outweigh the costs of implementing the nuclear tier of the CES.
In fact, a recent analysis from The Brattle Group shows that upstate nuclear plants result in $1.7 billion per year in electricity savings for New York, and in addition causes a reduction in emissions worth over $700 million. The study also found that in the early years of the CES (up until 2023), over 75% of the carbon avoided by the program is directly attributable to preserving upstate nuclear. Moreover the report also found that the Tier 3 component of the CES, which would preserve upstate nuclear plants, is responsible for over 50% of the CES program’s lifetime financial benefits from carbon avoidance, despite incurring only 21% of the program’s overall costs.
On the heels of the conference, members of the Upstate Energy Jobs coalition (UEJ), a group including elected representatives, business leaders, organized labor, education institutions, economic development organizations and community leaders, reinforced the many benefits that FitzPatrick, Ginna and Nine Mile Point bring to upstate and central New York, including 25,000 jobs, supporting $3.16 billion in state gross domestic product (GDP) based on findings from a previous Brattle report released in December 2015, "New York’s Upstate Nuclear Power Plants’ Contribution to the State Economy."
"The upstate New York economy is already lagging," said Mike Treadwell, CEO of the County of Oswego Industrial Development Agency. "The Cuomo administration has expressed that helping lift up the area’s economy is a top priority, and implementing the CES, which includes preserving upstate nuclear, helps New York meet not only its clean energy goals, but the Governor – and many others’ – goals to help the upstate economy. With thousands of jobs on the line, the potential for rate increases in electricity bills and significant increases in carbon emissions, letting upstate nuclear plants shut their doors prematurely would cause a ripple effect that would result in devastating losses for the region. The benefits of keeping upstate nuclear energy plants clearly outweigh the costs of the CES, which should be implemented swiftly.."
"We thank Governor Cuomo for recognizing that we need to save our upstate nuclear plants," said Randy Wolken, President and CEO of The Manufacturers Association of Central New York. "Support for the Cuomo Administration’s CES means support for upstate hotels, restaurants, school districts and most importantly, families who depend on our nuclear plants to put food on the table."
"It is important that we don’t lose sight of the regional communities that would be directly impacted by an upstate nuclear facility closure," said Ted Skerpon, President and Business Manager of IBEW Local 97. "The livelihood of hundreds of families depends on the full-time jobs upstate nuclear plants bring. I applaud Governor Cuomo for his efforts to keep upstate nuclear plants running: we must ensure the CES is implemented as quickly as possible."
The Brattle cost analysis also highlights that when incorporating the GDP and the environmental benefits together, the total benefits of preserving the upstate nuclear plants exceed the CES program costs by a factor of over 70. In addition from the perspective of ratepayer costs, the benefits of keeping electricity prices low are 36 times greater than the program costs to support the upstate nuclear plants.
The prior December 2015 Brattle Group study found upstate nuclear plants contribute $144 million in net state tax revenues, including more than $60 million in annual state and local property taxes. The study also found that without nuclear power plants, New York consumers would pay nearly $15 billion more in electricity costs over the next ten years. Upstate nuclear plants also help New York cement itself as an environmental leader by preventing 16 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually, which is equal to a societal value of almost $700 million, according to federal estimates. Without nuclear energy from upstate New York, the state would have a difficult time meeting emission standards.
The CES would help nuclear generators remain financially viable by allowing them to serve as a bridge to help New York reach its goal of generating 50 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030.