Powerful Assumptions—Rising Prices?

You’ve no doubt heard other rumbling ruminations about Governor Cuomo closing the 2,000 MW Indian Point Nuclear by 2021 and replacing it with a 2,400 MW off shore wind farm by 2030. Most who oppose these actions argue that the wind farm will never be able to match the nuclear plant’s output because wind provides an intermittent source of energy and also that battery-storage technology isn’t developed enough or cheap enough to match the nuke plant’s reliability.

Some good arguments floating around work under the assumption that no other dispatchable generation will be available to step into the Indian Point’s footprint with in four years. While that sounds reasonable at first glance —especially since 2,000 MW of power is such an awful lot of electricity— it’s bunk. That’s because it assumes that there are no other projects under development that could be ready in four years. Turns out that electricity customers from Brooklyn to Manhattan to Westchester and everyone else downstate will have enough power.

What’s Going to Cover Indian Point’s Power?

  • Long Island’s Clean Energy Link Program will consist of four new wind farms totaling 478 MW and two new solar farms totaling 223 MW —about 700 MW. While these will be outside the NYISO territory and inside PJM, their power would be available at least one way through import bilateral agreements.
  • The 1,000-MW Cricket Valley Energy Center is a natural gas combined cycle generation plant being built in Dover, NY and is slated for completion in the first quarter of 2020.
  • 600 MW of new Upstate New York wind energy generation that will be brought downstate to customers in New York City on the Empire State Connector transmission project. This high voltage DC (HVDC) transmission line will provide transmission access for even more upstate power producers. The target in-service date is 2021-2022.
  • Champlain Hudson Power Express will bring 1,000 MW of clean hydropower to the New York metro area via HVDC into the New York Metro area. The project is expected to be completed by 2021.

So, this is a good thing. From just these five projects, it’s very likely that more than 100% of Indian Point’s nameplate capacity will be replaced with dispatchable supplies by the time the nuke plant fades to black.

But how much will these new electricity supplies cost you?

How Will This Affect Your Electric Bill?

As you may already know, nuclear plants have been losing money in the competitive energy markets due in part to their age and their design. New York has already agreed to keep three open by paying $7.6 billion to bail them out. Some sketched out details suggest all New York consumers paying an extra $2 on their monthly bills. New Yorkers and other downstate communities may see up to an additional $3 tacked onto their bills from the closing of Indian Point and the construction of new transmission lines. Like it or not, adding more transmission capacity to the state appears to be unavoidable in the long run. NYISO has reported in the past that “85 percent of high-voltage transmission lines are more than 30 years old, while some are more than 100 years old.” Currently, construction costs are estimated to be around $25 billion.

Consequently, it’s very possible that customer rates will increase in the next few years —but those increases will result mostly from transmission and distribution costs being passed to consumers. The way to stay ahead of increasing prices is to shop around for the best electricity deal.

The best way to shop for low New York electricity prices is to shop the smart way. New York Energy Ratings is the only place you
can research, compare, and sign up for cheap New York electricity plans to fit your family’s needs.

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