New York Governor Andrew Cuomo directed the Department of Public Service to design and enact a new Clean Energy Standard mandating that 50 percent of all electricity used in the state come from clean and renewable energy sources by 2030.
The governor also directed the department to develop a separate process to prevent the premature retirement of nuclear power plants in upstate New York. The directive comes after Entergy (NYSE: ETR) said it would shut down the FitzPatrick nuclear plant upstate by 2017 at the latest because it is unprofitable.
The governor’s office got in touch with Exelon Corp. (NYSE: EXC), which owns the Nine Mile Point nuclear plant upstate, to provide fuel to FitzPatrick at cost through the end of 2018 to help buy time for negotiations to keep the plant open, according to Syracuse.com. Entergy responded that every arrangement was explored and there is “no viable alternative left to consider.”
Gov. Cuomo sent a letter to DPS Dec. 2 to establish the Clean Energy Standard and present it to the Public Service Commission by June 2016. The plan will also include a goal to reduce carbon emissions 40 percent by 2030.
The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) said Gov. Cuomo’s plan is a great step in recognizing nuclear’s importance in a low-carbon energy portfolio and for the economy. Nuclear provides about 60 percent of the state’s carbon-free electricity, NEI said.
“Nuclear energy facilities in New York support more than 24,000 jobs and are essential to maintaining a reliable electric grid while meeting the EPA’s Clean Power Plan goals,” said Marvin Fertel, NEI president and CEO. “As the governor’s plan recognizes, the shutdown of any nuclear plant in New York would be a significant setback in the state’s effort to reduce carbon and maintain reliable electricity supply at the lowest cost to consumers.”