The passage of the Clean Energy Standard (CES) and the Zero Emissions Credit (ZEC) in 2016 marked a great victory for New York and its hardworking nuclear fleet, bringing us one very substantial step closer to achieving our ambitious energy and environmental goals. By passing the ZEC, the Public Service Commission (PSC) acknowledged that nuclear energy is truly green energy.
Nuclear is the state’s largest producer of carbon-free energy, and, through the ZEC, New York is better equipped to reduce emissions by 40 percent (versus 1990 levels) by 2030. The CES with ZEC makes New York the leader in energy and environmental policy for the rest of the country and the world – and promises great continued advantages to our state’s economy, jobs and environment from nuclear production.
Our state and local economies benefit enormously from the presence of our nuclear facilities. FitzPatrick, for example, contributes $1 billion in activity to the Oswego region, and its fellow upstate plants, Ginna and Nine Mile Point, contribute $47 million in annual tax revenues to local governments.
Jobs are another example of how nuclear power benefits New York. To operate with the highest safely and most consistent efficiency, our statewide nuclear facilities employ more than 3,440 well-trained professionals throughout the state, according to the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) – 600 workers at FitzPatrick, 1,400 at Ginna and Nine Mile Point, and 1,000 at Indian Point.
And, of course, the power New York’s nuclear plants generate 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, regardless of sunlight or weather, with zero carbon, provides enormous benefits for our environment. The support for nuclear in the CES is essential to achieving its ambitious goals. New York’s upstate nuclear facilities prevent 15.5 million metric tons of carbon emissions from entering our air every year. Our nuclear fleet also protects us from methane, nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide, and particulates.
The passage of the CES with ZEC was a vital milestone for New York’s economy, its environment, and its people. Blocking this monumental step would make a 40 percent reduction in emissions virtually impossible to achieve, and rob New Yorkers of jobs and tax dollars in the process. It’s in New York’s best interests to keep our nuclear fleet online to meet our clean-energy goals and keep the lights on in New York homes and businesses.
About the Author: Rob DiFrancesco is the executive director of the New York Affordable Reliable Electricity Alliance (New York AREA), a diverse organization of business, labor, and community groups including Entergy, the owner-operator of Indian Point. Founded in 2003, New York AREA’s mission is to ensure that New York has an ample and reliable electricity supply, and economic prosperity for years to come. For more information visit www.nyarea.org.