After spending ten years and $200 million fighting for license renewal, Entergy announced on January 9 that it will close Indian Point’s two generating units in 2020 and 2021. Entergy’s agreement with New York ends the state’s regulatory opposition to the plant, while allowing a slight chance for the plant to continue operating past the scheduled closure if necessary to support grid reliability.
For the Hudson Valley, this means that we’ll have the benefit of Indian Point’s zero-emissions baseload power for another three to four years. The facility’s significant economic benefits, its high-skilled and good-paying jobs, will also continue to be provided by the plant.
Unfortunately, when Indian Point ultimately closes, its likeliest replacement will be fossil fuels, primarily natural gas, because renewables at baseload scale will take many years to develop, if they ever do. Business conditions in New York, with our heavy regulations and high taxes, tend to deter potential investors from planning significant new energy projects here as well.
Therefore, with Indian Point’s closure, our communities will bear the cost of lost employment, diminished economic activity and tax revenues, and increased air pollution—in addition to the cost of less reliable electricity at prices that will be vulnerable to the availability of natural gas. It will be interesting to see New York State’s plan for replacement power down the road. For now, we can enjoy the benefits Indian Point provides, at least for a while longer.