How much electricity does Indian Point provide to our grid?

[Thanks to Marilyn Elie of The Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition (IPSEC) for this information.]
This has been a contentious question, aided and abetted by faulty investigative journalism, and by lazy reporters who prefer to Google the question and take a figure from the NYT rather than do their own work.
  1.  IP does not provide 2,000 MW of electricity to NYC/WC.
  2. IP does not provide 25% of the electricity used in NYC/WC — despite a Sunday story a couple of years ago that said one out of four light bulbs in the  area was powered by IP.

IP provides 560 MW to the area, and sells the rest wherever it can — frequently through the Independent System Operator (ISO) New England, especially in the winter when New England gas is converted to heating usage.

Proof:

  1. The first misconception is to treat IP2 and IP3 as if they were one unit. They are not and sell electricity independently. In 2000, Con Ed sold IP2 to Entergy with a 7 year contract for 100% of its output. New York Power Authority (NYPA) sold IP3 with the same kind of 7 year deal.
  2. In 2007,when they renegotiated, both companies opted for reduced amounts. By 2013, when the contracts ended, NYPA was down to just 100 MW and Con Ed was down to 300. When the next contract came up for renewal in 2014 NYPA did not renew, thus making the subways nuclear free. Con Ed renewed for 560 MW’s – the only contracted electricity that Entergy sells in our grid.Keep in mind — and verify through Con Ed, which transmits ALL the electricity — the peak load in the summer is about 13,000 MW and winter is about 9,000 MW. The record was set July 18, 2013, at 13,260 MW during the height of that summer’s heat wave. Try taking 25% of any of those numbers.
  3. When NYPA’s contract expired— at the same time as IP2’s license expired — NYPA did NOT renew because they could get reliable electricity from other vendors at lower cost. So there is NO electricity from IP going to NYPA customers — the subways, Metro North, the airports, municipal buildings, public housing, schools, and street lights. Call them to verify this.
  4. Con Ed renewed its contract for 560 MW. That is the ONLY contract Entergy has for IP. In contrast, in 2008, roughly 90% of the output from IP 2 and 3 were sold under long-term contracts.
  5. Entergy sells IP’s electricity wherever it can. There is no local captive market — that was the whole point of deregulation. As a result, when you consider the daily needs, the peak loads, IP provides just 5% of the electricity used in our grid. In a real sense, the free market has worked well and IP is not as competitive as it once was. That is primarily due to the low cost of gas due to fracking and the surge in wind generated electricity in the wholesale market, and distributed generation through increased use of solar panels on homes and offices.
  6. If you call the ISO they will tell you that the electricity from IP2 is not needed and would not be missed. They also say if BOTH plants suddenly disappeared, there would be a shortfall — over time — of 500 to 700 MW — NOT 2,000. And that can be made up — according to the ISO, not me — by any combination of new power generation, new transmission, and conservation.

During the recent DEC hearings on a plan to close IP during spawning seasons, Fred Dacimo, IP VP, led off the comments stating that IP generates 25% of the region’s electricity.

The load at 5:25 PM, the time Dacimo was speaking was 10,250 MW. A quarter of that would have been 2,562.5 MW, 562.5 MW’s more than IP generates. Further, Con Ed said that they were not buying any electricity from Indian Point or any other generator at the time on the daily market. They were just using the contracted amount and did not need to go to market.

The point is that the common assertion that IP is indispensable because a) you need to replace MW for MW and b) that it provides 25% of the region’s electricity is just plain false. The marketplace has largely replaced it already.

The recent transformer fire proves indisputably that our grid works just fine without Unit 3 at Indian Point.  The reactor went down taking 1,000 MW’s off the grid and the only one who had to scramble was the NY ISO.  They responded instantly and no one else even noticed a difference.  The lights all stayed on, the subways are running and the air conditioners hum along as needed. And nobody’s  bill will go up. We have a reserve of power and generators that are eager to sell into our high priced electricity market.

Please explain this to your local elected officials and help dispel the myth that we need the electricity from Indian Point!

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