New York’s State Energy Planning Board released the state’s 2015 Energy Plan that anticipates the state’s future energy needs and goals.
The plan sets three goals: to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent from 1990 levels, raise the percentage of renewable energy generation to 50 percent of the state’s total and increase energy efficiency in buildings.
The plan recognizes that the continued operations of nuclear power is important in achieving emissions reductions. Indian Point nuclear power plant supplies 25 percent of the power to New York City and Westchester County and prevents over 8.5 million tons of carbon dioxide from being released annually, the report said. If Indian Point shuts down, then GHG emissions would increase due to the use of natural gas to replace the lost capacity.
“For all intents and purposes, it is impossible to achieve the plan’s GHG goals without nuclear power,” the report states.
Another way to reduce GHGs is to increase renewable generation in the state to 50 percent from 25 percent of the state’s total. Currently, nuclear and hydroelectric generation powers 51 percent of the state, compared to less than 5 percent from solar and wind. The writers also state that New york must build new transmission lines and upgrade older ones to deliver renewables from upstate sources to demand-heavy downstate. Private investment is necessary to take on the costs, not taxpayers or ratepayers.
The third goal includes achieving 600 trillion BTU of energy efficiency savings, or a 23 percent reduction from 2012 levels.
The report does say that affordability must be a priority. As the state lowers electricity costs and enhances system reliability, job creation will increase because businesses and industries will have incentives to stay in the state.