Upstate NY Nuclear Plants' Benefits Outweigh Costs Under CES, Report Says

The Brattle Group report Upstate NY nuclear plants' benefits outweigh the costs under clean energy standard

An assessment of New York’s proposed Clean Energy Standard (CES) says upstate nuclear plants will help the state meet its clean energy goals.

The Brattle Group completed a report on the New York State Department of Public Service Benefit-Cost Analysis Study of the CES showing that nuclear is a cost-effective and critical bridge to meeting the state’s goal of reaching 50 percent renewables by 2030. The report says continuing operations at the three upstate nuclear plants – Ginna, FitzPatrick and Nine Mile Point—would result in $2.5 billion per year in total emissions and electricity savings based on findings from a report released in December 2015, “New York’s Upstate Nuclear Power Plants’ Contribution to the State Economy.”

The report also says that the Tier 3 component of the CES is responsible for over 50 percent of the CES program’s lifetime financial benefits from carbon avoidance, despite incurring only 21 percent of the program’s overall costs. That savings enables an additional $3.16 billion in annual GDP. Continued plant operations accounts for over 24,000 full time direct and indirect jobs.

“Based on our analysis, implementing the CES will avoid a significant amount of carbon emissions that would occur if the plants retired and cost far less than the adverse effects, including lost economic contributions and jobs, that would result if New York’s upstate nuclear plants were to cease operations,” said Dr. Mark Berkman, co-author of the report and a principal at The Brattle Group. “The CES would go a long way towards ensuring the continued viability of these nuclear facilities, thereby preserving their role in contributing to the state’s economy and environment.”

The Brattle Group prepared the report for the New York State IBEW Utility Labor Council, Rochester Building & Construction Trades Council and Central and Northern New York Building & Construction Trades Council.

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