Double Nightmare: New York’s Reliable Nuclear Power Plants Shutdown During Coronavirus Disaster

Andrew Cuomo: when one disaster is barely enough.


With the coronavirus pandemic laying them to waste, New Yorkers have plenty to worry about. Now their power supply is under threat, thanks to their wind and solar obsessed Governor, Andrew Cuomo.

At Indian Point (situated north of New York City) nuclear power plants have been providing safe, reliable and affordable electricity 24 x7 to New Yorkers since 1962.

In an astonishing move, Cuomo has determined to progressively shutdown both of the plants, with a combined capacity of 2,069 MW, on the delusional premise that he can replace what he destroys with wind and solar backed up by gas ‘peakers’ – highly inefficient open cycle gas turbines, which are basically jet engines strapped to generators.

The wind cult and renewable energy rent seekers are, of course, delighted with the outcome. However, as Robert Bryce points out, New Yorkers can look forward to rising power prices and unreliable power supply.

A pandemic is the wrong time to shut down NYC’s top source of electricity
New York Post
Robert Bryce
6 April 2020

The devastation being wrought by the coronavirus has underscored two undeniable facts. First: We were woefully unprepared for a black-swan event like this pandemic. Second: Modern society — our medical system, in particular — is completely dependent on the electric grid.

What if New York’s electric grid were to be hit by another black swan during the pandemic, triggering blackouts across significant parts of the city?

That terrifying thought is relevant now because the city’s single most important source of electricity — the Indian Point Energy Center, which sits about 40 miles due north of Times Square in Westchester County— is being permanently shuttered.

By the end of this month, one of the two reactors at the 2,069-megawatt facility will stop producing power. The remaining reactor will be shut down next April.

This is the exact wrong time to be closing Indian Point, which by itself reliably provides about 25 percent of the electricity consumed in New York City. Closing the plant will reduce the resilience of New York’s electric grid and increase the state’s reliance on natural gas for electricity production.

What if gas supplies were suddenly stopped or reduced due to an accident, terrorism or a cyberattack? (Recall, too, that Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been blocking new gas pipelines for years.)

Renewable-energy advocates have repeatedly claimed wind and solar energy can supplant Indian Point’s juice output. Yet due to ferocious opposition from rural towns and counties, very little onshore wind-energy capacity is being built in the state.

Offshore wind has potential, but building enough capacity to replace Indian Point could take decades. And what would happen if those wind turbines were destroyed by a hurricane?

The decision to prematurely shutter the nuclear plant was a victory for environmental groups — including Riverkeeper and the Natural Resources Defense Council — which repeatedly claimed Indian Point was unsafe and that the 16 terawatt-hours of carbon-free electricity it produces every year could be replaced by renewables and increases in efficiency.

The groups convinced Cuomo of that, and three years ago, he announced the plan to close Indian Point. At the time, he declared that when the plant closes, “New Yorkers can sleep a little better.” Last year, Cuomo signed into law a bill that requires 70 percent of the state’s electricity be derived from renewables by 2030.

Today, our hospitals are being flooded with sick people who need ventilators and other electricity-dependent equipment to stay alive. If you were one of those virus-stricken patients, what would you choose to power your ventilator? Solar panels and wind turbines or a 2,000-megawatt nuclear plant?

The essential point here is that electric grids — particularly those in densely populated cities like New York — should not be too reliant on any one thing, be it a transformer, transmission line, fuel source or generation facility.

And yet, that is exactly what is happening: New York is concentrating its risks on a single fuel: natural gas.

In 2018, I was lucky to get a tour of Indian Point. I walked through the hangar-like turbine hall of the Unit 2 reactor. After seeing it up close, I became convinced that Indian Point is one of New York’s most valuable assets.

It’s a marvel of engineering and ingenuity that should be appreciated alongside other iconic landmarks, like the Hoover Dam. Alas, the workers at Indian Point have already begun reducing the power output of Unit 2 in anticipation of the April 30 shutdown.

New Yorkers take cheap, abundant, reliable electricity as a given. Yet the coronavirus proves that black swans can have calamitous impacts on modern societies.

Amid the current devastation, Cuomo should immediately order that Indian Point remain online to help assure the reliability of electric supplies. And New Yorkers must hope that another black swan doesn’t alight on the electric grid and, in doing so, turn the current crisis into an even greater catastrophe.
New York Post

Indian Point

New York Has 1,300 Reasons Not To Close Indian Point
Robert Bryce
12 April 2020

At the end of this month, the Unit 2 reactor at the Indian Point Energy Center in Buchanan, New York will be permanently shut down. Next April, the final reactor at the site, Unit 3, will also be shuttered.

The premature closure of the nuclear plant is bad climate policy. The closure, which was announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2017, will increase reliance on natural gas-fired generators and in doing so increase the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. In 2013, when Michael Bloomberg was mayor of New York City, his administration estimated that closing Indian Point and replacing it with gas-fired generation will “increase New York City’s greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 15 percent.”

But the premature closure of the 2,069-megawatt nuclear plant is even worse land-use policy. Here’s why: replacing the 16 terawatt-hours of carbon-free electricity that is now being produced by the twin-reactor plant with wind turbines will require 1,300 times as much territory as what is now covered by Indian Point.

Energy policy and land-use policy are inextricable. Regulatory decisions about energy infrastructure – regardless of whether the project involves oil wells, power plants, or transmission lines – impact land use. And land-use restrictions, whether for residential development, parks, or open space, impact the types of energy infrastructure that can be built.

Land-use battles over renewable energy have been raging in New York for more than a decade. In 2007, after months of intense debate that pitted neighbors against each other, the town of Meredith elected a new town board that quickly enacted a ban on wind projects. The fight in Meredith became the focus of the documentary Windfall, which premiered in 2012. Since then, numerous other towns in the state have been battling the encroachment of Big Wind.

The towns of Yates and Somerset, along with three upstate counties — Erie, Orleans, and Niagara – have been actively fighting a proposed 200-megawatt project called Lighthouse Wind, which aims to put dozens of 600-foot-high turbines on the shores of Lake Ontario. Solar projects are also facing opposition. Last year, the town of Cambria rejected a proposed 100-megawatt solar project that would have covered about 900 acres with solar panels.

And the safe and reliable power source would be??..

7 thoughts on “Double Nightmare: New York’s Reliable Nuclear Power Plants Shutdown During Coronavirus Disaster

  1. It’s too bad that investigative reporting is dead.

    I doubt that Cuomo is suffering from zealotry, and I doubt that he fails to understand what his policies will do to the energy mix, availability and pricing in New York.

    Vast sums of money stand to be made by turning electricity from a reliable, steady consumer good, into a volatile, commodity-traded item which consumers are desperate to get despite the price.

    Natural gas’s market share will increase. Electricity prices will soar and become volatile, opening up another market for “smart” commodity traders. Vast sums will be made by bankers and investors.

    All that money will come out of the consumers’ pockets. How dare the consumer expect affordable, reliable electricity, when the free market begs for it to be commoditized so that the rich can get richer.

    So, the question is, how is Cuomo profiting from this swindle? Who has his hooks in Cuomo, or where is Cuomo’s money so that this pays off for him or his family?

    I guarantee you, there’s some place he or a relation stands to make huge profits by sucking the life out of his constituents.

  2. Just as NY Governor Cuomo doesn’t let common sense come before the blind zealotry he displays in the promotion of renewables nor it seems does it figure in his handling of the Wuhan virus crisis which leaves much to be desired.
    While Cuomo apparently has the ladies of the US glitterati set and the Lamestream Media swooning over how sexy he is, details are slowly emerging of alarmingly high WuFlu infection rates and death numbers in NY nursing homes.

  3. Hi STT,
    A colleague from Vermont, USA, Meredith Angwin (, reminded me a few days ago of what a colleague of hers, Peggy Noonan had said in a recent article. Wall Street journalist Peggy, seemingly ill with COVID-19, writing a column on 19 March 2020, about how the US will recover from this terrible calamity, tellingly, included the following:
    “There are a million warnings out there on a million serious things. We add one: Everything works—and will continue to work—as long as we have electricity. It’s what keeps the lights on, the oxygen flowing, the information going. Everything is the grid, the grid, the grid.”

    She gets it. But apparently New York’s Governor doesn’t. He is surrounded by this calamity, but seemingly still wants to allow the shutting down of the major generator that keeps the hospitals going.
    Complete and utter madness!

    Peggy Noonan’s article is at:
    Thanks STT, for the heads-up,
    Paul Miskelly

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