Are Green and Nuclear real adversaries?

If you live in New York State, let’s talk…

We have all heard about Global Warming and of course Green Energy but if you live in NYS you might not be aware of what lurks around the corner in April 2021. Governor Cuomo, much like his father, has an issue with some Nuclear Power. Sure, it’s less expensive and cleaner and safer to animals then its green counterparts but please ignore those facts.

Some background: Former Governor Mario Cuomo, in 1989, decommissioned the Shoreham nuclear power plan on Long Island and in 1992, the $6 Billion facility was sold to NYC for $1. It has been reported that cost was passed on to the LI Tax payers as a 3% surcharge on electric bills. Moral of story: ratepayers were paying higher power bills, for years. In fact, history now proves that the decommission cost Long Islanders 16% of their energy bill to pay for a $7 BILLION debt, for years. The anti-nuclear power group concluded the sad news to be that today, that power plant is taking up ‘valuable real estate’. Not to worry however, our current Governor Cuomo wants to study the feasibility of a deep-water port on that valuable property, to the tune of $1 million or so. It should be mentioned any potential port would require a large financial investment. I suppose it is no wonder why NY pays the highest electric rates in the nation.

Flash forward to 2017 and not to be outdone, current Governor Andrew Cuomo has made it a priority to shut down Indian Point, the plant that generates more than 2,000 megawatts (or about one fourth of the power consumed in NYC) opting for power from windfarms and solar panels. Good friend Mayor Bill De Blasio should be asking for a subsidy any moment now.

In truth, NY produces more electricity from dams than any other state and has made advances in solar and wind but renewables along cannot make up the gap when Indian Point shuts down and that’s no secret.

Although solar power has tripled in the state with 19 large scale wind farms, they produce only a quarter of the electricity Indian Point does and they do not operate continuously. To operate continuously, those wind turbines would have to be replaced with electricity created by burning natural gas, which will produce more carbon emissions and fracking, which has been banned in NY. NY’s Clean Energy Standard mandates 50 percent of the state’s energy must come from renewable sources by 2030. Do the math, it’s not adding up.

When Cuomo announced his Clean Energy Standard he noted the benefits of upstate nuclear plants and that without them “carbon emissions in NY will increase by more than 31 million metric tons during the next two years with a public health and societal costs of at least $1.4 billion.”

Regarding closing Indian Point it is estimated we would be increasing those same carbon emissions by 8.5 million metric tons as we move to natural gas powered electric generation. Hmmm. Hypocrisy anyone?

Did you know, even with those 19 wind farms operating today, they only generate up to roughly 2,000 MW (megawatts) which is only 3% of the state’s energy demand? Sure sounds we are heading towards President Obama’s “Under my plan…electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.”

Closing Indian Point means higher energy costs for customers a/k/a us. Nearby schools and Westchester County will run out of tax dollars. Westchester County to the tune of over $4 million or roughly 1 percent of the county’s tax base, and Hendrick Hudson Schools to the tune of one-third the districts, effects the county’s annual $75.8 million operating budget. And let us not forget the poor, the ones who will be hardest hit. In short, nuclear energy has played a vital role in keeping taxes down and the lights on.

Looking on down the road it appears NY will see ‘necessarily sky rocketing costs’ to cover the plants decommission and of course support of green energy. Cap and Trade might be dead to the nation but it appears it’s alive and well in NY.

Given the facts one must ask, when looking at Green vs Nuclear, why must they be adversaries? If we assume that solar and wind power alone can power NY, we are being dangerously optimistic. If some nuclear is good and another bad, one must take pause. Next generation nuclear offers the lowest costs and greater safety then our current generation of plants, this is true, but given the ongoing debate of global warming, why can’t they work together? Can our world not have windmills, solar panels AND nuclear energy to keep costs as low as possible? Of course they could. So, what gives?

Lisa Douglas
is a Christian Conservative American, USN Veteran and mother of 5 productive children. Lisa keeps a watchful eye on both local and national politics bringing a close up and personal view of each piece of proposed legislation and how it will effect us.