For immediate release
[Albany, NY – July 8] On Friday afternoon, July 8, the Department of Public Service issued a new proposal for how the state should subsidize unprofitable nuclear power plants in Upstate New York. The proposal would dramatically change the formula – and the price tag – for the nuclear bailout program under consideration this summer by the Public Service Commission at the request of Governor Cuomo.
Instead of taking into account nuclear reactors’ individual costs and targeting subsidies to help them break even, as had been previously proposed, the new proposal bases subsidies on the “social cost of carbon.” The new formula is simpler to calculate, but likely much more expensive.
The new proposal is likely an attempt for the Department of Public Service to address some of the legal issues with the nuclear tier that parties have been raising in the case.
But in a legal memorandum also filed in the case today by Alliance for a Green Economy and the Nuclear Information and Resource Service, the nuclear tier suffers from multiple legal deficiencies that are unlikely to be remedied from superficial changes to the policy.
The memorandum raises concerns that the Governor overreached his authority in directing the Public Service Commission to create a program to save financially struggling nuclear reactors. It also points out how vulnerable the policy is to legal challenge by Entergy Corporation, the owner of Indian Point. The Indian Point reactors are being carved out of the policy, which is meant only to benefit upstate reactors. The Governor wants to shut the Indian Point reactors, while keeping upstate reactors open. Entergy has threatened to sue over the policy, claiming the proposal to leave out its facility is arbitrary and capricious.
In a statement issued today, Alliance for a Green Economy and Nuclear Information and Resource Service said:
“The new proposal filed today by the Department of Public Service seems like an ill-conceived attempt to salvage a legally questionable policy that suffers from no technical or policy rationale.
“This new proposal doesn’t change the fact that the Public Service Commission and the Governor are still intending to throw away billions of dollars on uneconomical dirty nuclear plants, when that money should be going toward renewables and efficiency. What New York needs is a plan for real long term decarbonization of our energy system, not short-sighted bailouts for an industry that has proven economically and environmentally disastrous.
“Every time we turn around the price tag of the nuclear subsidies keeps going up. This new proposal will cost more over the first 2 years than the Department of Public Service estimated the first 7 years of their previous proposal would cost.”
Sources: Alliance for a Green Economy, www.allianceforagreeneconomy.org
Nuclear Information and Resource Service, www.nirs.org
NOTE TO EDITORS AND PRODUCERS: Copies of the legal memorandum are available on request. Sources are available for interviews, including over the weekend. They include Jessica Azulay, Program Director ,Alliance for a Green Economy; Richard Brodsky, attorney, former State Assemblyman, author of legal memorandum; and Tim Judson, Executive Director, Nuclear Information & Resource Service. To request a copy of the memorandum or to arrange an interview, please use the media contacts listed above
Contacts: Jessica Azulay firstname.lastname@example.org
Stephen Kent, email@example.com, 914-589-5988