New York burns more gas after closing Indian Point nuclear power plant
Campaigners hoped zero-carbon power sources would fill the gigawatt-sized gap in generation
New York’s Indian Point nuclear power plant has closed after 59 years of operation, leaving a two gigawatt-sized hole in the state’s power grid that will most likely be filled by unabated natural gas-fired power generation.
The story of Indian Point underscores the challenges facing US president Joe Biden’s hopes of achieving a 100% zero-carbon electricity sector by 2035.
Nuclear power economics have come under intense pressure from a flood of cheap American shale gas and renewables, which have weighed on wholesale electricity prices. And ageing nuclear plants face spiralling operating costs due to maintenance requirements and tightening safety regulations.
Indian Point sought support under New York’s zero-emissions credit (ZEC), a policy tool designed specifically to bail out the state’s struggling nuclear power stations.
But the power station was excluded on environmental grounds due to its proximity to New…