North Country Sen. Griffo wants immediate implementation of clean energy standards at nuclear facilities
Wednesday, June 22, 2016 - 6:01 am

North Country Sen. Joseph Griffo, chairman of the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee, is calling for the immediate implementation of the portion of the Clean Energy Standard that relates to nuclear facilities.

Expeditiously establishing the nuclear tier of the Clean Energy Standard (CES) would ensure that New York’s fleet of nuclear facilities remains viable by recognizing their clean energy contributions, Senator Griffo said.

Over the past 10 to 15 years, New York State has excelled in the energy sector by reducing emissions from power plants, increasing our renewable power generation and improving our overall clean energy footprint, Senator Griffo explained. Therefore, New York is well-positioned to meet the goals of the proposed federal Clean Power Plan by continuing to improve upon that success.

During the past six months, industry and government stakeholders have provided their expertise in the discussions and analysis necessary to establish a Clean Energy Standard in New York, Senator Griffo said. This proposed standard would recognize nuclear generation for its energy contributions that include: no carbon generation, 24/7 operation, reliability, fuel diversity and full-time operating capacity factors that exceed 90 percent.

Senator Griffo (R-C-I, Rome) said: “There are many opinions about how best to go forward with the broader Clean Energy Standard and, in particular, how to do so in the most cost-effective way for consumers. We need to slow down and evaluate the full CES more carefully in order to reach our goals while protecting ratepayers. But it’s fair to say there is one thing everyone agrees on, and that’s the pressing need to make sure that our nuclear fleet does not retire prematurely due to current economic conditions in the energy sector.”

According to the Public Service Commission (PSC), such an outcome would have catastrophic effects on the environment, such as backtracking on greenhouse gases, loss of fuel diversity and base-load generation in the energy market. Shuttering these facilities would also severely impact the economy of New York State, particularly the hundreds of jobs supported by nuclear generators in Upstate New York, Griffo added.

Senator Griffo said, “The Clean Energy Standard has much potential to further diversify our energy portfolio. But, our upstate nuclear generators won’t be willing to invest millions of dollars into their operations unless they are confident the CES proposal will recognize their important contributions to clean energy, along with the hundreds of jobs and price stability they provide.”

Senator Griffo was joined by several legislators that host nuclear generators in their districts, such as Fitzpatrick, Ginna and Nine Mile, as well as stakeholders in the industry, in advocating for an expeditious implementation of the nuclear portion of CES, called “Tier 3.”