Governor Andrew Cuomo plans to put new energy regulations in place, making his clean energy goals into mandates from the Public Service Commission. By pushing utilities to obtain more of the power they distribute from less-polluting sources, state officials hope to delay the planned shutdown of two nuclear power plants on the shore of Lake Ontario.
Governor Cuomo’s new regulations would stipulate that by 2030, half of all power generated in New York State must come from renewable sources. This would help to further the governor’s vision of a 40 percent reduction in carbon emissions. It would also help to incentivize the use of nuclear power, which Cuomo has long framed as a major piece of transition.
While nuclear power is not renewable, it has fewer environmental repercussions than traditional energy sources. As a result, the state has long seen it as a way of powering New York State while the renewable energy industry develops. Cuomo administration officials hope the move will help keep the upstate nuclear power plants operating until 2030, by which point the energy policies they are implementing now will have created enough sources of renewable energy to supply half of the state’s needs.
Last year, New York’s six nuclear reactors supplied 30 percent of the state’s electricity. The loss of the Fitzpatrick nuclear plant would force the state to compensate with unclean alternatives, and eviscerate some 600 jobs. Although Entergy’s filing with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission seems to signal a definitive end, state and union officials continue to press the energy giant for a compromise.