Got Juice?

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Last week I met with a university energy manager formerly an engineer with Con Ed. The discussion came around to Indian Point and the flow of power along the Hudson River corridor.

Since the September 11, 2001 attacks on the Trade Center, many in the New York City area have become concerned about the possible consequences of a similar attack on Entergy’s Indian Point nuclear power plants located about 40 miles from Manhattan, and have made calls for their closure. Closure would require actions to replace the 2000 MW of power supplied by the plants. To examine this issue in detail, Congress directed DOE to request a study from the NRC of options for replacing the power. Detailed review of both demand and supply options for replacing that power was performed.

Here are the demand side stats for Lower Hudson Valley (LHV), New York City (NYC), Long Island (LI), and all New York State (NYS), as compiled/projected by the NYISO in 2005-2006:

TABLE 2-1 Weather-Normalized Annual Electricity Use, Past and Forecast, in Gigawatt-Hours per Year, for Three New York Regions and Statewide, Selected Years from 1993 Through 2015

Year LHV: Zones G, H, Ia NYC: Zone J LI: Zone K NYS: NYCA
1993 16,411 41,828 17,667 144,471
1997 16,206 44,676 18,185 148,008
2001 17,207 49,912 20,728 155,523
2005 19,625 52,836 23,178 164,050
2009 20,775 56,345 25,258 174,290
2013 22,610 58,949 26,598 180,710
2015 23,608 59,717 26,961 182,880
Growth per year:
1993-2004 1.421% 2.071% 2.222% 1.004%
2004-2015 1.913% 1.194% 1.659% 1.151%
aNYCA, New York Control Area; Zone G, Hudson Valley; Zone H, Northern Westchester County; Zone I, rest of Westchester County. SOURCE: Adapted from NYISO (2005a), p. 25.

TABLE 2-2 Weather-Normalized Summer Peak Power, Past and Forecast, in Megawatts, for Three New York Regions and Statewide, Selected Years from 1993 Through 2015

Year LHV: Zones G, H, Ia NYC: Zone J LI: Zone K NYS: NYCA
1993 3,337 8,365 3,595 27,000
1997 3,650 9,609 4,273 28,400
2001 4,421 10,424 4,901 30,780
2005 4,410 11,315 5,230 31,960
2009 4,849 11,965 5,580 33,770
2013 5,331 12,426 5,981 35,180
2015 5,590 12,648 6,112 35,670
Growth per year:
1993-2004 2.365% 2.610% 3.270% 1.382%
2004-2015 2.380% 1.190% 1.618% 1.166%
aNYCA, New York Control Area; Zone G, Hudson Valley; Zone H, Northern Westchester County; Zone I, rest of Westchester County. SOURCE: Adapted from NYISO (2005a), p. 26.Replacing Indian Point would be likely to involve a portfolio of the options (discussed in Chapters 2 and 3 of the NYISO report), including the following:

  • Energy efficiency (EE);
  • Demand-side management (DSM) and distributed generation (DG);
  • Fuller utilization of existing generation and transmission, and deferred plant retirements;
  • New generation; and
  • New transmission.

The NYISO did not model the actions and policy initiatives that would be required to implement the supply and demand options. The early-shutdown cases in particular would require some strong measures to be implemented immediately.

Different portfolios are possible, emphasizing different options. Exactly which ones would be implemented and where would make a big difference in how well the system would operate. Example scenarios were adopted to illustrate options that could provide alternatives to the Indian Point units, should they be retired. To assist the NYISO with the analysis, GE was retained.

TABLE 5-2 Additional Generating Capacity Assumed in Reference Case

Project Capacity (MW) NYCA Zonea Online Date
SCS Astoria Energy 500 J Jan 08
Caithness 383 K Jan 08
Long Island Wind 15b K Jan 08*
Bowline Point 750 G Jan 10
Wawayanda 540 G Jan 13
Generic Combined Cycle 580 H Jan 13
Reliant Astoria I 367 J Jan 15
Reliant Astoria II 173 J Jan 15
Total Power 3,308

* LI Wind not operational as of August 2009.

The NYISO explored the consequences of additional scenarios, but in less detail, only looking at 2015. These included:

  1. A 1,000 MW north-south high-voltage direct-current (HVDC) transmission line running from the Marcy Substation (near Utica in Zone E) to Rock Tavern (in Zone G, south of the current transmission bottlenecks), assumed to be operational in 2012. Cases b3 and c3 represent the early retirement and end-of-license (EOL) retirement of the Indian Point units with this HVDC cable resource in place. The inference drawn from the results is that with such a north-south transmission option, using excess power upstate and from out of state, the potential generating resource needed downstate might be reduced from 1,100 MW to 300 MW.
  2. Higher market penetration of energy efficiency and demand-side management, Cases b4 and c4, for early and EOL shutdown scenarios, respectively. This scenario included 1,200 MW of energy efficiency and 800 MW of DSM load-reduction measures for a net 1,950 MW reduction of peak load by 2015, mainly in the New York City area. Demand would continue to grow, but at a low rate (390 MW growth compared with 2,340 MW without the EE/DSM measures). No additional capacity beyond the Reference Case would be necessary, as the additional EE and DSM measures would compensate for Indian Point. EE/DSM measures of this magnitude would require significant, aggressive early attention by the New York State government and a high fraction of all electricity users.
  3. Sensitivity to higher fuel prices. The systems modeled were the same as in the earlier scenarios, so reliability analysis was not necessary. The committee included this analysis to estimate the approximate economic impact of higher fuel prices. The price projections used in other scenarios are lower than recent prices, and it seems plausible that gas and oil prices could remain much higher.

The alternatives to Indian Point recommissioning are limited without substantial demand-side management, particularly in regards to power for NYC. Perhaps NYISO/NRC/DOE can follow-up by addressing the impact on demand of the vacant 38,000,000 square feet of commercial space in midtown.

National Academies Press has a $40. paperback of the NYISO study titled: Alternatives to the Indian Point Energy Center for Meeting New York Electric Power Needs.

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