Entergy sale of upstate nuclear plant to Exelon gets state OK

By Ryan Deffenbaugh

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A $110 million deal to sell the only other nuclear plant in New York controlled by Indian Point Energy Center operator Entergy Corp. was approved Thursday by state regulators.

The New York State Public Service Commission approved the deal Thursday that will transfer the operating license for James A. Fitzpatrick Nuclear Power Plant in Oswego County from Entergy to Chicago-based Exelon Corp.

screen-shot-2016-11-18-at-12-22-16-pmEntergy announced last year that it would shut down the money-losing Fitzpatrick plant, a move that Gov. Andrew Cuomo opposed, citing the 600 jobs the community would lose. After Cuomo announced plans for zero-emission credits to help keep upstate nuclear plants financially viable, Entergy started on plans to sell the plant to Exelon.

With the deal, Exelon controls all three upstate plants that will receive the zero-emission credits. The company owns another nuclear plant next door to Fitzpatrick, Nine Mile Point, and the R. E. Ginna Nuclear Power Plant in Wayne County.

“Our finding today is that the public will be well-served by the transfer of ownership of Fitzpatrick,”
said Public Service Commission Chairperson Audrey Zibelman. “Exelon has an excellent track record as the owner of nuclear power plants and we fully expect it will operate Fitzpatrick in a safe and reliable fashion.”

The nuclear subsidy was offered as part Cuomo’s Clean Energy Standard, which mandates the state receive 50 percent of its energy through renewable sources by 2030. The plan designates up to $965 million over two years to keep endangered nuclear reactors in service while the state builds up its renewable energy infrastructure.

The subsidy will reassessed every two years but could end up costing more than $7 billion over 12 years by some estimates. The plan has been challenged in federal court by a collection of trade groups and competing energy companies.

Buchanan’s Indian Point was left out of the Clean Energy Standard becasue the PSC did not declare it to be in any financial danger.

The Oswego nuclear plant deal still requires approval at the federal level from the U.S. Department of Justice, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

 

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About the author

Ryan Deffenbaugh covers energy, education, food and beverage and the Sound Shore for the Westchester County Business Journal. He previously worked for Westchester Magazine and The Citizen daily newspaper (Auburn, N.Y.). He started with the Westchester County Business Journal in March 2016.

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