Home Economic Development Report: Indian Point closure could mean 3,300 jobs lost

Report: Indian Point closure could mean 3,300 jobs lost

A new report on the future of Indian Point Energy Center commissioned by the Business Council of Westchester warns the plant’s closure could result in more than 3,000 jobs lost and more than $11.5 billion in lost economic output in the downstate region over a 20-year period.

The report, authored by Howard J. Axelrod, president of Albany-based consulting firm Energy Strategies Inc., also concludes that electricity rates would increase by 6.3 percent should Indian Point be replaced by an equivalent amount of natural-gas generation, which he said would result in consumers paying $374 million more in electricity costs annually.

The Buchanan nuclear power plant, owned by Entergy Corp., has been the subject of much discussion after the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) and the New York State Energy Planning Board issued reports earlier this month that disagreed over whether the state could meet peak capacity requirements without Indian Point.

Entergy has applied for license renewals for the plant’s two nuclear reactors with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, with the current licenses expiring in 2013 and 2015.

Axelrod discussed the report at a Sept. 7 panel discussion held at the Hilton Westchester in Rye Brook, and sponsored by the Business Council and the Westchester Business Alliance, which includes the Building and Realty Institute, the Construction Industry Council, and the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors.

Entergy is a member of the Business Council, but Axelrod said the company had no role in the drafting of the report, with the exception of providing employment and salary figures.

“Without Indian Point, our reliability will be seriously impacted,” Axelrod said, noting that no new generators or transmission lines are currently under construction in the Hudson Valley.

The probability for “significant electrical outages” could increase by 280 percent by 2020 without Indian Point, the report states.

Axelrod himself penned a similar report on the future of Indian Point four years ago. In the time since, “nothing has been done” that could serve to replace the 2,065 megawatts generated at Indian Point, he said.

Moreover, he said, there is little incentive for developers to submit proposals for new generators or transmission lines with the plant’s future yet to be determined.

“Who’s going to invest now … until we know for certain whether it’s going to operate or not,” he said.

The only certainty, he said, is that more than 3,000 jobs would be lost if the plant were to close.

Entergy has 1,200 full-time employees at Indian Point, in addition to about 200 contractors who work at the site on a daily basis.

Additionally, Axelrod said thousands of jobs in the surrounding areas depend on Indian Point.

The report also notes that Entergy pays roughly $75 million a year in property taxes and related fees to the state, in addition to contributing about $2 million annually to local charities.

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