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Bailout of NY Nuclear Power

July 19, 2016 by pegjohnston

A landmark energy policy decision is about to made in New York, and unfortunately, it’s going the wrong direction. Over the last several months, the New York Public Service Commission has been considering a “Clean Energy Standard” to ensure that utilities are required to buy renewable energy and get the state to its 50% renewable energy by 2030 goal. Unfortunately, the plan also includes a requirement that utilities (and their customers) buy nuclear energy, and that we pay a premium for that nuclear power. Under the plan, Exelon Corporation would receive massive $7.6 billion subsidy in order to bail out unprofitable nuclear plants in upstate NY.

Supporters are being urged to write a letter to Governor Cuomo, NYS Energy Czar Richard Kauffman, and PSC Chair Audrey Zibelman about this massive nuclear bailout and a series of important questions that we need the Administration to answer. Organizations and elected officials are welcome to sign.

Thousands of New Yorkers have submitted comments supporting the renewable energy goals and opposing the nuclear subsidies. We also submitted a letter to Governor Cuomo signed by over 110 organizations opposing the nuclear subsidies. But it hasn’t been enough to counter the nuclear industry’s pressure. On July 8th, a new version of the nuclear bailout proposal was released and it’s even worse than the original. The proposed subsidies for nuclear plants went up from $270 million to $7.6 billion and the state would lock in these subsidies for the next 12 years. The public has been given just 10 business days to comment – until Friday, July 22nd.

Still, the Public Service Commission has done almost no analysis to answer basic questions that New Yorkers have about this plan to give Exelon Corporation almost $8 billion of our money. To our knowledge, they have not studied alternatives or shown that this is really necessary. Our sign-on letter addresses this issue and asks a series of pertinent questions.

 No public agency should fast-track an uncompetitive subsidy to one company like this – especially when so much is at stake. This plan would put twice the amount of money into nuclear bailouts as it would toward renewable energy. It’s a huge blow to our renewable energy future and to the ability of our residents, businesses, and municipalities to be able to afford electricity.

--Alliance for Green Economy

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