Natural Gas NOW
The foolish idea the Indian Point nuclear station can be replaced by a bunch of solar farms offering expensive intermittent energy is exposed as a fraud.
Andrew Cuomo has been aching for the longest time to see the Indian Point nuclear station shut down. He browbeat it into agreeing to do so in a couple of years and has been promising he’d replace it with heavily subsidized Upstate solar farms and the like. It’s an incredibly stupid plan. It will take New York electricity prices even further into the stratosphere, but it’s politically correct in the bizarre world of the Hudson Valley where gentry class views trump heating lower and middle class homes. It isn’t solar that’s going to replace Indian Point, though, and that was just proved by an unplanned two-week temporary shut down that brought natural gas quietly to the rescue.
LoHud carried the story in an article published earlier today. Here is an accompanying video:
Here are some highlights from the story itself (emphasis added):
For more than two weeks, the Indian Point nuclear power plant failed to generate a single megawatt of power. And yet, in Westchester County and New York City, lights were burning, refrigerators were humming and phones were charging.
Behind the scenes, though, something occurred that made all that possible.
In the days after Indian Point powered down — a rare occurrence prompted by a malfunction in one reactor and scheduled spring maintenance in the other — the state’s electric grid pivoted.
With an assist from the grid’s overseers, the state’s energy resources shifted in a way that could offer a preview of what’s to come in the years ahead when Indian Point is scheduled to shut down for good.
Natural gas’ contribution to the grid ticked upward, while renewable wind and solar power continued to play a lesser role, according to an analysis of minute-by-minute data compiled by the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO), the nonprofit charged with making sure the state has enough energy…
On all but one of the seven days analyzed, natural gas’ contribution to the state’s grid increased, while nuclear power decreased all seven days. The day after the shutdown natural gas’ contribution decreased by 45 megawatts.
The largest increase in natural gas’ contribution during that time span came on March 18 when it was at 3,581 megawatts, nearly 750 megawatts more than its 2,837 megawatts contribution on March 13, two days before the shutdown…
A snapshot in time taken from NYISO’s real-time dashboard, which is updated every five minutes, offers some insight into the state’s current fuel mix.
For example, on Monday afternoon, wind and solar contributed about 6.5 percent of the state’s energy mix while another renewable, hydropower, was at 28.43 percent, NYISO data show. New York has the largest hydroelectric plant east of the Rockies in Niagara Falls…
Natural gas and dual fuels combined for about 46 percent of the mix while nuclear fuel accounted for about 20 percent…
In a 2017 report on the impact of Indian Point’s looming shutdown, the NYISO said three natural gas plants either online or soon to be would add more than 1,800 megawatts of the energy to the grid and help close the 2,000-megawatt gap left when Indian Point shuts down in 2021.
Lessons don’t get much clearer than this. It’s natural gas that gets the job done when nuclear is unavailable. New York State is also fortunate to have access to an exceptional amount of hydroelectric power that couldn’t be created anew today. The Storm King fiasco proved that. Nuclear is going to happen anew in New York either. It’s too expensive and it’s even more NIMBY vulnerable than new dams would be. That’s why Cuomo doesn’t want Indian Point in his Westchester backyard. There’s no way.
What’s left are solar and wind (an irrelevant 6.5% ought at huge consumer expense) and natural gas, which will be over 50% when Indian Point closes. And, even if solar and wind grow, they too will have to be backed up by gas. A powerful lesson, indeed, but don’t count on Hudson Valley types getting it. There’s no way, not until the power goes out a few times.
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