WASHINGTON, May 6, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- New York consumers will pay higher electricity costs and the state will lose an important tool to reduce air pollution if Exelon's R.E. Ginna nuclear power plant is forced to close early, the Nuclear Energy Institute warned in comments provided to the New York Public Service Commission.
The facility, located in Ontario, N.Y., could be forced to shut down prematurely due to a confluence of electricity market factors. NEI said the facility is a vital source of affordable electricity for 500,000 people and is a critical part of the state's diverse electricity portfolio.
The Ginna facility is one of six nuclear power units in New York that supply approximately 30 percent of the state's electricity, and approximately 60 percent of the state's carbon-free electricity. Ginna produced 4.6 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity in 2014, and operated at a capacity factor of 95.04 percent. Over the last 10 years, the facility has operated at more than 95 percent of capacity, which is above the industry average and significantly higher than all other forms of electric generation. In fact, the Ginna plant, by itself, produced as much electricity as approximately three-quarters of New York's renewable energy capacity (excluding hydro).
"If the Ginna nuclear power plant were to shut down prematurely, it would have to be replaced with other electric generating capacity capable of delivering electricity around the clock. In today's world, that replacement capacity would be natural gas-fired power plants," said Richard Myers, NEI's vice president of policy development. "Electricity produced at a new natural gas-fired power plant would be more costly than the Ginna plant, thereby penalizing New York consumers of electricity."
NEI's comments to the public service commission also address the job and economic benefits that would be lost if the Ginna facility closed. It includes a study of the economic benefits of the plant, developed by NEI earlier this year. The study found the Ginna provides 700 direct and 800 indirect jobs, and annually generates $358 million in direct economic benefits to New York.
The Ginna power plant is the largest taxpayer in Wayne County, paying more than $10 million in state and local property tax and sales tax in 2014. When calculating the total tax impact (direct and secondary), the plant's operations resulted in nearly $80 million in tax revenue to the local, state and federal governments.
"The study confirms that Ginna greatly strengthens the local, regional and state economies through job creation, tax payments, and direct and secondary spending," said Myers. "It also determined that Ginna prevents the release of more than 2 million tons of carbon dioxide annually (the equivalent of taking 400,000 cars off the road), which is an important factor for the state to reach its clean air objectives."
The Nuclear Energy Institute is the nuclear energy industry's policy organization. This news release and additional information about nuclear energy are available at www.nei.org.
CONTACT: Contact NEI's media relations staff at firstname.lastname@example.org, 202.739.8000 during business hours or 703.644.8805 after hours and weekends.
Source:Nuclear Energy Institute