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Indian Point To Close by 2021

  1. Jan 7, 2017 #1

    anorlunda

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    http://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/06/nyregion/indian-point-nuclear-power-plant-shutdown.html

    This is very big news for a power engineer like me. I thought I would share it on PF and explain what the engineering implications are.
    • Indian Point's nameplate rating is 2083 MWe
    • Power supply for the NYC metropolitan area (with 25 million people) is very constrained and considered very critical since Manhattan is considered ground zero for much of the country's commerce.
    • Mountains, bodies of water, and dense cities contribute to the constraints.
    • For more than 40 years, government has been saying "No" to major new transmission to bring power into NYC. Today's grid makes the Hudson Valley a transmission bottleneck. Indian Point is located on the city-side of that bottleneck, so it is vital to the electric reliability of NYC and Long Island, both economically and also from a grid stability point of view.
    • Natural gas into NYC is limited to a single pipeline, so quantity is limited and reliability challenged. Even today there are times when the local utilities are ordered to burn dirty oil rather than clean gas because the grid could not survive the single-point failure contingency of loss of that gas pipeline.
    • Local reliability rules are among the most stringent in the world. There are requirements for minimum quantities of in-city generation and on-island generation for Manhattan.
    • Obviously, cutting new paths for major transmission through such densely populated areas is extremely hard to do. Therefore it is also obvious that the best location for an Indian Point replacement would be at the Indian Point site to make use of the existing transmission and to stabilize the grid. That site is not very good for wind or solar.
    • There will be intense political pressure to make the replacements renewable.
    • The whole downstate NY region has relatively poor wind resources. Offshore on the south side of Long Island would be the best location for wind.
    • If 100% of the 2083 MWe was replaced by renewables, then it would need a 2083 MWe fast-response backup power. The only way I can imagine doing that would be to put 2083 MWe of gas turbines at the Indian Point site. They would have to run for more than 50% (my guess 80%) of the hours in a year. 25-40% overcapacity would have to be built-in to allow for failures and maintenance.
    • http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy13osti/56290.pdf says about 6 acres of land per MWe for solar. 6*2083=2498 acres of land or about 12 ##km^2##, or 3 times the size of Central Park. Figure 1 times Central Park's area for on-Manhattan's share of the total.
    • To make the 2021 deadline, new sources of power must be proposed, financed, designed, permitted, constructed, tested and put in production within 5 years. Normally, the permitting process alone takes more than 5 years.
    • http://www.chpexpress.com/ This proposed $2.2 billion Champlain Hudson Power Project could bring 1000 MWe of hydro power from Quebec to Manhattan. It depends on laying HVDC cables under Lake Champlain and on the Hudson River bed. If that counts as renewable and sufficiently reliable, it could be a blessing in this situation. It could also be a money printing machine for investors because the price of energy is much higher in Manhattan than in Quebec. Nevertheless, private equity financing by The Blackstone Group, and the engineering design must both be considered iffy at this point.
    IMO, to meet the 2021 deadline is a colossal challenge, for power engineering but renewable power in particular. This will be the test case to dwarf all test cases with the eyes of the entire world watching. It could be a giant success, or a total disaster. The outcome will have a big influence on world energy policies for the rest of the 21st century. Need I add more superlatives?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 7, 2017 #2

    phinds

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    I predict that political meddling will trump scientific good sense. In fact, I think that's almost a given. I just hope it doesn't end up being a disaster.
     
  4. Jan 7, 2017 #3

    Astronuc

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    Cuomo's hyperbolic statement, “Why you would allow Indian Point to continue to operate defies common sense, planning and basic sanity,” is unfortunate. He sounds a bit like DJ Trump, and he demonstrates lack of common sense. Indian Point is quite safe. As far as I know, older spent fuel is placed in secure dry storage casks, which are designed appropriately to keep spent fuel safe.

    NY State in it's lack of wisdom and fairness has imposed a 6% surcharge on electricity in order to fund/subsidize new electrical generation in the southern Hudson Valley. Meanwhile, the state has discouraged new transmission lines and imported electricity from Quebec. The generators in W. NY complained that they could not compete against cheaper power from Canada/Quebec. So much for competition.

    The deregulation of the electrical power industry in NY never realized the promised competition or reduction in price. Clearly, those who did the deals made out like bandits, and left the economic burden to the public/consumers.

    There have been to put a 1 GWe or 2 GWe fas-fired (probably combined cycle) generation plant in Dutchess County in the Harlem Valley over by the border with Connecticut. Met with the same kind of NIMBY opposition as IP.
     
  5. Jan 7, 2017 #4

    anorlunda

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    I don't understand why you say that. Ontario Hydro and Hydro Quebec are among the competitors. The energy markets should have no home state or national border biases.

    NY consumers will get low cost hydro. Ditto for New England. Why is that not a better deal for consumers than those W. NY generators offered?

    Deregulation and the energy markets is not the whole story. New York State still has a terrible anti-corporate reputation and one of the most corrupt state governments. Any businessman must think twice or thrice before investing in NY.

    Anyone who promised specific trends in future prices is a fool. Anyone who believed that is a bigger fool.

    I'm not aware of anyone who made out like a bandit on those deals. It is not clear to me.
     
  6. Jan 7, 2017 #5

    mathman

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    There is an out to the closing. If New York State and Entergy agree that there is not enough power available by 2021, the plants would remain open for a few more years.
     
  7. Jan 7, 2017 #6

    Astronuc

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    As you mentioned, NY State has a corrupt government, which protects costlier generation as opposed to promoting competition with less expensive electricity from Canada. It would be great to get low cost electricity from Quebec, but the state government doesn't seem interested.

    The lawyers and financiers who did the deals where utilities sold off generation and became T&D companies, which buy power from the grid. That contributed to bringing down the entire NE power grid back in 2003, at least in our area, because our utility could (or did) not isolate itself and use its own local generation.
     
  8. Jan 7, 2017 #7

    anorlunda

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    I can agree with that.

    It is sicker than just money. Cuomo is furious that NYISO (which is regulated by FERC) is in charge rather than the state PSC (under Cuomo's control) and that he has zero percent influence over NYISO. He is likely to do almost any irrational thing just to appear to be the king in charge. In 50 years, I've never seen a man more consumed by ego than Andrew Cuomo, not even Trump.
     
  9. Jan 7, 2017 #8

    Astronuc

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    I could agree with that.
     
  10. Jan 30, 2017 #9

    mheslep

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    The NYT reported a couple days after the announcement that Cuomo claims "wind farms" and "other" renewables will replace the 2 GW from Indian Point. Sure. Wind replacement would entail some 6 GW of wind farm, and as Anorlunda points out the 2 GW of backup is *still* required.

    It turns out the partial replacement for Indian Point is already under construction, a new 650 MW gas plant, some 20 miles northwest of Indian Point at Wawayanda, Orange County, NY. Also underway are the bribery indictments by a US Attorney of former Cuomo minions connected to the plant owner, CPV.

    http://www.politico.com/states/new-...y-sues-state-over-delay-in-cpv-project-107827
    http://www.newsday.com/news/region-...rk-may-be-stalled-by-federal-probe-1.11779881
     
  11. Jan 30, 2017 #10

    Astronuc

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    Par for New York. :rolleyes:
     
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