CORTLANDT, NY — The closure of Indian Point is an economic decision based on three factors: lower revenues, higher operating costs, and the expense of the relicensing struggle, Entergy officials said in a press conference Monday.
While the cost of 10 years of litigation as the company struggled to get Units 2 and 3 relicensed was a factor, there was no single thing that caused the decision, said Bill Mohl, president of Entergy Wholesale Commodities; the company continually assesses revenues and expenses.
Mohl pointed out the record low price in 2016 of $28 a megawatt hour when 10 years ago prices were in the $70-90 range.
"As you think about it from a revenue perspective you can't afford to take that kind of hit," he said.
"Simply put, that's inadequate to continue to operate the facility," he said. "Lost revenue, extra expenses contribute. We came to the conclusion the plant was no longer financially viable."
Operating costs were the second factor, he said.
"The cost of operating a nuclear power plant has been higher than expected, running well above inflation for a number of years," he said. "We're exiting the merchant market, specially the nuclear merchant market. We had made decisions already to shut down all our other nuclear plants."
The third factor was the cost of the prolonged re-licensing fight, which has been going on for 10 years with no end in sight.
"We'd spent over $200 million in an effort to relicense with more to go," he said. "Normally it takes 2-3 years. It's important to note that the other plants in New York got their licenses in 3 years."
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who announced his opposition to the plant relicensing in 2011, is making the closure a top item in his State of the State speeches this week. He is entitled to his opinion, Mohl said. "I want to be sure you understand that the decision to shut down the plant was ours and ours alone. New York State did not shut down Indian Point."
Attending the press conference was Cortlandt Town Supervisor Linda Puglisi, who expressed the anger of local officials for the lack of consultation and the fact that they had heard about it first Friday afternoon from the New York Times.
The Times article was nothing Entergy intended, Mohl said. "We cannot comment on those types of things when we're in negotiations, due to SEC restrictions."
He pointed out that 10 nuclear plants have closed across the country and predicted more to come, with an effect on the reliability of electricity and its carbon footprint, unless other states follow New York with its comprehensive energy plan which is subsidizing upstate nuclear plants.
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