New York to set 50pc renewable target

OREANDA-NEWS. November 25, 2015. New York governor Andrew Cuomo (D) will direct state utility regulators to set a 50pc by 2030 renewable energy requirement in an effort to prop up aging nuclear capacity slated for closure.

The governor will issue a directive to the Public Service Commission for the 50pc target early next year, a Cuomo administration official told Argus.

The mandate will be designed to help buoy two nuclear facilities — Exelon's 581MW Ginna and Entergy's 838MW FitzPatrick plants — that are scheduled for retirement in the coming years because of higher operating costs that make them less competitive against natural gas-fired generation.

"This is a bridge that will be counted as renewables into 2030," the official said. "You need nuclear in order to facilitate the development of these renewables."

The proposal would add nuclear to other renewable sources under the existing 15pc by 2015 standard that include hydroelectric, wind, solar and biomass.

The wrapping up of the 2015 target and a state goal to cut CO2 emissions by 40pc from 1990 levels by 2030 are also factors in the governor's directive, the official said.

The state's competitive generators welcomed the proposal as a positive step for the sector.

"The clean energy standard as proposed by the governor is an important and forward-looking approach that will help attract investment in renewables and address market problems that need fixing," Independent Power Producers of New York president and chief executive Gavin Donohue said.

New York in August sourced 3,927GWh, or 30pc, of generation from nuclear sources, according to US Energy Information Administration data. Natural gas-fired plants accounted for 47pc of the monthly generation mix. Hydroeletric comprised about 18pc.

Entergy last month said it would retire its FitzPatrick plant by 2017 because of "deteriorating economics," while Exelon reached a deal in February with Rochester Gas & Electric, which will pay \\$17.5mn/month to keep the Ginna plant on line through September 2018.

Renewable energy advocates also praised the governor's proposal.

"Governor Cuomo's plan to implement a 50pc renewable portfolio standard represents a strong endorsement for solar power as part of a responsible approach to a clean energy future," Solar Energy Industry Association president Rhone Resch said.