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July 23, 2003

New York State can't afford to lose Indian Point's energy, experts say

Closing Indian Point Energy Center would drastically reduce New York’s electricity supply and have significant negative effects on the economy, according to experts.

Peter Huber, of the Manhattan Institute, and Mark Mills, from Digital Power Capital, validated concerns The Business Council has voiced since activists first began lobbying lawmakers to close the Westchester County plant.

“Powering New York is already a challenge. The city could not stay lit, much less grow or prosper, if we shut down our largest, safest, cleanest and most efficient power plant,” Huber and Mills wrote in a July 20 oped for the New York Daily News.

“More than 90 percent of the growth in U.S. demand since 1980 has been met by electricity,” the oped said. “Electricity powers industries and services that account for two-thirds of our gross domestic product—including the financial and information-centered businesses in New York.”

More than 60 percent of new capital spending in New York City is on information technology and the need for new electricity in that area has not slowed with the economy and is expected to rise 7 percent by 2008, the editorial said.

The Council has been vocal in its opposition to closing Indian Point.

“Indian Point power is among the lowest-cost electricity in New York,” Business Council President Daniel B. Walsh wrote in a May, 2002 letter to New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “To consider shutting it down without bringing new capacity on line is a certain prescription for brownouts at best.”

A February, 2002 report by The Public Policy Institute warned that New York already faces a dangerous energy gap. In that report, The Power to Grow, The Institute concluded that New York must add at least a dozen new power plants with capacity totaling at least 9,200 megawatts in the next five years.