The Indian Point Energy Center permanently stopped generating electricity on 30 April when it retired its last operating nuclear reactor, Unit 3, earlier than originally planned. The power plant began operations in 1962 and produced over 565 TWh in the 59 years it was open. The Unit 3 retirement removes almost 1040 MWe of capacity from New York State, leaving about 3200 MW of remaining nuclear capacity at three plants in upstate New York.
Indian Point is located in Buchanan, New York state. The plant consisted of three pressurised water reactors. Unit 1 began operations in 1962 and shut down in 1974. Units 2 and 3 began operations in 1974 and 1976, respectively; Unit 2 retired in April 2020. Indian Point’s owner-operator, Entergy, retired Units 2 and 3 before their operating licences expired as part of a settlement agreement with New York State.
New York’s 2019 Clean Energy Standard (CES) requires utilities and other retail electricity suppliers in the state to obtain 100% of the electricity they sell from carbon-free sources by 2040. In addition to renewables such as wind and solar, New York’s CES recognises nuclear power plants as zero emission sources.
Indian Point Unit 3 was one of New York’s 10 largest electricity generators; it produced over 270 TWh of carbon-free electricity since it began operating. Because of Indian Point Unit 3’s retirement, a large amount of new carbon-free generating capacity will need to come online to help meet the state’s CES goal.
Entergy had been seeking a 20 year licence renewal for units 2 and 3 since 2007. However, New York challenged the renewals, citing environmental and safety concerns resulting from the plant’s nearness to New York City. Low wholesale electricity prices and increased operating costs also contributed to Entergy’s decision to retire Indian Point early.