Nuclear Matters Statement on Vote to Implement First of Its Kind Clean Energy Standard in New York That Values Carbon-Free Energy Generated by Nuclear Plants

Washington, D.C.(August 1, 2016) – Today, the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) voted on a provision within the Clean Energy Standard (CES) that would value the emission-free energy that New York’s nuclear energy plants provide in recognition of the fact that these facilities are a critical bridge to meeting the state's goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent and generate half of New York's electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

"Today's vote helps officially cement New York’s status as a clean energy leader by properly valuing the carbon-free energy that existing nuclear power plants provide. In addition to ensuring ample opportunity for more wind, solar, and energy efficiency, the state, in recognizing the important role of existing carbon-free nuclear power, can set the standard for a comprehensive approach to a low-carbon energy portfolio and will encourage other policymakers and regulators to similarly value nuclear energy for its clean air benefits,” said Carol Browner, former EPA Administrator and Nuclear Matters Leadership Council member.

Governor Cuomo importantly recognizes the role that all types of carbon-free power can and must play in helping us achieve our clean energy goals.”

“The need to reduce carbon emissions is a priority in the state of New York and across the country,” said Nuclear Matters co-chair former Senator Judd Gregg (R-NH). “Yet, as we work to obtain a cleaner energy future, too many existing nuclear plants, which are responsible for the bulk of our carbon-free power, have had to shutter due to the fact that they have not been properly valued for the reliable and clean energy that they produce. As of today, though, this may no longer the case. In potentially recognizing the zero-carbon footprint of nuclear energy the same way other carbon-free sources of energy are recognized, New York can send a signal that it is worth keeping these valuable assets online for the benefit of the environment and economy for years to come. If other states and policymakers are serious about reducing carbon, they should look to New York to understand how to implement a common-sense solution that takes a broad view, and helps keeps nuclear energy on the table today for the sake of a cleaner energy future tomorrow.

The CES process undertaken by the PSC has been a transparent, in-depth analysis with numerous opportunities for input, including from the NYISO, the PSC, utilities, climate scientists, labor, legislative leaders, local officials, and others who have all publicly supported the value of nuclear during this process. As a result, the CES reflects a policy that has the potential to assist upstate nuclear plants and New York energy consumers. With that said, the work in New York is not done. Several of the existing facilities have refueling and capital investment decisions to make. It is important that the order be issued and the CES implemented in an expeditious manner,” Senator Gregg continued.