Study: Indian Point contributed $1.6 billion to New York’s economy

Indian Point Energy Center in Buchanan, New York proved to be an integral part of the state and U.S. economies by contributing $1.6 billion to New York’s economy annually and $2.5 billion to the country’s economy, according to a recent independent analysis by the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI).

In addition to measuring the economic impact of the nuclear power plant, the study, titled “Economic Impacts of The Indian Point Energy Center,” also found Indian Point supports approximately 10,700 jobs throughout the country. It directly employs 1,000 people and indirectly supports another 2,800 in the surrounding area. The company stimulates about 1,600 jobs in other industries in New York and an additional 5,300 people are employed in other states.

“Entergy’s Indian Point nuclear power plant in Westchester County greatly strengthens the local, regional and state economies through job creation, tax payments, and direct and secondary spending," Tom Kauffman, NEI’s director of media relations, recently told the Power News Wire.

The analysis outlined seven key findings, stating Indian Point’s operations support: thousands of jobs, clean electricity for New York, reliability benefits, a balanced portfolio of electricity options, economic stimulus, tax impacts, and community and environmental leadership.

"NEI conducted the analysis using a nationally recognized model to estimate the facility’s economic impacts on the state and national economies," Kauffman said. "Regional Economic Models Inc. developed the Policy Insight Plus (PI+) economic impact modeling system, which is the methodology employed in this analysis.” 

Nuclear power accounts for approximately 60 percent of the state’s carbon-free electricity. This helps New York comply with the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) and meeting its carbon-reduction goals.

New York’s sources of electricity consists primarily of natural gas, nuclear energy, renewables and hydropower. The study states Indian Point is important in preventing the over reliance on one source of electricity generation.

"The facility, that produces about 24 percent of the state’s carbon-free electricity, prevents the release of 8.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually, the same as taking 1.6 million cars off the road," Kauffman said. "Closing the facility would make it far more difficult for the state to achieve its carbon reduction goals.”

As one of the largest taxpayers in Westchester County, Indian Point contributed about $30 million in state and local property taxes in 2014, and a total tax benefit of $340 million to local, state and federal governments.

The study was released less than a month after a transformer at Indian Point caught fire twice in May 2015 that allegedly caused about 3,000 gallons of oil to spill into the Hudson River.

Kauffman said the study took months to complete and was requested by Entergy Corp., the owner and operator of Indian Point. 

"It was initiated well before May 2015," he said.

In December 2015, the plant was shut down for approximately six days total because of technical malfunctions.

Some New York residents, including Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration, are calling for the shut down of Indian Point alleging it poses safety risks for the close, densely populated areas around the nuclear power plant. After the December shutdowns, Cuomo ordered a state investigation into the plant’s operations.

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