NEI: New York Clean Energy Standard underscores significance of state-level nuclear legislation

Published on September 07, 2016 by Alyssa Michaud

New York’s recently approved Clean Energy Standard (CES) has made advances towards keeping at-risk nuclear power plants operating, as well as helping to guarantee that emission reduction targets are met successfully.

“The successful passage of the Clean Energy Standard in New York provides a clear example that states can find solutions to ensure nuclear plants remain part of the electricity portfolio,” Matt Crozat, NEI’s senior director for business policy, said. “States outside of New York are taking notice and may try to develop policies that fit their needs.”

A report published last week by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) draws together an overview of legislative and regulatory actions by state governments in favor of maintaining nuclear facilities, demonstrating the importance of the role of state legislation.

“State legislatures play a vital role in developing policies that can affect the viability of nuclear energy,” Christine Csizmadia, NEI’s director of state outreach and advocacy, said. “They can create finance mechanisms that help utilities recover operating costs, develop policy that enables new nuclear plants and raise public awareness of nuclear energy’s many benefits.”

The report details the reasoning behind state support of nuclear power, including reliability and economic benefits.

“While nuclear provides almost 20 percent of the nation’s electricity generation and approximately 60 percent of carbon-free sources of electricity, a variety of factors—such as competition from other energy sources and low demand growth—are challenging nuclear power’s contribution to the energy mix and drawing the attention of state policymakers,” the report said.