Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

climate-changed

Nuclear Startup Just Saved New York From a Surge in Power Prices

  • Wholesale power typically rallies amid frosty weather in N.Y.
  • Entergy has restarted a 1,000-megawatt nuclear reactor nearby

You’d think, on a frosty New York day like this, power prices would surge as people blast electric heaters to keep warm. Instead, they’re down from last week -- and the Big Apple has a nuclear power plant startup to thank for that.

Spot power in New York City slid 42 percent to about $84 a megawatt-hour late Tuesday morning compared with Friday levels, Genscape data compiled by Bloomberg show. That’s even as a blast of Arctic air was set to drive nighttime temperatures into the teens Fahrenheit and after electricity demand across the state rose above forecasts. A 1,000-megawatt reactor at Entergy Corp.’s Indian Point plant, north of Manhattan, was back on line Saturday after repairs.

“A thousand megawatts is a big chunk, even for New York City,” Kit Konolige, a Bloomberg Intelligence utilities analyst based in New York, said.

The restart shows the sway that one reactor can hold in a power market, especially when temperatures sink. The freezing forecast led wholesale natural gas prices in New England to double, turning the region into the world’s priciest market. Indian Point is the same plant that Entergy plans on retiring starting in 2020. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has sought for years to shut it, citing its proximity to New York City.

New York’s power grid operator said in a report earlier this month that the impending shutdown won’t affect the reliability of the state’s system.

— With assistance by Naureen S Malik

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