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April 21, 2016
Report by Brattle Economists Demonstrates Benefits of Keeping Upstate NY Nuclear Power Plants Open

Brattle Principals Mark Berkman and Dean Murphy authored a report released today that reviews the New York State Department of Public Service’s (DPS) findings on the environmental and economic benefits of keeping upstate nuclear power plants open by leveraging the proposed Clean Energy Standards (CES). The analysis prepared by Drs. Berkman and Murphy supports DPS’s findings on the magnitude of the environmental benefits, and further finds that when considering the full range of benefits, economic in addition to environmental, the total benefits of preserving these nuclear plants exceed costs by a significantly larger amount. The report underscores DPS’s conclusion that nuclear energy is a cost effective and critical bridge to meeting New York’s goal of reaching 50% renewables by 2030.

The study released by DPS found that the benefits of the CES program to maintain the upstate nuclear plants exceeded the cost. It highlighted that by 2023 these efforts will lead to reduction of over 75% in carbon emissions, which accounts for approximately 50% of the state’s long-term goals, but only 21% of its total costs. The Brattle report supports these findings. It also found that this plan would save New York ratepayers approximately $1.7 billion in annual electricity costs, which result in an additional $3.16 billion in annual GDP for the state. Drs. Berkman and Murphy analyzed the total environmental and economic benefits and found that the program’s benefits exceed its costs by a factor of 70, a figure that is significantly higher than the DPS’s cost-ratio of 6 that was based on the environmental aspects alone.

“Based on our analysis, implementing the CES will avoid a significant amount of carbon emissions that would occur if the plants retired and cost far less than the adverse effects, including lost economic contributions and jobs, that would result if New York’s upstate nuclear plants were to cease operation,” said Dr. Mark Berkman, co-author of the report and a principal at The Brattle Group. “The CES would go a long way towards ensuring the continued viability of these nuclear facilities, thereby preserving their role in contributing to the state’s economy and environment.”

The findings of the Brattle analysis will be presented today by Dr. Berkman at a meeting of the Upstate Energy Jobs Coalition. The report, “Comments on the New York DPS ‘Clean Energy Standard White Paper – Cost Study’” was prepared for the New York State IBEW Utility Labor Council, Rochester Building & Construction Trades Council, and Central and Northern New York Building & Construction Trades Council, and is available for download below.