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Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions
November 2020

Analysis of Environmental and Economic Impacts of Hydropower Imports for New York City through 2050

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Analysis of Environmental and Economic Impacts of Hydropower Imports for  New York City through 2050 cover
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Indian Point Energy Center (IPEC), a nuclear generating facility that has provided roughly 15 TW·h per year of low-emissions power to the New York City area, will close by 2021. There has been debate over the potential responses to the closure of IPEC which include the development of new generation and transmission infrastructure. This derives in part from difficulties in comparing direct and indirect costs and benefits and environmental and social impacts, which vary substantially across energy alternatives. In particular, the potential role of increased imports of hydropower from Canada to the New York City area has been controversial because of large upfront capital costs and uncertain benefits relative to alternatives such as increased build-out of Downstate New York offshore wind and solar. 

This study identifies conceivable scenarios for responding to the closure of IPEC and uses publicly available data to quantify the plausible ranges of direct and indirect economic and environmental costs and benefits of each scenario over the period 2021–2050. To the extent possible, environmental impacts are paired with economic valuations to enable comprehensive cost-benefit analysis. Comprehensive uncertainty analysis includes the explicit consideration of key parameters as uncertain variables and an extensive sensitivity analysis in which the impact of modeling assumptions on overall results is assessed.

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