• Roger Witherspoon

Q&A: State and Local Power Distribution

Q:        How much electricity is generated in the state?

A:         According to the New York Independent System Operator, which runs the power grid, total electric power generation in the state is 37,416 Megawatts transmitted over 10,877 miles of high voltage lines.

Q:        How much electricity is generated in the New York City/ Westchester power section of the grid?

A:         The NY ISO reports there are 11,087 Megawatts of generating capacity in this region.

Q:        What were the peak electric load forecasts for 2009 and this year?

A:         The NY ISO reported the projected peak usage for 2009 was 33,425 Megawatts though the actual peak reached just 30,844 Megawatts. The projected peak this year was 33,025 Megawatts.

Q:        How has the price of electricity changed in the wholesale marketplace?

A:         The average annual cost of electricity in 2008 was $95.31 per megawatt/hour. In 2009, the average annual cost of electricity was $48.63 per megawatt/hour.

Q:        How does the cost of natural gas affect the price of electricity generated by nuclear power?

A:         Natural gas sets the market price in the day-ahead and spot markets, which are calculated every 5 minutes. Nuclear power comes in at a lower cost than natural gas and the difference is the profit earned by the nuclear operator.

Q:        How much of the electricity generated in New York is sold in the markets and how much is sold under long-term contracts?

A:         About half the electricity generated in New York is sold under long term contracts to distributors such as Con Ed and NYPA, or to individual users like Fordham and New York Universities, and the Metropolitan Transit Authority. The remaining 50% is sold on either the day-ahead, or the spot markets.

Q:        Must the electricity made in New York be sold to companies or distributers within New York?

A:         No. The NY ISO is connected to ISO New England, the Pennsylvania-Jersey-Maryland ISO encompassing the Mid-Atlantic states and, in Canada, the Ontario ISO and the Quebec Provincial Utility. Electricity can be sold in the day-ahead and spot markets, or long term contracts made to clients throughout the network.

Q:        What does Indian Point primarily rely on: long-term contracts or the markets?

A:         According to an analysis by Standard & Poor’s Entergy has contracts  for 90% of Indian Point’s electricity this year; 95% of its output in 2011, 76% of its output in 2012, 31% of its output in 2013, 25% of its output in 2014, and 15% of its output in 2015.

Locally, Indian Point is contracted to provide NYPA with 200 megawatts through 2013. It is contracted to provide Con Ed 875 megawatts through the end of 2010, and 360 megawatts through 2012.

— By Roger Witherspoon

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Roger Witherspoon

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