May 30 (Reuters) - New York's electric grid operator said on Thursday the state should have enough power resources to meet customer needs until at least 2019, if demand grows as currently forecast.
In 2013, the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO), the state's grid operator, said in its "Power Trends" report New York has over 41,000 megawatts (MW) of generation, transmission and demand side resources.
That is more than enough power to meet projected demand and reserve margin requirements of nearly 39,000 MW, the NYISO said.
One megawatt can power about 1,000 homes.
The grid operator said growth in power demand in the state has been dampened over the past couple years by the effects of the recession and energy efficiency programs.
Total usage in 2012 was 162,842 gigawatt hours (GWh), down from 163,330 GWh in 2011 and 163,505 GWh in 2010, the NYISO said.
Despite a mostly rosy forecast, the NYISO the future of the giant Indian Point nuclear plant was one of the biggest risks to the reliability of the state's grid.
Indian Point is located about 40 miles (64 kms) north of New York City on the Hudson River in Buchanan, New York. It supplies about a quarter of the power used in the city.
But the original 40-year operating licenses of the two reactors at the plant expire in 2013 and 2015.
U.S. power company Entergy Corp, which owns the Indian Point, has applied with federal nuclear regulators to renew the licenses for another 20 years. But New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and others oppose the renewal.
So long as the federal license renewal process is ongoing, Entergy can continue to operate the plant under the existing licenses. Entergy has already said the renewal process will likely continue beyond 2016.
To meet reliability requirements if Indian Point does shut, the NYISO said replacement resources have to be in place before the last reactor at the plant closes.
"Failure to do so would have serious reliability consequences, including the possibility of rolling customer blackouts," the NYISO said.
In November 2012, the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) asked New York City power company Consolidated Edison Inc and the state-owned New York Power Authority (NYPA) to develop contingency plans to have resources in place in 2016 in the event of Indian Point's closure.
The biggest power companies operating in New York include units of Con Edison, National Grid Plc, Iberdrola SA , Entergy, TransCanada Inc and NRG Energy Inc .