Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Three Mile Island Did Not Clear PJM Power Auction, Exelon Evaluating Operating Plant Beyond May 2019

Exelon Corporation Wednesday announced its Three Mile Island [Dauphin County, PA]  and Quad Cities [Illinois) nuclear plants did not clear in the latest PJM capacity auction, highlighting the challenge nuclear energy continues to face without compensation for its ability to produce electricity without harmful carbon and air pollution and to contribute to grid resilience.
TMI did not clear in the past three PJM base residual auctions. TMI remains economically challenged as a result of continued low wholesale power prices and the lack of federal or Pennsylvania energy policies that value zero-emissions nuclear energy.
Exelon said in an email to stakeholders accompanying the announcement, “This outcome is disappointing and Exelon is currently deliberating on whether it makes sense to continue to operate TMI beyond May of 2019.
“There are a number of factors that play into a retirement decision, and the results of this auction are only piece of that decision-making process.  Some of the other pieces include operating costs, total revenue, long-term commitments, and the potential for federal/state regulatory or legislative environmental policies that adequately compensate the plant’s around the clock zero-emission energy production.  
“As long as state and federal energy policies fail to adequately compensate nuclear energy’s many environmental and economic benefits, we will continue to experience challenges to the profitability of many of the nation’s nuclear facilities, including TMI.”
Exelon has been working with stakeholders on options for the continued operation of TMI, which has not been profitable in five years.
States like New York and Illinois have enacted innovative policies that fairly compensate nuclear and renewable energy for their environmental attributes.
Signed into law in December, the Future Energy Jobs Act will create significant environmental and consumer benefits in Illinois, while also creating thousands of clean energy jobs and providing job training for the future workforce.
“Exelon remains fully committed to keeping the Quad Cities plant open, provided that FEJA’s Zero Emissions Credit program is implemented as expected and provided that Quad Cities is selected to participate,” said Joe Dominguez, Exelon’s executive vice president of Government and Regulatory Affairs and Public Policy. “However, Quad has not been selected to receive ZECs under the FEJA program to date.”
Exelon’s other nuclear plants in PJM cleared in the auction for the 2020-2021 planning year. Oyster Creek did not participate in the auction, as the plant is scheduled to retire in 2019.
Capacity auctions are held annually by grid operator PJM to ensure enough power generation resources are available to meet demand in its region covering all or part of 13 states and the District of Columbia.
This is the fifth delivery year for which capacity auctions have been held under “capacity performance” reforms ordered by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to increase power plant reliability and strengthen the region’s energy supply.
The reforms were an important step in recognizing nuclear energy for its year-round reliability in all weather extremes. The auction results take effect June 1, 2020.

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