Thursday, March 29, 2018

House-Senate PA Nuclear Energy Caucus Chairs React To FirstEnergy Nuclear Plan Deactivation Notices

Senators Ryan Aument (R-Lancaster) and John Yudichak (D-Luzerne) along with Representatives Becky Corbin (R-Chester) and Rob Matzie (D-Allegheny) issued the following statement concerning FirstEnergy Solutions’ notification to PJM Interconnection and the federal Nuclear Energy Regulatory Commission that it intends to deactivate two of its nuclear power plants in Ohio in addition to the Beaver Valley Nuclear Power Station in Shippingport, Beaver County--
“Yesterday’s announcement confirms what we have suspected for well over a year - and have been asking the federal government to assist us in addressing - that there are very serious and consequential underlying issues in the PJM wholesale electric markets which are being administered by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
“In addition to the announced shuttering of Three Mile Island nuclear station, the premature closure of three more nuclear power plants now compound what will be a significant loss of family-sustaining jobs, high capacity baseload clean energy, and the many direct and indirect economic benefits that surround the production of electricity from nuclear power plants.
“As state lawmakers, we take seriously our obligation to set energy policies that help promote Pennsylvania’s economy.  We equally are concerned about meeting the Commonwealth’s environmental goals. The closure of Beaver Valley Power Station will make meeting these obligations even more difficult.
“This is precisely why the Pennsylvania General Assembly nearly unanimously adopted Senate Resolution 227 and House Resolution 576, which supported the federal Department of Energy’s efforts to address the continued and unabated loss of this type of electric generation.
"It is also why the Nuclear Energy Caucus highly encouraged PJM Interconnection to take seriously the short and long-term impacts of these closures.
“In a letter dated February 9, 2018 to the PJM Board of Managers, we cautioned that:
Over the past several years, members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly have expressed concerns about the loss of baseload generation resources in the Commonwealth.
“While Pennsylvania currently benefits from numerous sources of electric generation – including coal, nuclear, natural gas, hydroelectric, and renewables – we are losing confidence in the ability of the wholesale electric markets to ensure Pennsylvania maintains a diverse supply of baseload generation resources that ensure stable prices for our citizens and a reliable and resilient electrical grid.
“Pennsylvania’s baseload power plants continue to face the risk of premature retirement, and we do not see expeditious and sufficient action being taken by PJM or the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to correct the market flaws at the heart of this problem – flaws that PJM itself acknowledges.
“Yesterday’s announcement that, in addition to Three Mile Island, an additional 4,000 megawatts (MWs) of nuclear power production may be lost elevates these concerns and demands answers from the federal government – specifically FERC – and PJM, who are ultimately liable for the responsible management of the bulk power system.
“One of our top priorities in creating the Nuclear Energy Caucus was to focus on the value that each energy resource offers Pennsylvania and our citizens.  
“We remain committed to that goal and will continue to invite all members of the General Assembly to participate in this important discussion so that together, we can advance policies that promote long-term economic, environmental, and consumer benefits.
“Today, however, we are mindful of how difficult this news is for the many workers and their families who are affected, as well as the communities in western Pennsylvania that will be directly impacted.”
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