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Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

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        Even though FirstEnergy Solutions filed a deactivation notice last week for three nuclear power plants, the company also called for state lawmakers to enact legislation that would make it feasible to continue operations.

        FES, a subsidiary of FirstEnergy Corp., on Wednesday notified PJM Interconnection, a regional transmission organization, that two nuclear power plants in Ohio, including the Davis-Besse plant, and one in Pennsylvania will be deactivated over the next three years.

       Closures are subject to review by regional transmission organizations. PJM Interconnection is the RTO that coordinates the movement of wholesale electricity in Ohio, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. 

        “We call on elected officials in Ohio and Pennsylvania to consider policy solutions that would recognize the importance of these facilities to the employees and local economies in which they operate, and the unique role they play in providing, zero-emission electric power for consumers in both states,” said Don Moul, president of FES Generation Companies and chief nuclear officer. “Though the plants have taken aggressive measures to cut costs, the market challenges facing these units are beyond their control.”

        The plants scheduled for retirement are: Davis-Besse in 2020; Beaver Valley Power Station in Shippingport, Pa., in 2021 and Perry Nuclear Power Plant, Perry, O., in 2021.

        Combined, the plants have a generating capacity of 4,048 megawatts, which equaled about 65 percent of FirstEnergy Solutions generation capacity in 2017.

        The plants will continue normal operations in the interim, the company said.

        The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has been verbally notified of the deactivations and the required written notification will be made to the commission in 30 days. Notifications were also made to the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations and Nuclear Energy Institute.

        About 2,030 employees are expected to be impacted by the deactivations.

        The company said it will continue to work toward “legislative solutions” to keep the plants operating but will look for potential buyers as another alternative.

        In 2016, FirstEnergy Corp. announced it planned to exit the generation component of the industry due to low power prices and weak forecasts for demand. It said a review of two coal plants and one natural gas plant will continue.

        One legislative solution for nuclear plants could be a program that requires electric distribution utilities to purchase zero-emissions nuclear credits and recover the purchase costs through a rider imposed on retail electric service customers. The argument behind the program is that the subsidies to nuclear plants are needed to maintain a mix of power sources in the state and support generators with cleaner emissions than coal. Critics of the credits say they reward uncompetitive plants poorly suited for today’s energy needs.

        Ottawa County officials said they will continue to push for keeping Davis-Besse operating.

        “While this announcement was one we were hoping to avoid, it was something that local leaders and stakeholders knew was a possibility. The Ottawa County Commissioners will continue to work with FirstEnergy Corp. and FirstEnergy Solutions as things continue to evolve,” Mark Coppeler, president of the board of commissioners, said.

        Jamie Beier Grant, director of the Ottawa County Improvement Corp., also said her organization supports nuclear power.

        “We will continue to push for the recognition that nuclear energy provides to our nation’s grid security,” she said. “Furthermore, we look to our continued partnership with our community stakeholders, elected officials and the dedicated men and women who make up the workforce of our power plant. We look forward to exploring options for a solution of continued operation of these nuclear generation stations.”

       

       

 

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