New Jersey’s Assembly and Senate in separate actions on April 12 handed payments to make sure continued operation of PSEG’s Salem and Hope Creek nuclear energy crops.
Lawmakers additionally handed payments to switch the state’s renewable portfolio requirements and for assist of a pilot offshore wind farm.
Legislation (S-2313/A-3724) directing the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to determine a zero emission certificates (ZEC) program for the state’s nuclear energy crops cleared the state Senate 29–7 and the Assembly 60–10, with one abstention. Gov. Phil Murphy (D) now has purview to make the controversial invoice a regulation.
Nearly 40% of all energy generated in New Jersey comes from its three nuclear energy crops: the two.Three-GW Salem and 1.2-GW Hope Creek nuclear producing stations, that are owned by PSEG; and the 636-MW Oyster Creek plant, owned by Exelon Generation. Exelon in February stated it could shutter the Oyster Creek plant in October 2018—greater than a 12 months earlier than it’s required to shut the single-unit reactor as a part of an settlement with the state of New Jersey—to permit the corporate to raised handle sources in a market setting the place gasoline and upkeep prices are rising amid traditionally low energy costs.
The information was welcomed by the nuclear business. Maria Korsnick, Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) president and CEO, in an deal with to Wall Street analysts on April 12, outlined a variety of challenges the business is going through as wholesale costs have fallen because of low-cost pure fuel and a proliferation of fuel and renewable energy as demand stays stagnant. Nuclear crops that function in aggressive wholesale markets “are clearly beneath vital financial stress,” she stated.
However, Korsnick added that states appear conscious of nuclear energy’s advantages, noting that “greater than 100” nuclear-related payments have been launched in state homes final 12 months. “Like New York, Illinois and Connecticut earlier than them, the state’s leaders have made a sensible funding in New Jersey’s clear vitality future. Policymakers in Ohio and Pennsylvania now should observe go well with and act expeditiously to protect nuclear crops of their states,” she stated in a press release on April 12.
But for the New Jersey Coalition for Fair Energy, a bunch which incorporates Calpine, Dynegy, NRG Energy, and the Electric Power Supply Association, the vote was “disappointing and disconcerting.”
The unbiased energy producers have legally challenged nuclear subsidies applied in New York and Illinois within the Second and Seventh U.S. Courts of Appeal, arguing they intervene with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s jurisdiction over wholesale electrical charges and unlawfully intervene with interstate commerce.
“What lawmakers have agreed to will not be vital monetary help,” the coalition stated on April 12. “It is an enormous company bailout, paid for by a tax hike on ratepayers, merely to pad the underside line of crops that are demonstrably worthwhile.”
The coalition additionally stated, nonetheless, that whereas the result was a setback, “it’s not the tip of this concern—and we are going to proceed to reiterate the info about PSEG’s nuclear crops. We urge Governor Murphy to recall these info, and do what’s greatest for New Jersey ratepayers by vetoing this pointless vitality tax.”
—Sonal Patel is a POWER affiliate editor (@sonalcpatel, @POWERmagazine)
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