Ohio-based FirstEnergy Solutions announced March 29 that it plans to permanently shut down its David-Besse and Perry nuclear power plants in Ohio and its Beaver Valley nuclear power station in Pennsylvania, barring state or federal policy solutions that would value their collective 4,048 megawatts of clean, reliable generation.
The announcement of these additional nuclear retirements is further proof that the industry has reached an inflection point in the debate over market reforms to recognize the value of the nation’s largest and most resilient source of emissions-free energy. Current state and federal policies place a value on the environmental benefits of wind, solar and more than a dozen other clean energy technologies, but exclude nuclear even though it accounts for more than 60 percent of the nation’s zero-carbon energy.
“The closure of FirstEnergy’s four emissions-free nuclear plants will immediately erase the environmental benefits of more than 25 years of wind and solar development in the markets they serve,” said Joe Dominguez, executive vice president, Government & Regulatory Affairs and Public Policy for Exelon. “As the nation’s largest producer of emissions-free energy, we urge policymakers to prioritize commonsense solutions that fix widely-acknowledged market flaws that unfairly disadvantage nuclear plants.”
In the last five years, 18 nuclear reactors at 14 sites across the United States have either closed, or their premature closings have been announced. Exelon Generation stated in February that Oyster Creek Generating Station in New Jersey will permanently shut down in October 2018 at the end of its current operating cycle, and last year announced plans to close Three Mile Island Generating Station in Pennsylvania in 2019, absent a policy solution to keep it open.
Exelon Generation’s and the nation’s nuclear plants are safe, well-run facilities. They are an indispensable component of a resilient and secure electric grid, provide more clean energy than solar and wind combined, and serve as economic engines for the communities they serve. Without urgent action from policymakers, more nuclear plants will close, and with each one, hundreds of people will lose their jobs, communities will lose millions of dollars in economic income, and the environment will lose its most reliable, efficient source of zero-carbon energy.