Energy / FirstEnergy

New Ohio ‘bailout’ request shakes up nuclear/carbon debate

FirstEnergy’s Perry nuclear plant. Photo by Wainstead / Creative Commons

CLEVELAND — “The growing debate over nuclear power’s role in curbing emissions is running headlong into an ongoing controversy over “bailouts” for Ohio’s largest utility.

FirstEnergy, which has previously sought support for noncompetitive power plants, is now asking Ohio lawmakers for ‘zero emission credits’ for its aging nuclear plants. Environmental and consumer advocates say the plan is just another bid for more subsidies.

…’FirstEnergy’s two nuclear plants are old, and we are asking why Ohioans should be paying for a nuclear subsidy when other resources are less risky, less expensive and much better for the environment overall,’ said Demeter at the Ohio Environmental Council.

‘Not all zero-emissions sources are alike,’ she stressed. ‘Nuclear energy carries with it a heavy toll when evaluating this resource cradle-to-grave.’ In Demeter’s view, it makes much more economic sense to invest heavily in renewables, which avoid those risks.

‘Once a wind turbine or solar panel is installed, there is no fuel that must be extracted from the ground, and there is no waste to deal with afterwards,’ she noted. And combining them with innovative technologies like battery storage ‘will make renewables virtually unstoppable as the primary energy source we rely on in the near future.'”

— Kathiann M Kowalski, Midwest Energy News

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