Coal / Energy / FirstEnergy / Nuclear Energy

Subsidizing coal and nuclear power plants would not be legal, says PJM

The Davis-Besse nuclear power plant would survive under a U.S. Department of Energy plan to allow plant owner FirstEnergy to sell power into competitive wholesale markets at what it cost to make. The markets now focus on the lowest priced power, a practice that has lowered customer power prices but hurt the owner of large coal and nuclear plants, which cannot compete in today’s markets. (Plain Dealer file )

CLEVELAND — “The independent company that manages competitive wholesale power markets in Ohio and 12 other states believes a federal proposal to subsidize the owners of old nuclear and coal plants is unworkable and would not even be legal.

The U.S. Department of Energy proposal ‘is simply unworkable,’ said Andrew Ott, CEO of PJM Interconnection, in a press conference today. “We believe it is contrary to law.”

PJM intends to file formal comments later today with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission regarding the proposal from the DOE.

The DOE in September, following intense lobbying from the coal industry and from FirstEnergy and other traditional utilities, proposed that FERC require PJM and other grid managers to credit the owners of the big coal and nuclear plants for providing ‘resiliency’ to the grid because they store fuel on-site and run 24 hours a day. They also generate power at higher prices than new gas turbine plants.”

— John Funk, Cleveland Plain Dealer

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