Pa. RGGI plan keeps struggling nuclear plant open

Source: By Jeffrey Tomich, E&E News reporter • Posted: Monday, March 16, 2020

A Pennsylvania nuclear plant scheduled to be shut down next year will instead remain in operation based on the state’s decision to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

Energy Harbor Corp., the company previously known as FirstEnergy Solutions, announced Friday that it has rescinded a deactivation notice for the 1,872-megawatt plant that was filed with the regional grid operator, PJM Interconnection.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) last fall signed an executive order directing the state to pursue membership in RGGI, the Northeast’s cap-and-trade program for power plants (Climatewire, Oct. 4, 2019).

John Judge, Energy Harbor’s CEO, said in a statement Friday that RGGI membership will “help level the playing field for carbon-free nuclear resources.”

“In addition, our retail growth strategy now offers carbon-free energy that allows customers to meet their environmental, social and sustainability goals,” he said. “We are excited about the RGGI process implementation in early 2022 but would need to revisit deactivation if RGGI does not come to fruition as expected.”

In March 2018 — days before Akron, Ohio-based FirstEnergy Solutions filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection — the company notified PJM of its intent to close the plant in 2021 (Energywire, April 2, 2018). The Beaver Valley plant employs 1,000 people.

The former affiliate of utility FirstEnergy Corp. also filed deactivation notices for its two Ohio nuclear plants, the 896-MW Davis-Besse plant and 1,247-MW Perry plant. Those deactivation notices were also withdrawn after Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) signed legislation authorizing $150 million a year in subsidies for the plants.

Energy Harbor said a written notification of the rescission notice will be submitted to federal regulators within 30 days.