Bill passed to stop closure of Ohio nuclear power plants
A bill to prevent the early shutdown of two Ohio nuclear power plants – Davis-Besse and Perry has been passed by the state’s House of Representatives.
The bill will offer subsidies to stop the early closure of Davis-Besse and Perry nuclear power plants, which are owned by FirstEnergy Solutions.
Earlier, the bankrupt unit of Ohio power company FirstEnergy said that it would close the loss-making reactors in 2020 and 2021, in the absence of the financial assistance from the state.
FirstEnergy Solutions also said the shutdown could lead to 4,300 job losses.
The two Ohio nuclear power plants are estimated to contribute to nearly 90% of the state’s clean power.
The bill passed by the House will be sent to the Republican Governor Mike DeWine, who has shown interest in supporting the legislation to extend the operation of the nuclear units.
To continue operations of the two nuclear plants, FirstEnergy Solutions is expected to receive an estimated $150 million a year during the 2021-2027 under the new bill.
According to analysts, the bill will also offer about $60 million a year to continue operations of two Ohio Valley Electric Corp’s (OVEC) coal plants through 2030.
The bill has been opposed by several environmental groups as it would be a setback to the renewable and energy efficiency goals of the state.
“Ohio is sending a clear signal to the clean energy sector that they are not welcome,” Reuters quoted Daniel Sawmiller, Ohio energy policy director for the Natural Resources Defense Council, as saying.
In February, FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company (FENOC) filed two license amendment requests with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to address modifications required to prepare for the permanent closure of the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station (DBNPS) in Oak Harbor, Ohio.
However, the company stated that the license amendment requests could be withdrawn if it secures necessary legislative relief and meaningful market reforms to avoid a shutdown of the facility.