Utility to close 3 nuclear power plants

Utility to close 3 nuclear power plants
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FirstEnergy Corp. said it will close three nuclear power plants in Ohio and Pennsylvania, citing tough market conditions and insufficient government policies to support them.

FirstEnergy Solutions, the FirstEnergy unit responsible for competitive generation, said it plans to close the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station in Oak Harbor, Ohio, in 2020; the Beaver Valley Power Station in Shippingport, Pa., in 2021; and the Perry Nuclear Power Plant in Perry, Ohio, in 2021.

The plants are the only nuclear units FirstEnergy currently operates, and each is being closed before its useful life is over. They represent about 65 percent of FirstEnergy Solutions’s generating capacity.

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“Though the plants have taken aggressive measures to cut costs, the market challenges facing these units are beyond their control,” Don Moul, the president of power generating operations at FirstEnergy Solutions, said in a statement.

“We call on elected officials in Ohio and Pennsylvania to consider policy solutions that would recognize the importance of these facilities to the employees and local economies in which they operate, and the unique role they play in providing reliable, zero-emission electric power for consumers in both states,” he said.

The plants are just the latest in a long line of nuclear plant closures in recent years. Nuclear plants have had difficulties cutting costs amid strong competition from cheap natural gas and renewable energy.

The Trump administration has taken notice.

Energy Secretary Rick PerryJames (Rick) Richard PerryThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Another VPOTUS tries for POTUS: What does history tell us? House Dems propose billions in extra funding for environmental programs that Trump sought to cut MORE last year proposed mandating higher payments for nuclear and coal power plants to save them from closing. But the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rejected the proposal, saying it would not be legal.

FirstEnergy was one of the most outspoken supporters of Perry’s plan. The company also has significant coal-fired generation capacity.