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Subsidies

The nuclear industry has been heavily subsidized throughout its 50+-year history in the U.S. It continues to seek the lion's share of federal funding since it cannot otherwise afford to expand.

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Tuesday
Aug022016

Aging nuclear power plants in New York uneconomic without bailout

Karl GrossmanBeyond Nuclear board of directors member Karl Grossman (photo, left) writes:

On Enformable today, my article on the New York State Public Service Commission yesterday approving a $7.6 billion bail-out of aging nuclear power plants in upstate New York under a "Clean Energy Standard" advanced by Governor Andrew Cuomo. He has pushed for continued operation of the plants and appoints the members of the PSC.

Grossman is the professor of journalism at the State University of New York/College at Old Westbury. Karl is also the author of Cover Up: What You Are Not Supposed to Know About Nuclear Power and other books on nuclear technology, as well as hosting numerous TV programs on the subject including "Chernobyl: A Million Casualties," "Three Mile Island Revisited" and "The Push to Revive Nuclear Power."

Monday
Aug012016

Groups Criticize “Nuclear Mistake” Amid Praise for New York State’s Clean Energy Standard

Groups say state now responsible to ensure nuclear safety of the plants going forward

[NIRS and AGREE have issued a press release that begins:]

Albany, NY – The New York State Public Service Commission today approved the “Clean Energy Standard” policy that puts into place a popularly-supported requirement that that utilities must buy increasing amounts of renewable energy, until the state meets its goal of 50% renewable energy by 2030. The proposal also includes an unpopular subsidy for economically struggling upstate nuclear power plants, the projected cost of which suddenly ballooned to almost $8 billion just three weeks ago.

The nuclear subsidies have drawn growing criticism and controversy with more than 15,000 people submitting comments opposed to nuclear subsidies and dozens of elected officials raising concerns...

[The press release also quotes Clearwater and Citizens Environmental Coalition. The press release contains additional background information, including links to statements of concern about and opposition to the bailout by New York State elected officials, as well as links to news articles. More.]

Monday
Jun062016

NIRS & AGREE: Cost Study Comments, re: NYS PSC CES

On June 6, 2016, Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS) and Alliance for a Green Economy (AGREE) submitted Cost Study Comments to the New York State Public Service Commission, "In the Matter of the Implementation of a Large-Scale Renewable Program and a Clean Energy Standard."

Thursday
May122016

Oops! Exelon's compromise energy bill nearly zeroes out green-power funding

As reported by Steve Daniel's at Crain's Chicago Business, as Exelon Nuclear's well heeled lobbyists seek "the best democracy money can buy" (a phrase coined by investigative journalist and author Greg Pallast), they might want to hire a copy editor.

Exelon claims its omission of $133 million per year in renewable energy and efficiency funding in a major piece of legislation it is pushing in Illinois was a mere "clerical error." Exelon had just days earlier touted the $140 million per year in funding for genuinely clean energy as a major breakthrough it had reached with environmental groups and renewable energy businesses. But the final draft bill included only $7 million per year.

Critics aren't buying Exelon's "clerical error" mea culpa:

"This doesn't give us confidence that Exelon has reversed its historic opposition to the renewable portfolio standard," said Sarah Wochos, co-legislative director at the Chicago-based Environmental Law & Policy Center. "In a carefully crafted bill, it's hard to believe that this latest attempt to eviscerate renewable funding was a two-page 'drafting error.' "

Exelon's "clerical error" comes after years of its lobbyists helping stymie the state's Renewable Portfolio Standard, refusing to allow a technical flaw to be fixed, effectively sabotaging renewable energy development in the state.

The "error" also comes after the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) expelled Exelon from its membership, after the company simultaneously lobbied at the federal level to terminate the Wind Power Production Tax Credit, while simultaneously taking advantage of it, itself.

To its credit, the State of Illinois Legislature has, thus far, proven itself to NOT be "the best democracy money can buy." Exelon's lobbyists failed a year ago to force through their nuclear power bailout scheme. Exelon has till May 31, 2016 to force its supposedly now corrected legislation into law. It has threatened to close three reactors at two plants, in the next two years, if it doesn't get its way.

If you are an Illinois resident, please contact your State Represenative and State Senator. Urge that they not cave to Exelon's greed-driven bullying and threats.

Given the safety benefit of closing such age-degraded reactors, as well as stopping the generation of any more high-level radioactive waste for which there is no solution, these reactor closures would be a good thing. A just transition for the workforce, including into a growing Illinois renewable and efficiency sector, would set the state on the road to a clean energy future in a big way, while saving ratepayers hundreds of millions of dollars per year in this latest round of attempted nuclear power mega-subsidies, at public expense.

Saturday
May072016

Crain's Chicago Business: Why the state might raise your power bill

Map by Crain's Chicago BusinessAs reported by Steve Daniels at Crain's Chicago Business, the coal burner Dynegy has joined the atom splitter Exelon is seeking approval from the Illinois State Legislature for a mega-bailout, at ratepayer expense, to prop up dirty, dangerously old, and noncompetitive power plants (see the Crain's Chicago Business map, left, for plant locations in the state).

Ironically, Dynegy has critized such ratepayer-funded subsidies in Ohio. It has opposed efforts by FirstEnergy and American Electric Power to obtain above market rates Power Purchase Agreements from Ohio ratepayers, as in the proceeding before the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. FirstEnergy's bailout would prop up both its problem-plagued Davis-Besse atomic reactor, as well as several coal plants (AEP's bailout would prop up exclusively coal plants).

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has put a hold on the PUCO's approval of the FirstEnergy and AEP bailouts. Some analysts see this as the end of the proposals.

Adding to the irony, Exelon Nuclear, as well as Dynegy, offered bids to outcompete FirstEnergy before the PUCO. Exelon said it could provide the same amout of electricity for $2 billion less than FirstEnergy; Dynegy said it could do so for $2.5 billion less than FirstEnergy.

While Exelon Nuclear and Dynegy tout free market competition in electricity in Ohio, they are attempting to do the opposite in Illinois -- seeking state approval for massive ratepayer subsidies, to prop up age-degraded, noncompetitive plants.