May 1, 2018 Read More →

FirstEnergy Nuclear Closures No Threat to Grid, PJM Says

Cleveland Plain-Dealer:

PJM Interconnection today said it has determined that FirstEnergy’s power plant subsidiary can shut down its three nuclear power plants within three years without destabilizing the 13-state power grid that PJM manages.

At the same time, PJM announced its intention to look at “fuel security” in the face of the utility industry’s growing fleet of natural gas turbine power plants. These plants, including 10 planned for Ohio, have made it difficult for some nuclear and old coal plants to compete.

Both FirstEnergy and now FirstEnergy Solutions have said that PJM’s market rules, which focus on the least expensive power that can reasonably be expected to support the grid, do not value old coal and nuclear plants.

The companies have tried to go around PJM twice and have sought intervention from President Donald Trump’s administration. The current effort by FES asking the U.S. Department of Energy to use emergency powers to keep old coal and nuclear open in the PJM region as a national security issue, is pending.

The DOE has not said when it will make a decision on the FES request, but has opened a special page on its website asking for email comments from the industry and the public.

PJM itself is concerned about a massive switch to any one fuel source and has already begun “to analyze fuel security vulnerabilities and establish a system to use market competition to address the problem,” said Andy Ott, PJM president, in a news conference Monday.

More: Closing FirstEnergy’s Reactors Will Not Destabilize Grid, Says PJM, But Launches Probe Into Future Fuel Security

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