Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Exelon Nuclear Plants Fail to Win Bid to Sell Power

Subtitle:  Unable to Compete, Nuclear Seeks Subsidies from Uncle Sam

From The Chicago Tribune, three nuclear power plants that cannot compete in selling power to the market have the powerful Speaker of the House in the Illinois state legislature stand up for them, seeking yet another bail-out from the federal government.   As stated earlier on SLB, nuclear plants in the US cannot compete against natural gas and wind energy.  see link

"Three nuclear plants owned by Chicago-based Exelon Corp. failed to secure contracts to provide power to the electrical grid at an annual auction held last week.
Exelon’s Byron and Quad Cities plants in Illinois were priced out of the auction by competing power providers, the company said Tuesday, placing the future of those assets in question. Its Oyster Creek plant in New Jersey, which is slated to close in 2019, also didn’t clear the auction. . . . But [Illinois] House Speaker Michael Madigan [D - IL] wants to help keep those plants open. They are among the top employers in the towns and counties in which they operate. A resolution sponsored by Madigan was introduced to the House last Friday urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the electric grid operators, to adopt policies that are "friendly" to nuclear power. Translation: enact a new rule to curb carbon emissions, which would be a boon to Exelon because its nuclear plants do not release greenhouse gases."
The company also decries the loss of jobs from shutting down the nuclear plants.  It seems (in their view) there would be no jobs created by the companies that step up to build competitive power plants, whether natural gas-fired or renewable.
For perspective, California recently closed the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, with two reactors.  Hundreds of jobs were lost.   But, more jobs are created by those who build more power plants to replace the unsafe nuclear power.  
Finally, Exelon argued that nuclear power plants are reliable and provide power even during the recent cold winter.  That may be true, but one wonders exactly how utilities managed to provide reliable power in the almost 100 years (1880-1960) before those oh-so-reliable nuclear plants were on the grids.  Even today, how does a northern state without any nuclear plants provide reliable power in the winter, e.g. Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, North Dakota, and South Dakota?     The desperation is indeed apparent, based on the "we are reliable" argument. 
For more on nuclear power's inability to compete, see this link.
For more on nuclear power enjoying multiple subsidies, see this link

Roger E. Sowell, Esq.
Marina del Rey, California

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