Clean Air Credit Bill Passes In Ohio

A new law in Ohio, the Ohio Clean Air Program, would temporarily provide over $150 million per year to the Davis-Besse nuclear power plant near Toledo and the Perry nuclear plant near Cleveland, potentially saving them from early closure.

Perry NPPWhen it declared bankruptcy in March 2018, First Energy Corp. subsidiary FES, announced premature closures of four nuclear plants, two of them in Ohio. The closures were to include the Davis-Besse plant and the Perry plant, which combine to create 15 percent of the state’s electricity. Also named for closure were the twin-unit Beavery Valley plant in Shippinngport, Pennsylvania. Closure was expected in 2021.

FES said it could not operate the Ohio plants without financial support from the state.

The new law is a mixed bag from a political perspective. It phases out support for wind and solar, and provides $60 million per year for two coal-burning power plants operated by Ohio Valley Electric Corp. The two subsidy programs end in 2026 and 2030 for nuclear plants and coal-burning plants, respectively.

Some opponents are decrying the decision to back away from solar and wind power support, although $20 million per year goes to massive solar projects that are already underway.

“Ohio is sending a clear signal to the clean energy sector that they are not welcome,” Nuclear Engineering International quoted Daniel Sawmiller, Ohio energy policy director for the Natural Resources Defense Council, as saying.

Nuclear Energy Institute President and Chief Executive Officer Maria Korsnick applauded the bill. “The majority of Ohio’s clean energy will remain in operation thanks to legislation passed,” she said. She noted the bill would support 4,300 jobs and allow continuation of $30 million in state and local taxes per year.

The bill will raise consumer electric bills by 85 cents per month, while raising bills for industrial companies by $2,400 per month.

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