New Jersey’s Board of Public Utilities has granted the state’s three nuclear power plants a $300 million subsidy designed to keep the plants from closing in the face of lower prices for electricity and the onrush of the climate crisis.
The fear, according to WHYY news, is that the zero-carbon emissions nuclear plants will close, setting the stage for fossil-fuel burning plants to step in and take their place.
“Were these plants to close, we would lose the single largest source of the state’s overall clean energy power supply,” said board president Joe Fiodaliso.
The board authorized immediate collection of subsidy funds from electricity customers in the state, which began the Zero Emission Certificate program in 2019, which raises funds for the Salem Nuclear Power Plant, owned by PSEG and Exelon and the Hope Creek plant, which is owned by PSEG.
The board could have awarded smaller subsidies, but chose the maximum amount allowed. The board’s decision was intended to be based on the state’s “air quality and environmental objectives.”
Ralph Izzo, chief executive officer at PSEG, said the subsidy, even at the full amount, was not enough to keep the plants running. The major cost hurdles currently include a glut on the electricity market prompted by an increase in natural gas production and higher operations cost tracked to stricter regulations.
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