Archive: Environmental

Artwork: POWER/Sonal Patel

More Premature Nuclear Unit Retirements Loom

Two more U.S. nuclear power plants are facing early retirement, joining a string of generators whose fate was determined by market conditions, political pressure, or financial stresses assailing the sector. Several others may be poised to join them. The 647-MW Duane Arnold nuclear plant in Palo, Iowa, will likely close in 2025 after a current […]

Owners’ decisions last year to abandon two under-construction reactor units isn’t unprecedented. Over the short course of
nuclear power’s history in the U.S., more than 100 reactors (of about 230 projects scrutinized by the Nuclear Regulatory
Commission [NRC] and its predecessor the Atomic Energy Commission) have been canceled—nearly half of which had
already begun construction. Many had been faced with increasing uncertainties concerning low forecasted load; construction
financing constraints and reversals; state certification hurdles; and challenges to nuclear profitability posed by the
growing share of coal plants at the time. The graphic below offers a sampling of projects that have been abandoned. For
more detail, see a supplement associated with this infographic at Note: All dollar figures are from the
corresponding year. Source: NRC

THE BIG PICTURE: Abandoned Nuclear

This month’s THE BIG PICTURE infographic is accompanied by an interactive map. For more, visit:


What’s Next for the Clean Power Plan?

“The Trump administration is listening to the people of Wyoming,” remarked Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. His comment referenced a

Figure 1_ChinaCarbon

China Advances Plan for Nationwide Carbon Trading System

Top governmental bodies in China in December approved plans for a carbon trading system that will first target power plants and then cover most of the nation’s mammoth industrial body.  President Xi Jinping

Figure 2_IEAWEOFuelSourceoutlook

Energy Transitions Begin to Leave Out Natural Gas Power

The world’s energy transition took an interesting turn at the end of 2017 as global power firm Engie announced it would switch all its gas operations to biogas and renewable hydrogen, the UK slashed its

Source: Creative Commons

Six Forces Disrupting the Power Sector

Multiple disparate trends could forcefully reshape power systems around the world. As electricity markets transform, technologies advance, industries converge, consumption patterns change, environmental

Hope Creek_PSEG Nuclear

PSEG’s Izzo Blasts Power Company Opposition to Revived New Jersey Nuclear Subsidy Bill

Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG) President and CEO Ralph Izzo gave NRG Energy a tongue-lashing for its pointed opposition of subsidies for PSEG’s two New Jersey nuclear power plants. The tense moment at a January 25 legislative hearing that sought to revive the measure is illustrative of a growing chasm within the power sector about the […]

New York. Dynegy and NRG Energy in October 2016 also filed a similar suit in federal court seeking to block New York's Clean Energy Standard, an incentive program approved by the New York Public Service Commission in August 2016 that would use ZECs to help three of that state’s nuclear power plants—R.E. Ginna in Ontario, Nine Mile Point in Oswego, and FitzPatrick in Scriba—remain economic over the next decade. The program requires owners of eligible ZECs to enter into long-term contracts with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). Under those contracts, the owners sell the zero-emissions attributes associated with power produced by the plants. Starting in April 2017, New York load-serving entities will be required to buy various amounts of ZECs from NYSERDA each year.

The measure has been opposed by environmental and citizen groups, which say it would result in a $965 million dollar increase in rates. Supporters of the measure argue—citing a Brattle Group study—that electricity consumers in New York would be subject to about $15 billion of additional electricity costs over the next 12 years if the nuclear plants were to close. However, the plan has been seemingly stalled by the New York General Assembly, which recently added a moratorium to its budget bill suspending implementation of the New York ZEC program through December 2018—or at least until state officials appear before the legislature to explain the PSC's controversial decision to approve the ZECs.

R.E. Ginna Nuclear Power Plant. Courtesy: Exelon Corp.

Challenge to N.Y. Nuclear Subsidies Will Go to Trial

A lawsuit challenging subsidies for New York’s nuclear plants will head to trial after the state’s  Supreme Court rejected motions to dismiss it. The measure deals a small setback for Exelon Corp., whose subsidiaries own the R.E Ginna and Nine Mile Point nuclear plants in upstate New York. Defendants in the lawsuit also include Entergy […]

Muscatine (Iowa) Power and Water coal-fired power plant

SCOTUS Sends Controversial WOTUS Rule into More Legal Limbo 

The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously reversed and remanded a rule the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers rolled out in 2015 that asserts federal authority over small bodies of water with a broader definition of the statutory term, “waters of the U.S.” (WOTUS). In a ruling for National Association of […]


Don’t Let EPA Stall on Clean Power Plan, 17 States Tell Federal Court

The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) recent request that the D.C. Circuit hold a case challenging the Clean Power Plan in additional abeyance until it concludes rulemaking has been strongly opposed by 17 states and several cities. The EPA, in its latest 30-day court-required status report filed on January 10, asked the federal court for continued […]