Archive: News

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.

EPA Chief Pruitt Resigns; Former Coal Lobbyist Takes Helm

Scott Pruitt, chosen by President Donald Trump to lead the Environmental Protection Agency despite repeated lawsuits against the agency when he served as Oklahoma’s attorney general, resigned as EPA director July 5. Pruitt had been under scrutiny throughout his EPA tenure for questionable ethical decisions involving his office. Pruitt, who repeatedly said he had done […]

The Fuqing nuclear station in the Fujian Province of China will have six reactors when complete. The first four units are CPR-1000s, while Units 5 and 6 are HPR1000s. This image shows the first concrete being poured for Unit 6’s conventional island on August 24, 2016. Courtesy: CNNC

First Commercial AP1000, EPR Reactors Connected to Grid

Two nuclear energy milestones were reached in the past week, as the world’s first commercial AP1000 and EPR reactors were connected to China’s power grid. Westinghouse announced Sanmen 1, the first AP1000 unit, was connected to the grid June 30, one day after Électricité de France (EDF) connected the first EPR reactor—Taishan 1—to the system. […]

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FERC Thwarts ISO-NE’s Attempt to Keep Mystic Gas Units Online

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on July 2 denied ISO-New England’s (ISO-NE’s) request for a tariff waiver to keep two gas-fired units—a total capacity of 1,700 MW—at Exelon’s Mystic Generating Plant in Boston, Massachusetts, running to address “fuel security risks.” The commission instead gave the grid operator a year to submit permanent tariff revisions […]

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FERC Nixes PJM’s Fixes for Capacity Market Besieged by Subsidized Resources

In a 3–2 decision, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) rejected approaches filed by PJM Interconnection to reform its capacity market, whose integrity and effectiveness has been increasingly and “untenably threatened” by state subsidies for preferred generation resources, the federal regulatory body acknowledged. The June 29 order sharply divided the commission, prompting Democrat Commissioners Cheryl LaFleur […]

Nuclear power plant. (Ohi, Japan)
 
Photo Credit: Kansai Electric Power Co.

Japan’s New Energy Plan Commits to Renewables—And Nuclear and Coal, Too

Japan’s government on July 3 approved a new Basic Energy Plan for the country, saying it is committed to increasing the role of renewable resources for power generation while also confirming it wants nuclear power to remain a vital part of the nation’s energy strategy. Japan issues a revised Basic Energy Plan, which outlines the […]

New Jersey. On March 6, three Democratic lawmakers in New Jersey introduced SB 3061 in the state Senate, a bill that directs the state's Board of Public Utilities to study ZECs of about $500 million per year for the state’s nuclear power plants, and requires the board to report back to the governor and legislature with its findings.


In a comment on the New Jersey bill submitted on March 20, industry group EPSA commended the bill's sponsors for "not rushing to judgment as ZECs are highly controversial." Public Service Enterprise Group—the state's largest electricity provider—"only started claiming that its nuclear plants may not be recovering their cost of capital to justify future investments and could be cash flow negative by 2020," it noted.


"This is apparently based on a comparison with illiquid forward power prices that may or may not accurately measure future revenues from these plants," it added (EPSA's emphasis). "For starters, if revenues below cost of capital and need to fund future investments are the standards to trigger consumer subsidies, many non-nuclear power plants (including those of EPSA members) would also qualify for out-of-market subsidies. Where would subsidies end?"


The national trade association for independent power producers and marketers also pointedly noted that ZECs are being pushed by utility holding companies that "own both market-based generation and cost-based retail distribution utilities to finance new corporate strategies to boost earnings by exiting competitive generation to focus on more assured earnings from their retail rate-regulated utilities."


The Oyster Creek unit is the oldest operating reactor in the U.S., having begun commercial operations Dec. 23, 1969. Exelon announced the retirement of the 625-MW plant on Dec. 8, 2010. The Ocean County, N.J.–facility is expected to be permanently closed in 2019. Courtesy: Exelon Nuclear

Oyster Creek Will Close Sept. 17; Fuel Could Remain at Site for 60 Years

Officials with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) on July 2 said Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station, the country’s oldest operating nuclear power plant, will officially close on September 17. They also said radioactive material is likely to remain at the site in New Jersey until at least the late 2070s, and perhaps beyond. The […]

Shotwick Solar Park in Wales, UK

Solar Power Hits New Highs in Britain

Solar power generation reached new highs in the United Kingdom recently, with a heat wave and stretch of sunny days across the country highlighting the potential for renewable energy in Britain. Solar produced a record 533 gigawatt hours (GWh) of power from June 21-28. Solar output topped 8 GW on each of the eight days, […]

THE BIG PICTURE: The Electric Vehicle Push

Because the widespread adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) could ramp up demand for electricity and slash transportation-related emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutants, a growing group of stakeholders, including power companies and trade groups, strongly advocate for an accelerated EV rollout. By mid-2018, several countries with potentially large EV markets had set EV deployment targets, as well […]

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Floating Solar Panel Industry Makes a Splash

Floating solar panel technology has been gaining traction as a favorable and cost-effective alternative to land-based photovoltaic systems. Thriving on the cusp of a massive inclination toward renewable energy