Archive: News

Artwork: Pixabay/POWER/SonalPatel

DOJ, FERC Back Illinois in Nuclear Subsidy Fight

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on May 29 told the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals that Illinois’ nuclear subsidy program does not preempt federal statute, siding with the state and Exelon Corp. in a contentious legal fight that has divided the power sector. The case, now […]

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

Exelon Cuts Jobs Ahead of Oyster Creek Closure

The first of about 400 workers remaining at the soon-to-close Oyster Creek Nuclear Generating Station in New Jersey will begin leaving their jobs over the next few weeks, according to a notice filed this month by Exelon Corp. with the state’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development. The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) filing […]

Arkansas Nuclear One

Three U.S. Nuclear Plants Get Poor Marks from NRC

Officials with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) plan to hold a public hearing May 31 on the safety record of the Arkansas Nuclear One power plant in Arkansas, whose two units are among three cited by the agency for poor performance and other problems in its annual assessment of the nation’s nuclear fleet. The […]

NET Power's 50 MWth Demonstration Plant in La Porte, Texas (PRNewsfoto/NET Power, LLC)

Pioneering Zero-Emission Natural Gas Power Cycle Achieves First-Fire

First-fire has been achieved at NET Power’s supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO₂) power plant—a test facility in La Porte, Texas, to demonstrate the potentially revolutionary natural gas–fueled Allam Cycle. The project is designed to produce low-cost electricity from natural gas while generating near-zero atmospheric emissions, including full CO₂ capture. NET Power, which is based in Durham, […]

SGD&E's 30-MW, 120-MWh system unveiled in February 2017 in Escondido, California,  was supplied by AES Energy Storage. The facility was part of an expedited response by the state and the California Public Utilities Commission to the loss of the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility north of Los Angeles in 2016. Courtesy: AES Energy Storage

SRP Will Launch 40-MWh Energy Storage Project for Peaking Flexibility

Public power utility Salt River Project (SRP) will launch Arizona’s first battery energy storage project to provide flexible peaking capacity. Energy storage firm Fluence will supply a 10-MW, four-hour duration system to AES Corp., which has a 20-year agreement with SRP for the project to be built in Chandler. AES owns Fluence in partnership with […]

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GE Stock Falls as CEO Backs ‘Deliberate’ Pace of Change

Shares of General Electric (GE) have fallen about 50% over the past year, and on May 23 GE saw its stock drop more than 7%, its biggest one-day loss since April 20, 2009. Much of Wednesday’s decline came as CEO John Flannery was speaking to attendees at the Electrical Products Group (EPG) conference in Longboat […]

Prairie Island nuclear power plant

Bill Supporting Xcel Energy Nuclear Plants Dies in Minnesota

A bill that would have provided more cost-recovery certainty for Xcel Energy’s two Minnesota nuclear plants didn’t get through the state House of Representatives prior to the legislative session ending on May 20, effectively killing the measure. The bill would have allowed Xcel to submit proposals to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) designating each […]

A nuclear plant at sunset. Artwork:Victor Korniyenko/ POWER/Sonal Patel

Exelon: Record Amount of Nuclear Capacity Failed to Clear PJM Auction

Exelon Corp.’s Three Mile Island, Dresden, and all but a small portion of its Byron nuclear plants failed to clear PJM Interconnection’s latest annual capacity auction—despite an average 83% surge in capacity prices compared to last year. While coal and gas made moderate gains, demand response, energy efficiency, wind, and solar emerged as the auction’s […]

On August 31, 2012 a long filament of solar material that had been hovering in the sun's atmosphere, the corona, erupted out into space at 4:36 p.m. EDT. The coronal mass ejection, or CME, traveled at over 900 miles per second. The CME did not travel directly toward Earth, but did connect with Earth's magnetic environment, or magnetosphere, causing aurora to appear on the night of Monday, September 3. Pictured here is a lighten blended version of the 304 and 171 angstrom wavelengths taken from the Solar Dynamics Observatory. Cropped

FERC Proposes to Approve Revised GMD Reliability Standard

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is poised to approve a revised reliability standard to ensure reliability during geomagnetic disturbances (GMDs). FERC staff on May 17 issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) urging its commissioners to approve Reliability Standard TPL-007-2, which the North American Electric Reliability Corp.(NERC)  developed in response to FERC’s September 2016-issued Order […]

This remarkable image is actually a composite of hundreds of images created using satellite data collected at night.

Credit: NASA/GSFC

Concerns About Summer Reliability in Texas and California Persist

Higher-than-average temperatures forecast for much of the U.S. this summer won’t affect reliability in most regions, though concerns remain for Texas and Southern California, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Presenting the “Summer 2018 Energy Market and Reliability Assessment,” on May 17,  FERC staff said that most entities that are part of the […]