Akron, Ohio-based Energy Harbor Corporation, notified the PJM Interconnection, their regional electric grid operator, that they will rescind the March 2018 deactivation notices for the two power generating units at Beaver Valley Nuclear Station due to the climate policy mandated by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf.
This is good news for those employed at the station and the residents of Pennsylvania. These two units, which employ ~1,000 people, were scheduled to be permanently shuttered in May and October 2021, respectively.
In October, Governor Wolf signed an executive order mandating the Department of Environmental Protection to draft a regulation that would put the state into the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a cap-and-trade program intended to limit carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.
Energy Harbor President and Chief Executive Officer John Judge said the state’s inclusion into RGGI will “begin to help level the playing field for our carbon-free nuclear generators” and will help it market “carbon free energy” to customers. RGGI aims to cut carbon emissions, which contribute to climate change, by requiring polluters to pay for their emissions. It appears that the decision to rescind the deactivations for Beaver Valley was largely driven by the efforts of Governor Wolf’s administration to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.
States that are included into RGGI are Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and New Jersey. Virginia recently passes a law that paves the way for them to join, as well.
This announcement is a complete reversal of the plans, FirstEnergy Solutions, its previous owner, had determined for the 1,872-megawatt Beaver Valley plant. In 2018, FirstEnergy Solutions filed for bankruptcy, due to competition from cheap natural gas, and announced their plans to shutter the station in 2021.