Exelon, Entergy Nuclear Reactors Win Subsidies From New York
Exelon Corp. and Entergy Corp. have won subsidies totaling about $500 million a year for their money-losing nuclear reactors in New York, the first state to throw such a lifeline to an industry struggling with weak demand and low prices.
The state Public Service Commission voted for the funding on Monday as part of a broader plan to spur the development of clean energy. Exelon Corp. said following the decision that it would invest about $200 million in two nuclear plants next year and continue discussions to buy a third from Entergy that is slated to close.
“We’ll immediately invest hundreds of millions of dollars right back into the upstate economy, which will have a long-term positive impact across the state,” Exelon Chief Executive Officer Chris Crane said in a statement.
The New York plan is part of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s goal of getting half the state’s power from renewable sources by 2030. It establishes renewable energy credits to subsidize solar, wind, hydro, biomass and tidal power, as well as fuel cells. The decision stands in stark contrast to the strategy of other states looking to use cleaner energy. A bill that Massachusetts passed just hours earlier threatens to put New England’s last two reactors out of business by replacing them with renewable resources.
New York’s nuclear subsidies remain controversial among environmental groups who say the aid would be better spent promoting solar and wind power.
“The nuclear subsidies are a mistake and a misuse of public money, ” Jessica Azulay, program director for the Alliance for a Green Economy based in Syracuse, New York, said Monday in a statement.
Exelon, the largest U.S. nuclear-power generator, rose 0.5 percent to close at $37.46 in New York. Entergy fell 0.2 percent to $81.27.
Entergy said last month that it was in talks to sell its James A. FitzPatrick plant in New York to Exelon by mid-August. Exelon already operates the R.E. Ginna and Nine Mile Point nuclear plants in the state.