Ohio lawmakers introduce bill to support FirstEnergy’s nuclear plants
Ohio is the latest state to catch ZEC fever. Zero emission credits are designed to aid nuclear plants at risk of early closure in the nation’s wholesale markets by paying them for their zero-carbon generation.
But critics, ranging from consumer advocates to gas generators, have opposed them, saying they threaten price formation in organized power markets.
In a recent filing, the PJM Interconnection’s market monitor wrote that “subsidies are contagious.”
Connecticut late last month introduced legislation that would create a solicitation that could provide a power purchase agreement for the state’s sole nuclear plant, Dominion Energy’s Millstone station.
New Jersey is also considering a ZEC proposal.
Prior to that, New York’s Public Service Commission and Illinois’ legislature passed ZECs aimed at keeping nuclear plants in their states operating. Both efforts are being contested.
The bill that is soon to be introduced in Ohio uses a different name, ZEN, but it is similar in many respects to the efforts in other states.
To qualify for the ZEN, a nuclear plant would have to be connected to the PJM Interconnection. SB 128 also would require all Ohio electric distribution companies with a nuclear plant in its service territory to participate in the program.
The bill further stipulates that “all electric distribution utilities in the same holding company system shall participate jointly and shall allocate costs across all classes of each participating utility’s customers.”
FirstEnergy has two nuclear plants in Ohio, Davis-Besse and Perry, and one in Pennsylvania, the Beaver Valley station in Shippingport, which is served by Duquesne Power.
The bill also makes provisions for “all other nuclear energy resources” that provide “the same level of environmental benefits to the state as nuclear energy resources located within the state.”
The price of the ZENs would be set by the state’s Public Utilities Commission and start at $17 per credit. The program would run for successive two-year periods.