Three Mile Island fails to sell future energy production, causing speculation of shut down
Speculations are swirling that the Three Mile Island nuclear plant could close down after no one purchased a year’s worth of the power plant’s future electricity during a recent energy auction.
The PJM Capacity Auction was an opportunity for power generation companies to sell the electricity they will generate in the future. Three power plants owned by Exelon, including Three Mile Island, did not sell any electricity for 2018/2019 at the auction.
There are approximately 520 Exelon employees at the Three Mile Island power plant. The majority of them, according to the company, live in Dauphin and Lancaster Counties.
Exelon Spokesman Ralph DeSantis said TMI’s failure to sell its electricity at the PJM auction is “an indication that TMI’s economics are challenged.”
Factors like the demand for electricity, abundance of natural gas and availability of other energy sources, DeSantis said, all play a role in the challenging economics at TMI.
Eric Epstein, chairman of Three Mile Island Alert, said TMI’s economic condition has “gone from unstable to critically ill” by not being able to sell its energy.
“It’s hard to imagine a scenario where Three Mile Island does not become a permanent nuclear garbage site in the middle of the Susquehanna River,” said Epstein, whose safe-energy organization is based in Harrisburg.
“TMI has hit the negative nuclear trifecta: it’s an aging, small, single-unit plant trying to survive in a competitive and deregulated marketplace.”
The auction results, Epstein said, will likely force Exelon to close some of its smaller rectors, like TMI, in order to free up cash flow and make their nuclear business profitable.
However, Exelon is not throwing in the towel.
DeSantis said that while TMI did not sell its one-year supply of electricity at the PJM auction, the company still has the option to sell at other auctions and on the daily energy market.