After failing to clear PJM auction, Exelon says Three Mile Island nuke will close in 2019
Thanks to stagnant power demand and cheap natural gas, capacity market prices in latest PJM auction cleared at about $76.50/MW-day for most of the grid, lower than analyst expectations and the $100/MW-day of last year’s auction.
That wasn’t enough for two Exelon nukes, which have higher fixed costs than modern natural gas plants.
The company says it is committed to keeping Quad Cities online, so long as it starts receiving zero emission credits from the Illinois Future Energy Jobs Act, passed late last year. But Pennsylvania lawmakers have passed no such nuclear support, and Exelon put pressure on them directly in its closure statement.
“Absent policy reforms, the loss of Pennsylvania nuclear plants would increase air pollution, compromise the resiliency of the electric grid, raise energy prices for consumers, eliminate thousands of good-paying local jobs and weaken the state’s economy,” company officials wrote.
Exelon wants its nuclear plants included in the state’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard (AEPS), which directs utilities to source about 18% of their power from resources like wind, solar and hydro by 2020. Either that, or the state could pass a ZEC program like New York or Illinois.
The company used a similar tactic in both of those states to pressure policymakers on nuclear subsidies. Before the Illinois legislature passed its nuclear supports in a last-minute push, Exelon slated a group of plants in the state for closure, threatening major job and tax revenue losses.