Dennis Kucinich Wants To Bring Regulation Back To Ohio’s Electricity Market
Nuclear power is under attack from a strange direction – the warped wholesale electricity market that has formed in deregulated energy markets across America. Ohio has such a warped market.
Dennis Kucinich, a longstanding opponent to nuclear power, seems to understand the problem better than most.
“Ohio’s economy cannot absorb the shock of taking existing nuclear utilities off-line in a deregulated market,” said Kucinich. “The phase-out period must be extended in order to create a soft landing for Ohio’s economy and for the workers.”
Ohio is planning to prematurely close its two nuclear plants, Davis-Besse and Perry, because they are being undercut by cheap gas and highly-subsidized renewables. Kucinich, a long-serving Congressman from Ohio, is running for governor and, if he succeeds, plans to work with state lawmakers to re-impose energy utility regulation and prevent these closures.
Kucinich understands the risk of becoming dependent on gas. ‘The gas industry’s price-cutting is only temporary. Once they drive out the competition, we can expect sharp increases, which will adversely affect all Ohio energy consumers, residential, commercial and industrial ratepayers and create a drag on the economy.’
Deregulation might sound good, but it means that the cheapest energy source at the moment wins in the long run, regardless of how unreliable or variable it is, or how short-term the prices may be, or how it stacks up to other sources with respect to emissions.
Most deregulated markets that have closed nuclear plants also have increased costs and have not reduced emissions.
“Deregulation has been a failure in Ohio,” Kucinich said. “It has exposed Ohio and its workers to the market distortions of out-of-state predators. It has not in any way, shape or form resulted in benefits for either Ohio utility ratepayers or Ohio businesses.”
On top of that, artificial subsidies given to some sources, like wind, over others, like nuclear, further warp the system and do not value all aspects of the energy source. Nuclear has as low a carbon footprint as wind, and lower than all other sources including hydro and solar. Nuclear is the most reliable energy source of all, running 90% of the time and is pretty immune to weather and climate effects.
Kucinich is one of few lawmakers who understand what deregulation has done to the American energy sector.
“Out-of-state energy interests, particularly in gas, have used deregulation of power generation to game the market and have developed price points to undercut Ohio’s largest energy company,” noted Kucinich.
“Because of deregulation, there are now 1,600 Ohio jobs at risk – 350 at the W.H. Sammis plant, and 1,200 corporate jobs in Akron.” All very high-paying jobs.