Seek Davis-Besse plant buyer
The future is looking dim for the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station that is scheduled to be closed for good in 2020.
The cheap natural gas that has contributed to lowering everybody’s heating bills over the past decade has driven FirstEnergy Solutions, which operates the power plant, into bankruptcy. The familiar hyperboloid cooling tower that looms over Ottawa County and Lake Erie is set to cease operating in 2020 because FirstEnergy Solutions can’t compete with cheap, fracked natural gas.
Now, the company that operates America’s largest electrical grid said it can live without the Davis-Besse nuclear power plant and two other nuclear plants operated by FirstEnergy Solutions.
PJM Interconnection LLC, of Audubon, Pa., serves 65 million people in a 13-state region that includes northwest Ohio. Company president Andrew L. Ott told reporters on May 1 that even without the three nuclear plants, the grid is stable and there is no shortage of electricity anticipated under normal circumstances.
He said it is a legitimate concern what backups are in place if something should interrupt the natural gas pipelines, such as terrorist or cyber attacks or weather events. Unlike gas-fired plants, nuclear and coal plants store months of fuel.
The problem may deserve more concern than he is letting on. As nuclear and coal plants close, the regional grid is becoming increasingly fixed on one form of energy — natural gas.
As troubled as Davis-Besse has been, it is a valuable, functioning power generating station in a part of the country with a high demand for electricity. Then there’s the impact the closure will have on the lives of hundreds of Davis-Besse employees, as well as the Benton-Carroll-Salem school district, which relies on the property tax from the power plant.