In Ohio: Subsidizing Nuclear – and Coal?

May 30, 2019

There’s a case to be made for keeping nuclear plants running during this energy transition. There is not a case for subsidizing coal plants with the same legislation – while cutting incentives to competition from wind and energy efficiency.

Ohio makes yet another strong play to be the nation’s most backward state.

Cincinnati.com

COLUMBUS – Ohio Republicans’ energy overhaul started as a thinly veiled attempt to rescue two northern Ohio nuclear plants with new fees on everyone’s electric bills. 
Now, the veil is off. 
Changes made to House Bill 6 last week would direct most of the $197.6 million collected from new fees on Ohioans’ electric bills to Akron-based FirstEnergy Solutions, which operates two nuclear plants outside Toledo and Cleveland.
Renewable energy companies from wind to solar would not get a cut of this “Ohio Clean Air Program.”
In a double blow, lawmakers also axed current programs that encourage electricity providers to purchase renewable energy and help customers become more energy efficient. 
And lawmakers ensured utilities could charge customers a fee for two coal plants operated by Piketon-based Ohio Valley Electric Corporation through 2030. The plants are located in Gallipolis and Madison, Indiana. 

Wednesday’s changes likely jettisoned any hope of widespread Democratic support.
“It’s now just straight-up corporate welfare,” said Rep. Kristin Boggs, the Ohio House’s No. 2 Democrat. “I don’t know how else to describe it.” 

Bloomberg:

The Ohio House of Representatives on Wednesday approved a measure that would subsidize the state’s struggling coal and nuclear plants after lobbying from a member of President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign.
Bob Paduchik, who also led the Ohio Trump campaign in 2016, called lawmakers urging them to support the legislation and stressing that the president was behind it as well, according to a person familiar with the conversations.

Paduchik’s pitch underscored the thousands of coal and nuclear power plant jobs that could be tied to the legislation and the political risks to Trump in the battleground state if it failed, said the person, who requested anonymity to discuss the matter.

The measure, which now goes to the Ohio Senate, requires electric customers to subsidize the state’s aging coal and nuclear power plants. Last year, Akron, Ohio-based FirstEnergy Solutions Corp. asked the Department of Energy to issue an emergency order to keep certain plants operating.
And Robert E. Murray, the billionaire founder and chairman of mining company Murray Energy Corp., which has sold coal to the company, spent months in 2017 pushing Trump and top administration officials to keep coal power plants running.
The Ohio measure would slap new fees on electric bills for a “Clean Air Program” and steer most of the revenue to FirstEnergy Solutions’s Davis-Besse and Perry nuclear plants. A separate monthly fee would be authorized through 2030 to support two coal plants operated by the Ohio Valley Electric Corp.
FirstEnergy Solutions, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last year, has said it would close the reactors without the subsidies, which critics have characterized as a corporate bailout.

Cincinnati.com:

Nuclear power plants in northern Ohio scored a victory in the Ohio House of Representatives Wednesday.
House Bill 6, an energy overhaul that charges a monthly fee Ohioans statewide to bail out two nuclear plants in northern Ohio, passed the Ohio House Wednesday, 53-43. 
Speaker Larry Householder, R-Glenford in Perry County, cobbled together support from both Republicans and Democrats to send the proposal to the Ohio Senate.
Proponents of the bill say it will save Ohio customers money by eliminating other fees that encourage electricity providers to purchase renewable energy and help customers become more energy efficient.
“Is this a bailout? Well, yeah,” said Rep. Bill Seitz, R-Green Township. “But do you know who this is a bailout of? The taxpayers.”
Opponents of House Bill 6 say clean energy and energy efficiency requirements saved Ohioans money and cutting them would hit customers’ bills. 
Most of the $197.6 million collected in fees would go to FirstEnergy Solutions, which operates the two nuclear plants outside of Toledo and Cleveland, through 2026. Without help from state lawmakers, the plants are slated to close by May 2021, leaving about 1,300 employees there without jobs.  

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4 Responses to “In Ohio: Subsidizing Nuclear – and Coal?”

  1. rsmurf Says:

    Every minute we screw around like this puts your children closer to DISASTER. Are you that stupid!

  2. Jeffery Green Says:

    I remember hearing this line over and over again gov. should no pick winners and losers. ANd yet here are Republicans taking a loser and putting it on life support before its eventual death at the expense of the public.

  3. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    And Robert E. Murray, the billionaire founder and chairman of mining company Murray Energy Corp., which has sold coal to the company, spent months in 2017 pushing Trump and top administration officials to keep coal power plants running.

    That’s the snowflake who sued John Oliver for his piece on coal, FYI.

  4. redskylite Says:

    Coal who needs it ?

    Britain has gone two weeks without using coal power for the first time since the industrial revolution, smashing its previous record of eight days set earlier this month.

    The milestone, which will be reached at 3.12pm on Friday, marks the only coal-free fortnight since the world’s first coal-powered plant opened in London in 1882.

    https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/coal-power-uk-record-climate-change-global-warming-fossil-fuels-a8938256.html


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