Thursday, May 24, 2018

New Jersey Governor Signs Nuclear Power Subsidy Bill into Law

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy speaks after taking the oath of office in Trenton, New Jersey, U.S., January 16, 2018. (Credit: Reuters/Lucas Jackson} Click to Enlarge.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed several legislative initiatives on Wednesday to advance the state’s clean energy goals, including a controversial bill that would subsidize the continued operation of nuclear power plants.

The new nuclear law, which could cost about $300 million a year, establishes a Zero Emissions Certificate (ZEC) program to maintain New Jersey’s nuclear energy supply, which contributes close to 40 percent of the state’s electric capacity and is by far its largest source of carbon free energy.

Plants seeking to participate in the program would be required, among other things, to demonstrate that they make a significant contribution to New Jersey air quality and are at risk of closure within three years.

The four reactors operating in New Jersey are capable of generating over 4,100 megawatts (MW) of electricity.  Three are located at the Salem-Hope Creek nuclear plant and are operated by a unit of Public Service Enterprise Group Inc, the state’s biggest power company.  One megawatt can power about 1,000 U.S. homes.

The other reactor, Oyster Creek, is owned by Exelon Corp, which also owns part of the Salem reactors.  Exelon plans to shut Oyster Creek in October 2018 under a long-standing agreement with the state.

“Exelon commends New Jersey Governor Phil signing into law a package of legislation that will help to preserve 90 percent of New Jersey’s carbon-free power, protect 5,800 jobs and save residents and businesses $400 million on their electric bills,” Exelon said in a statement.
Nuclear operators have shut several reactors over the past five years and plan to close more as cheap natural gas from shale fields has depressed power prices, making it uneconomic for generators to keep operating some nuclear plants.

The new law makes New Jersey the fourth state after New York, Illinois, and Connecticut to adopt a program to provide a new revenue stream to keep nuclear reactors in service to help meet the states’ greenhouse gas reduction goals.

Read more at New Jersey Governor Signs Nuclear Power Subsidy Bill into Law

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