New Ohio ‘bailout’ request shakes up nuclear/carbon debate

“This attempted bailout does nothing to move Ohio forward, and would hold us back from a rapidly evolving clean energy transition that is creating a lot of new opportunity, more sustainable jobs, and cutting edge technologies,” said Trish Demeter of the Ohio Environmental Council...

“FirstEnergy’s two nuclear plants are old, and we are asking why Ohioans should be paying for a nuclear subsidy when other resources are less risky, less expensive and much better for the environment overall,” said Demeter at the Ohio Environmental Council.

“Not all zero-emissions sources are alike,” she stressed. “Nuclear energy carries with it a heavy toll when evaluating this resource cradle-to-grave.” In Demeter’s view, it makes much more economic sense to invest heavily in renewables, which avoid those risks.

“Once a wind turbine or solar panel is installed, there is no fuel that must be extracted from the ground, and there is no waste to deal with afterwards,” she noted. And combining them with innovative technologies like battery storage “will make renewables virtually unstoppable as the primary energy source we rely on in the near future.”

Demeter also distinguished FirstEnergy’s ZEN proposal from the state’s renewable portfolio standard.

“Ohio’s RPS is a market mechanism to ensure we’re maximizing clean energy opportunities in Ohio, and diversifying our energy portfolio in a responsible way,” she explained. “What FirstEnergy is asking for is a direct subsidy of two nuclear power plants that appear to be losing money in the regional energy markets.”

“The company is seeking ratepayer protection for these plants, but shareholders, not ratepayers, should be on the hook for the bet the company made on nuclear plants,” Demeter said.

Date Published: 

Thursday, March 2, 2017