Legislation is pending in the General Assembly to include nuclear as a renewable energy source under the Pennsylvania Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards (AEPS) Act. This will add nuclear to the carbon-free emissions sources from which power companies must buy a certain amount of their generation or credits deemed equal to it. Carbon-free emission sources currently include solar, wind, hydro-power and geo-thermal.
Under Senate Bill 510, electric companies would have to get about 40 percent of their power from nuclear plants – or buy credits to match that generation.
Across the United States, the nuclear power industry has been adversely affected by decreasing consumer demand for electricity as well as competition from cheaper natural gas and renewable sources.
Advocates say Senate Bill 510 is necessary to save nuclear power plants in the state from closing. One study estimates Pennsylvania will lose $4.6 billion annually if all five of the state’s plants close down. Two of the plants currently have plans to close due to fiscal trouble. However, others could see hundreds of millions of dollars in profits over the next few years regardless of the passage of Senate Bill 510.
The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission puts the cost of Senate Bill 510 between $458.9 million to $551 million annually and forcing power companies to purchase nuclear could mean an increase of $2.36-$4.50 monthly for residential customers and $1,216-$1,459 for industrial customers. Opponents say Senate Bill 510 creates an unnecessary subsidy for one industry – nuclear – at the expense of ratepayers.
Survey open to responses until May 30th.
This survey is closed. Check back soon for results.