The state senate decided to approve legislation that would save the two state’s nuclear reactors. Both nuclear reactors — Davis-Besse and Perry — belong to FirstEnergy Solutions, which said it would close down the loss-making power plants in 2020 and 2021 unless the state provided capital assistance.
FirstEnergy Solutions is an insolvent unit of Ohio’s FirstEnergy Corp. According to FirstEnergy Solutions, shutting down the reactors could lead to the loss of nearly 4,300 jobs. One of the nuclear industry groups said that these units provided about 90% of the state’s clean power — without carbon emissions.
The bill, well-known as Bill 6 (HB6), is delegated to Republican Governor Mike DeWine, who has already expressed his approval for the legislation.
The bill comes almost a month after the June 30 deadline by FirstEnergy Solutions for the purchase of fuel for the Spring 2020 refueling of the Davis-Besse plant.
FirstEnergy Solutions staff members were not readily available to comment, but the company worked with the state to avoid the closure of Davis-Besse if parliament adopted the bill by July 17.
Although the Senate, also under control by Republicans, adopted the bill on that date, the House didn’t take into consideration the bill because there was not a sufficient number of members to adopt it at that time.
The bill, which has been passed by both Houses, would reduce overall electricity rates for consumers by diminishing the state’s clean energy and energy efficiency objectives, even if FirstEnergy Solutions receives about $150 million per year in the period from 2021 to 2027 to maintain its reactors in service.
According to analysts, the state would also contribute with about $60 million annually until 2030 to maintain two Ohio Valley Electric Corp (OVEC) coal plants, one of which is located in the state of Indiana. OVEC belongs to the American Electric Power Co Inc., Duke Energy Corp, and other Midwest utilities.
Several environmental groups were opposing the nuclear rescue plan, which would fund coal power plants, weakening the state’s goals regarding renewable clean energy and energy efficiency.
According to the words of Daniel Sawmiller, Ohio’s director of energy policy, Ohio is making it clear to the renewable energy sector that they aren’t welcome.
In the meantime, the natural gas industry was against the bill partly because the gas plants would earn more money in case the nuclear and coal power stations were shut down.