Sunday, August 6, 2017

Is the future fading to black for nuclear power in NJ?

Salem and Hope Creek nuclear generating stations in Salem County, NJ. Photo:Gary Emeigh,,The News Journal 

Herb Jackson is Washington Correspondent for The Record:

New Jersey’s biggest utility is telling state officials it may close two nuclear plants in Salem County if the flood of cheap natural gas accessed by fracking shale deposits makes them unprofitable.

Closing the Hope Creek and Salem reactors run by Public Service Enterprise Group, combined with the scheduled closure of Exelon's Oyster Creek plant in Ocean County, would leave New Jersey nuke-free.

But that would force PSEG to scramble for other ways to generate about half the electricity the state uses, and those alternatives all come with consequences of their own for the utility and for customers.

PSEG chief executive Ralph Izzo said shifting to gas alone would be more expensive because of added capital costs and price increases caused by increased demand. It also would increase carbon dioxide emissions by the equivalent of 3 million more cars, and make New Jersey more vulnerable to supply disruptions, especially during extended winter cold snaps, he said.

"You would have 97 percent of the state's power coming from natural gas," Izzo said during a recent Washington, D.C. visit to receive an award from a trade group for the company building solar arrays on landfills.

"We believe gas is abundant, we believe it's going to be low-cost for a long time to come, but we also know at some time in the future you're going to have a polar vortex, you're going to have a disruption in a pipeline," Izzo said.

The company has "begun a conversation" with state officials about creating a "zero-emission credit" in the electricity market that rewards nuclear plants for not creating air pollution. Izzo argued that power sources such as wind and solar already get federal tax credits that compensate for their higher costs.

Read the full story here

Related news story:
NJ CANT hopes lawmakers won't subsidize PSEG nuclear

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