State lawmakers have begun discussing ways to shore up Pennsylvania’s struggling nuclear power industry, while maintaining a reliable electric grid and low prices for consumers.
That was the focus of a meeting Wednesday of the new, bipartisn Nuclear Energy Caucus. As the drilling boom continues to flood the market with cheap gas and electricity demand has slowed, the nuclear industry is having trouble keeping up. Last year the Three Mile Island plant near Harrisburg didn’t clear an auction for the future sale of its electricity raising concerns it could shut down prematurely
The caucus is widely expected to push for some kind of legislation later this year to secure the future of Pennsylvania’s nuclear fleet. The state’s five plants produce about a third of its electricity.
Davitt Woodwell, president of the Pennsylvania Environmental Council, attended the meeting and says his group is supportive of having nuclear power remain part of Pennsylvania’s energy mix, as part of long-term efforts to combat climate change.
“If you’re replacing coal with gas, it’s a benefit,” he says. “If you’re replacing nuclear with gas, it’s a detriment.”
He adds it will be difficult to figure out how best to support the nuclear industry.
“Other states have looked at this and figured out their solutions. Are those right for Pennsylvania? There will be a lot different interests coming down hard on all sides of this,” says Woodwell. “The devil will truly be in the in details.”…