Beaver Valley deactivation notice rescinded

16 March 2020

Energy Harbor Corp has rescinded the deactivation notices for the two-unit Beaver Valley Power Station in Shippingport, Pennsylvania, which had been scheduled to shut down in 2021. Energy Harbor's decision comes after the state began the process to join a regional initiative aiming to reduce carbon emissions through the trading of emissions allowances.

Beaver Valley (Image: US NRC/FirstEnergy)

FirstEnergy Solutions became Energy Harbor in February after completing a Chapter 11 bankruptcy restructuring. In March 2018, the company notified regional transmission organisation PJM Interconnection (PJM) that it that it would deactivate the Beaver Valley, Davis-Besse and Perry nuclear power plants during the next three years because of market challenges. It notified PJM on 13 March of its decision to rescind the notices for Beaver Valley. The deactivations of the Davis-Besse and Perry units were rescinded last July after the state of Ohio passed into law a bill providing clean energy credits to zero-emission power producers.

Energy Harbor President and CEO John Judge said the decision to rescind the deactivations was largely driven by efforts by the Pennsylvania administration to join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), which he said would "begin to help level the playing field" for nuclear generators.

RGGI is a market-based collaboration of states from the USA's Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions working together to reduce their power sector carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by setting a regional cap on emissions from electric power plants in participating states.

"We are excited about the RGGI process implementation in early 2022 but would need to revisit deactivation if RGGI does not come to fruition as expected," Judge said.

Last October, Governor Tom Wolf took executive action instructing the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to join the RGGI. Qualifying power plants must acquire CO2 allowances equal to the amount of CO2 emitted. Entities in the qualifying states can purchase and trade allowances through a quarterly auction.

The RGGI currently includes the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Pennsylvania's DEP is now working on the draft regulations that will facilitate the state's participation in the scheme.

Beaver Valley's two pressurised water reactors entered commercial operation in October 1976 (unit 1) and 1987 (unit 2). They are currently licensed to operate until 2036 and 2047, respectively.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News