FirstEnergy Solutions has begun decommissioning the Davis-Besse nuclear power plant in Ottawa County, Ohio, after lawmakers failed to provide subsidies for the plant by the company’s deadline of June 30. However, FirstEnergy said that the plant closure can be reversed if subsidies are passed soon.
The company is hoping for more than $100 million in subsidies to prop up the Davis-Besse plant and another nuclear power plant, The North Perry Plant in Perry, Ohio, which is set to shut down in 2021. The plants employ about 700 and 650 people, respectively.
Although FirstEnergy said that it remains optimistic that the Ohio Clean Air Program will pass the state legislature and keep the plants open, the company is not able to purchase enough fuel for the plant’s fueling cycle without the certainty of state support.
“Should we receive the long-term certainty that comes with an affirmative vote within this timeframe, we will immediately reevaluate our options,” a news release stated. “Given the expectation that the legislation will be passed in the coming weeks, we have communicated our commitment to doing everything possible to accommodate this process, which will come with increased financial burden associated with missing the June 30th fuel purchasing deadline for Davis-Besse.”
The House passed a plan to provide about $200 million in subsidies for the company to keep open the two unprofitable plants, but a Senate committee reviewed the plan and reduced the subsidies to about $150 million. The plan has not yet received a vote in the Senate.
Both plans pay for the subsidies by increasing rates for consumers.
The subsidy plan in the House initially received opposition from several green energy groups because the legislation removed programs for wind and solar energy. The Senate committee added those programs back in. It also received opposition from The Buckeye Institute, an Ohio-based, free-market nonprofit that said the government should not pick winners and losers by subsidizing unprofitable plants.