How nuclear plants are gaming climate-change rules. For more than a decade, state officials have been adopting procurement mandates to grow the share of electricity needs supplied by solar, wind and other renewable technologies. Today, such laws are in force in 29 states. As renewable technologies have grown in scale, cost has declined. Indeed, these laws have been so effective at reducing the cost of renewables that it is not readily apparent that such mandates are a necessary driver for decarbonization. A recent report by Energy Innovation, an independent research firm, suggests three-quarters of the U.S. coal fleet could be replaced today by renewables solely for economic reasons. Yet these laws remain on the books, and recently some of the nation’s largest energy producers have started to turn them to their own benefit. For the past several years, I’ve been researching clean-energy regulations at the state level, and a troubling pattern has begun to emerge: In numerous states, companies with large investments in nuclear energy — including Exelon, First Energy, Dominion and PSEG — have lobbied states to reconfigure their clean-power incentives to subsidize existing nuclear plants, rather than the emergent technologies that the laws were intended for.
Politico 23rd April 2019 read more »