FirstEnergy Employees Urged to Support Pennsylvania Nuclear Legislation

March 15, 2019

Despite the fact that FirstEnergy no longer has a financial interest in competitive generation in Pennsylvania or Ohio, employees are encouraged to support efforts to assist nuclear plants formerly controlled by the company.

“Anything that we can do to support those plants and continue to have those jobs in the community is important.” said Sam Belcher, senior vice president and president, FirstEnergy Utilities. “We won’t benefit financially by the success of the plants, but sustaining nuclear plants in Pennsylvania is vital to consumers, communities and the environment.”

Amy Bowan, backed by members of labor and profession groups supporting nuclear power, speaks at the introduction of a bill to help keep Pennsylvania’s nuclear power plants open.

On Monday, March 11, a bipartisan group of lawmakers in Pennsylvania introduced H.B. 11, legislation that would include nuclear energy in the state’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards (AEPS). The bill would add nuclear power to an existing list of 16 clean energy sources that already receive financial compensation through the AEPS in order to promote energy technologies that provide an environmental benefit to Pennsylvanians. Currently, the benefits of nuclear energy are not recognized under the AEPS, despite providing 93 percent of the Commonwealth’s carbon-free energy.

“A single nuclear reactor generates more power than all the wind and solar combined in Pennsylvania,” said Rep. Tom Mehaffie, the bill’s sponsor. “Passage of this bill will acknowledge that nuclear energy is the only baseload power source that operates 24/7, 365 days a year with zero carbon emissions.”

One of those chosen to speak at the announcement of the legislation was Amy Bowan, Operations training supervisor at FENOC’s Beaver Valley, now scheduled to close in 2021.

“Beaver Valley is set to close prematurely, well before our license expires,” she said. “Without action, in two years, Beaver Valley Units 1 and 2 will be closed. We will lose the grid resiliency that nuclear power provides as well as the ability to provide clean energy across the state, predictably and safely.”

The premature closure of nuclear plants is part of a trend in deregulated states within PJM territory. The plants face PJM market rules that don’t recognize the value of the environmental and reliability attributes of nuclear power, coupled with the market influence of cheap natural gas.

Other Pennsylvania nuclear plants threatened include Exelon’s Three Mile Island plant, which is scheduled to close prematurely this fall.

“Pennsylvania has long maintained a diverse mix of electric generation, which promotes physical security, grid resiliency and service reliability,” said Sam. “Nuclear power is especially notable for the environmental, employment and economic benefits it provides to the Pennsylvania customers and communities we serve. With those interests in mind, we support the proposal.”

FirstEnergy employees who live in Pennsylvania can use Nuclear Powers Pennsylvania’s Action Center* to send emails to their legislator in support of legislation to assist nuclear power.

Employees who work in Pennsylvania but live out-of-state can use the Action Center by inputting the address of their Pennsylvania work location. You will have the opportunity to change the text of the email being sent to reflect that you work in the legislator’s district. If you neither live nor work in Pennsylvania but want to support the effort, you can still send an email by using the address of the Beaver Valley Power Station (PA-168, zip code 15050) and note that you work in the utility industry and support keeping nuclear power plants in Pennsylvania open.

*By clicking this website’s link in this article, you are entering a website maintained by an outside party, which is entirely responsible for the site’s content.