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New Jersey Adopts Zero Emission Credits to Keep Nuclear Reactors Online

  • April 24, 2019

In 2018, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill that increased the state’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS) to 50% by 2030 and 100% clean energy by 2050.  This bill also included 2,000 MW of energy storage and increases to offshore wind production.  As part of this bill, the Zero Emissions Certificate (ZEC) program was established to maintain the state’s carbon-free nuclear fleet.  Across the border, Pennsylvania also recently announced a potential subsidy for its own nuclear power plants. 

Last week, the state’s Board of Public Utilities (BPU) approved Zero Emission Credits of up to $300 million in annual subsidies to the state’s three nuclear powerplants.  Each plant will be paid approximately $100 million each for the 3-year period ZECs are in effect.  Due to sustained low electricity prices from cheap natural gas, nuclear powerplants have been uneconomical.   PSEG, owners of the three nuclear power plants Hope Creek, Salem 1 and Salem 2, applied for these subsidies back in December 2018 because without these subsides, the financial strain of operating these powerplants would have forced them to shut down within the next 3 years.  If these facilities were to shut down, it would remove over 30% of the state’s total energy production and almost 90% of the state’s emission free generation. 

The current estimated increase is $0.004/kWh, which would increase the average residential home owner’s invoice by $40 a year.  Please see below for estimated costs increases by customer type and volumes:

These costs are effective immediately and all end users in New Jersey will be seeing an increase in their next invoice.  Regulatory changes can quickly alter your budget and should be planned for when implementing energy budgets.  With a tool like watchwire , you can track all billing line items, such as these regulatory charges, so you can audit, report, and analyze trends across your portfolio.  Reach out to EnergyWatch today to learn more.

Sources:

https://www.njspotlight.com/stories/19/02/03/existing-nuclear-and-new-renewables-both-necessary-for-a-clean-energy-future/

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/new-jersey/articles/2019-04-19/report-finds-nj-nuclear-plants-getting-subsidy-are-viable

https://nj.pseg.com/newsroom/newsrelease72