HARRISBURG – A bipartisan group of state Senators introduced legislation today that would help level the playing field for the nuclear industry, protect nearly 16,000 Pennsylvania jobs, prevent consumers from facing significantly higher long-term energy costs, and greatly assist the Commonwealth in meeting its carbon emission reduction goals.
Senator Ryan P. Aument (R-36), the prime sponsor of Senate Bill 510, would add nuclear energy to the state’s Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards (AEPS) Act. The law was created in 2004 to support the development of alternative energy sources in order to reduce carbon emissions and promote a cleaner environment.
“Nuclear energy is the most efficient, carbon-free producer in our system,” Aument said. “The loss of Pennsylvania’s nuclear industry will inevitably lead to increased costs for ratepayers, a less reliable and resilient electricity grid, and a loss of billions of dollars for the state’s economy.”
The state currently has five nuclear power plants, two of which have already announced that they will prematurely shut down – Three Mile Island in October 2019 and Beaver Valley in 2021. These premature shutdowns are part of a national trend, and based on independent analyses, the other three nuclear power plants in Pennsylvania are likely not far behind.
The shutdown process is irreversible, so the loss of the nuclear power plants now means that consumers would lose those benefits forever, Aument said.
Failing to preserve the nuclear energy industry would cost Pennsylvanians an estimated $4.6 billion annually, including $788 million in electricity cost increases to consumers and $2 billion in lost GDP.
“Making long-term energy decisions based exclusively on short-term marginal cost would be foolish,” Aument said. “Far too often, Harrisburg is short-sighted and kicks the can down the road when faced with difficult economic choices. We have an opportunity now to do the right thing for ratepayers by preserving the role of the nuclear industry, and avoid repeating the painful and expensive mistakes of the past.”
Aument emphasized that the legislation would treat nuclear energy the same as every other zero-carbon emission energy source in Pennsylvania, including solar, wind, and other alternative energy technologies.
Pennsylvania’s nuclear power plants currently generate 42 percent of the state’s electricity and provide 93 percent of the Commonwealth’s zero-carbon electricity.
“Powerful special interests have disingenuously branded any support for the nuclear industry as a ‘bailout,’ but in reality, current law stacks the deck heavily against Pennsylvania’s nuclear plants,” Aument said. “Including nuclear energy in the state’s alternative energy plans will help level the playing field for the industry and ensure its long-term viability in Pennsylvania’s marketplace while simultaneously protecting ratepayers from higher electricity bills down the road.”
CONTACT: Ryan Boop (717) 787-4420