A bill introduced in Ohio legislature calls for nuclear power subsidies to prop up two economically struggling FirstEnergy nuclear power plants.
HB 381 proposes a Zero Emission Nuclear Resource (ZEN) program that would support FirstEnergy’s North Perry and Oak Harbor plants.
It is the second time around for the ZEN program. A previous bill aimed at providing nuclear subsidies stalled in the legislature earlier this year.
Illinois and New York have both adopted nuclear subsidy programs, and Connecticut has attempted to institute a nuclear subsidy. Ohio’s previous attempts at its version of a nuclear subsidy stalled, but a new version of the bill aims to make the subsidies more palatable by reducing the costs to ratepayers.
HB 381 would set the cost for residential customers at $2.50 and the lesser of $3,500 a month or 5% of the total bill for commercial and industrial customers. Under the previous bill, all customers would have been hit by a 5% monthly rate increase. The new bill also shortens the term of the subsidy to 12 years from 16 years. The new bill is sponsored by Rep. Anthony DeVitis (R) and co-sponsored by Rep. Ron Young (R).
“Passage of [HB] 381 would increase the likelihood of keeping the plants operational throughout the life of the program,” FirstEnergy spokeswoman Jennifer Young told The News-Herald.
The Ohio bill comes as the Trump administration is trying to find a way to turn the tide for coal and nuclear generation. In September, Energy Secretary Rick Perry proposed the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) begin a rulemaking on cost recovery for baseload generation. And earlier this month, the Environmental Protection Agency began the process for repealing the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan.