A study commissioned by the National Mining Association finds the potential closing of the Bruce Mansfield coal-fired power plant and others will end up costing consumers a lot more than it would to help subsidize.
The Bruce Mansfield plant in Shipping port, which is owned by bankrupt First Energy Solutions, is mentioned among three generating stations representing 5,258 megawatts of generating capacity, about 10 percent of the coal generation in the 13-state PJM Interconnection electrical grid. The other two are W.H. Sammis in Ohio and Pleasants in West Virginia, both also owned by First Energy Solutions.
The Energy Ventures Analysis study estimated it would cost PJM consumers $2 billion to close the coal-fired power plants and $5.7 billion to replace the power with combined cycle natural gas turbines. That compared to what the study said was about $130 million annually to help pay for the plants for their resiliency in critical power situations like heat waves and extreme winter weather such as the 2014 polar vortex.
“PJM to be fair is saying that yes, they could supply electricity without these plants that are closing, but they’re not saying they could supply it at the same price,” said Seth Schwartz, lead author of the study and president of Energy Ventures Analysis.
“Our analysis was focused on what would happen to the total cost of electricity generation in PJM and therefore what cost would be borne by the ratepayers if you close down another 5,000 megawatts of coal-fired capacity,” Schwartz said. “That would tighten the market and the price would go up both for capacity and energy, over time, and that would be an increase in cost to the ratepayers.”
First Energy Solutions has petitioned the Trump administration for help and in June it was reported that Trump had directed the Department of Energy to prepare a way to help the plants. No bailout has occurred, the First Energy Solutions bankruptcy is proceeding in an Ohio court and there has been no apparent movement on any state aid in Pennsylvania or Ohio.
“This report confirms through specific analysis of actual at-risk plants that the cost of doing nothing far exceeds the costs of policy measures to support existing coal plants providing reliable and resilient generation for the power grid,” National Mining Association President and CEO Hal Quinn said in a statement.
PJM Interconnection didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
See the article here.
- On July 23, 2018