Fuel diversity matters. It takes a variety of energy sources to meet our electricity needs: nuclear, natural gas, solar and wind. Unfortunately, it is not a level playing field and our nation’s nuclear plants are struggling to compete.
For the 1,700 employees at PSEG Nuclear’s Salem and Hope Creek Generating Stations, our main priority is providing safe, reliable clean power for the region. South Jersey isn’t just where we do business – it’s also our home. As one of the region’s largest employers, we also see firsthand the impact we have on the local community every day.
Since 2013, 8 nuclear generating stations have shut down or have announced early retirement due to economic reasons, and four additional stations have been announced as being at risk for early retirement. Each plant closing inflicts real harm on the local economies where they are located and almost certainly will result in a clean energy source being replaced by new sources that will emit pollutants and carbon.
We can’t let this happen in New Jersey.
Other states are already taking action. New York approved a new Clean Energy Standard that calls for 50 percent of the state’s energy to come from renewable sources by 2030 – including nuclear energy. That’s an important milestone, because it recognizes nuclear’s contributions to the state’s carbon-reduction goals.
The recognition also means New York nuclear plants will share an estimated $965 million in clean energy credits – which the plants’ owners say is needed to keep them operating in the face of economic pressures affecting nuclear plants around the U.S.
New York’s solution has already prevented one nuclear plant – the James A. FitzPatrick plant in Scriba, N.Y. – from early retirement. Its owner, Entergy, had said the plant would close next year, putting 600 employees out of work. Once New York’s clean energy credits were approved, Exelon agreed to take over Fitzpatrick and keep it operating through 2034.
At PSEG, we have been educating regulators and legislators about the challenges facing the nuclear industry and the need to recognize the positive impact our nuclear plants have on clean air and South Jersey’s economy.
Without nuclear power, the environment will suffer as well as the thousands of people impacted by our nuclear plants – the small businesses and community organizations that rely so heavily on our support. We owe it to them and each other to take action now to support nuclear power.
If trends noted above continue or worsen, our nuclear plants could cease being economically competitive which may cause us to retire such units prior to the end of their useful lives. It’s important to get ahead of the issue here in New Jersey before we reach a point of no return. We will continue to advocate for sound policies that recognize nuclear power as a source of clean energy and an important part of a diverse and reliable energy portfolio.”
Peter P. Sena
President, PSEG Nuclear