WSW: Palisades Closing, Economics And Energy
Plans to close the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant sooner than was previously announced caught many people by surprise. But Midwest Energy News reporter Andy Balaskovitz says there were some signs of an accelerated timeline.
A story, written by Balaskovitz, was published by Midwest Energy News December 5th saying that Michigan’s three nuclear power plants are on solid financial footing. But Balaskovitz told WMUK’s Gordon Evans that operating the plant is getting more expensive. He says low prices for natural gas and other forms of energy are putting pressure on nuclear plants.
Palisades owner Entergy announced plans on December 8th to close the plant in October of 2018. Originally it was to remain open until 2022. Balaskovitz says Entergy has been making moves to get out of the “merchant” business - generating power and selling it to utilities.
The announcement of Palisades’ earlier closing comes as the Michigan Legislature is working on an overhaul of the state’s energy policy. Balaskovitz says closing Palisades raises questions about Michigan’s energy supply. He says state energy officials had already been contemplating what to do after Palisades is closed down for good. He says state regulators still have to approve Palisades’ closing, and determine if energy demands can be met without the plant.
Balaskovitz says the Michigan Public Service Commission would have to approve a new agreement between Consumers Energy and Entergy. The federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission will have to approve the timeline and a plan for decommissioning plant. Balaskovitz says that will likely be an extensive process over the next couple of years.