Less than 24 hours after Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner signed off on a plan to subsidize two nuclear plants for billions of dollars over the next 10 years, energy companies in Michigan announced plans to close one of the state’s three plants as a way to protect ratepayers.
Entergy’s decision to close the Palisades plant in 2018 — by cutting short a power-purchase agreement with Consumers Energy that was to expire in 2022 — is a strong contrast to the protracted debate in Illinois over whether to subsidize unprofitable nuclear plants there.
Unlike in Illinois, Entergy and Consumers officials have no plans to push for such a ratepayer subsidy in Michigan. They say closing Palisades, which has faced multiple safety violations over the past several years, is the more financially prudent option.
“We do not believe there would be support in Michigan for legislation that would subsidize nuclear and have no plans to push for that,” said Entergy spokesperson Patricia Kakridas.
Bill Mohl, president of Entergy’s Wholesale Commodities division, similarly told EnergyWire that it would be up to states to put a value on the emissions benefits of nuclear plants to increase their likelihood of survival. “So we’ve seen that in New York. We’ve seen it in Illinois. We certainly didn’t see that in Michigan,” he said.
Closing Palisades in 2018 rather than waiting out the rest of the power purchase agreement with Consumers “is prudent when comparing the transaction to the business risks of continued operation,” Kakridas added.