Will the closing of Three Mile Island impact Pennsylvania electricity rates?
Recently, the owner of Three Mile Island, the power plant associated with America’s all-time worst commercial nuclear accident, announced the nuclear plant will be closing at the end of September. While some are excited to see the plant closed, others are left wondering what will happen to their electricity bill.
The good news is that the closing of TMI is not expected to impact electricity rates in PA in the near-term.
The loss of TMI’s capacity as of this October amounts to a reduction of about 804 megawatts from Pennsylvania’s 2018 generating capacity of 44,753 MWs. That’s a reduction of 1.8 percent.
The state’s peak demand for electricity, according to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, requires approximately 30,000 MWs. This means that power supply should be no problem even with the closer of TMI.
“There are no reliability issues, given the oversupply situation in PJM,” which covers Pennsylvania and all or parts of 12 other states.” – Christina Simeone, a senior fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Kleinman Center for Energy Policy,
Electricity rates in PA should also stay stable, if not decrease, in the short-term.
Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission Chair Gladys Brown Dutrieuille told state House members Monday that “if the lost nuclear capacity is replaced by natural gas-fueled generation, which is the likely outcome, wholesale energy prices would decrease in a range of 9 percent to 24 percent each year over the next three years.”
These predictions were based on the loss of both Three Mile Island and Beaver Valley, a nuclear plant in western Pennsylvania that could close in 2021, as well as market forecasts that anticipate only slight increases in natural gas prices through the next several years.
In conclusion, PA residents shouldn’t be too worried about electricity rates going up due to the closure of TMI. The state is still producing more than enough power to keep electricity prices stable.
In fact, ElectricityRates.com has savings in many of the utility areas in PA that you can find below.
However, it is important to remember that generating nuclear energy is carbon-free and that currently nuclear provides more than 90 percent of the all the zero-carbon energy produced in Pennsylvania. Any near-term drop in nuclear generation here will most likely be picked up by burning more natural gas which, while cleaner than coal, is still a fossil fuel and would in fact add to Pennsylvania’s carbon loading and undermine progress the state has made in reducing greenhouse gas emissions over the last decade.
Aaron is a content writer and organic marketer with extensive experience in the energy industry. He frequently writes for Power Target on Electricityrates.com and CompareElectricity.com.
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