NRC Issues Subsequent License Renewals for First Time to Nuclear Reactors in Florida

LCG, December 11, 2019--The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff recently approved Florida Power & Light's (FPL's) application for an additional 20 years of operation for Turkey Point Nuclear Generating Units 3 and 4. This is the first time the NRC has issued renewed licenses authorizing reactor operation from 60 to 80 years. The subsequent (or second) license renewals (SLRs) for Turkey Point Unit 3 and Unit 4 now expire on July 19, 2052 and April 10, 2053, respectively.

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New York Poised to Close Last Coal-fire Power Plant

LCG, December 4, 2019--The last operating coal-fired power plant in New York is moving toward closure shortly. Last month, Somerset Operating Company, a subsidiary of Riesling Power LLC, submitted a request to the New York State Public Service Commission (NYSPSC) to waive the state's required, 180-day notice to close the Somerset Station, allowing the facility to be retired on February 15, 2020. Closure is contingent on approvals by both NYSPSC and the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO), which will evaluate if it will cause an adverse effect on grid reliability.

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Industry News

California Wants to Tax 'Windfall' Power Profits

LCG, Sept. 4, 2001--California lawmakers moved forward last week with a bill that would impose a "windfall profits" tax on electricity sales, with the state Assembly Committee on Revenue and Taxation approving the measure 5-2. The measure has already been approved by the state Senate.

The measure seems punitive in nature, seeking to penalize power producers who earned high profits on electricity sold into the state's wholesale market late last year and early this year before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission imposed regional price controls covering 11 Western states.

"The rates in the wholesale market had been beyond reason. There really isn't any economic basisfor them. This is an attempt to control wholesale prices. The federal government can be doing that but they have chosen not to," said Paul Van Dyke, spokesman for the bill's author state Sen. Nell Soto.

The economic basis for the high prices was the scarcity of supply -- prices will always rise in the face of a shortage. Conversely, prices will always drop when there is a surplus of any commodity. FERC's price controls have had a part in recent easing of power prices in California, but an improvement in supply from new power plants and a reduction in demand occasioned by an abnormally cool summer played the major role in moderating prices.

With the threat of rolling blackouts seemingly overcome, state Democrat lawmakers are still buying the mantra of Gov. Gray Davis, who called the power producers "the biggest snakes on the planet earth." Van Dyke said the legislature was looking for a "change in attitude" from the out-of-state power plant owners.

"Whether or not (the bill) passes depends on the behavior of the generators who continue to be defiant," he said.

The measure must be approved by the Assembly Committee on Appropriations before it can be brought to a floor vote in the lower chamber. If the full Assembly approves it, the legislation will return to the Senate for agreement to any changes made in the Assembly.

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