Three Mile Island fails power auction again, Exelon cites challenges facing nuclear energy

MIDDLETOWN, PA - MARCH 28: The Three Mile Island Nuclear Plant is seen in the early morning hours March 28, 2011 in Middletown, Pennsylvania. (Photo Jeff Fusco/Getty Images)

SOUTH LONDONDERRY TOWNSHIP, DAUPHIN COUNTY, Pa.–Exelon Corporation announced Wednesday that its Three Mile Island (TMI) and Quad Cities nuclear plants did not clear in the latest PJM capacity auction.

The company cited in a news release the challenges nuclear energy faces without compensation for its ability to produce electricity without harmful carbon and air pollution and to contribute to grid resilience.

TMI did not clear in the past three PJM auctions.

TMI remains economically challenged as a result of continued low wholesale power prices and the lack of federal or Pennsylvania energy policies that value zero-emissions nuclear energy, according to Exelon’s spokesman Paul Adams. Exelon has been working with stakeholders on options for the continued operation of TMI, which has not been profitable in five years, Adams said.

“Exelon remains fully committed to keeping the Quad Cities plant open, provided that FEJA’s Zero Emissions Credit program is implemented as expected and provided that Quad Cities is selected to participate,” said Joe Dominguez, Exelon’s executive vice president of Government and Regulatory Affairs and Public Policy. “However, Quad has not been selected to receive ZECs under the FEJA program to date.”

Exelon’s other nuclear plants in PJM cleared in the auction for the 2020-2021 planning year. Oyster Creek did not participate in the auction, as the plant is scheduled to retire in 2019.

What are Capacity Auctions?

Capacity auctions are held annually by grid operator PJM to ensure enough power generation resources are available to meet demand in its region covering all or part of 13 states and the District of Columbia. This is the fifth delivery year for which capacity auctions have been held under “capacity performance” reforms ordered by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to increase power plant reliability and strengthen the region’s energy supply. The reforms were an important step in recognizing nuclear energy for its year-round reliability in all weather extremes. The auction results take effect June 1, 2020.

Source: Exelon Corporation