An Executive of FirstEnergy Corp made a startling revelation that its utility Davis-Besse nuclear plant set for a premature closure without really specifying the date set for closure.
James Pearson, FirstEnergy’s chief financial officer claimed “The outlook for FirstEnergy’s coal-fired power plants and its other nuclear plants — its twin-reactor Beaver Valley nuclear plant west of Pittsburgh and its Perry nuclear plant east of Cleveland — is just as bleak.”
Ohio and Pennsylvania moved to deregulation in 1996, a decade before a global fracking boom brought on by a revolutionary horizontal drilling technique resulted in record-low natural gas prices. rowing investments in wind and solar power that dropped prices for the renewable energy sector, made nuclear and coal incompetent. With combined debt estimated at $3.5 billion and losses mounting daily on the competitive side of its business because of the budget drains from its nuclear and coal-fired plants, the utility has turned to a combination of hedge funds managed by four high-powered private investor groups to help move it forward with a regulated growth strategy.
Mr. Pearson confirmed there will be no more major improvements at Davis-Besse. He agreed the Nuclear Regulatory Commission will not allow plants to continue operation indefinitely without needed upgrades. The last major upgrade was the installment of two new steam generators in 2014 at a cost of $600 million.