FirstEnergy Solutions (FES) announced on February 27 that it has emerged from bankruptcy and officially taken the new name Energy Harbor Corporation. Originally the unregulated power generation arm of Akron, Ohio–based FirstEnergy Corporation, Energy Harbor remains headquartered in Akron but is no longer affiliated with FirstEnergy Corporation. The name chosen to represent the newly independent business was announced last November (NN, Jan. 2020, p. 16).
“With our industry-leading nuclear fleet focused on safe and resilient production of substantial carbon-free electricity, Energy Harbor is in an excellent industry position for a future focused on environmental, social, and sustainability goals,” said John Kiani, the firm’s board chairman, in a news release. “Combined with our rapidly growing retail business and dependable clean air credit support, the majority of Energy Harbor’s cash flow will be comprised of high quality, visible, and predictable zero-carbon businesses.”
John Judge, the company’s president and chief executive officer, added, “Energy Harbor customers will benefit from our skilled and agile workforce, extensive infrastructure, and industry-leading plant and retail operations. In addition, our strong balance sheet and dependable baseload portfolio allow us to provide our retail customers and local communities with safe and reliable power, which is critical for grid stability.”
FES/Energy Harbor has been in the news repeatedly over the past two years, beginning on March 28, 2018, when the company announced that it would have to close or sell its nuclear power plants—Davis-Besse and Perry in Ohio and Beaver Valley in Pennsylvania—over the following three years (NN, Apr. 2018, p. 18) unless legislative support and market reforms were enacted. Then, on March 31, 2018, FES, along with its subsidiaries and the affiliated FirstEnergy Nuclear Operating Company, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.
In summer 2019, however, after the passage of the Ohio Clean Air Program—which provides incentives to companies that build and maintain zero- and reduced carbon emissions generation facilities, including Davis-Besse and Perry—FES announced that it was discontinuing its plans to close those plants. A group called Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts soon challenged the new law, but that effort ultimately proved unsuccessful (NN, Feb. 2020, p. 13).