PJM’s modified MOPR takes effect, boosting nuclear’s competitiveness

October 1, 2021, 9:30AMNuclear News
Map of the PJM Interconnection territory in dark blue. Image: PJM

A proposal by PJM Interconnection to modify the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s contentious minimum offer price rule (MOPR) order went into effect by default on Wednesday after the commission failed to take action on it.

According to a notice from the FERC secretary, “In the absence of commission action on or before September 28, 2021, PJM’s proposal became effective by operation of law. Accordingly, the effective date of the proposed tariff sheets is September 29, 2021. The commission did not act on PJM’s filing because the commissioners are divided two against two as to the lawfulness of the change.”

Agencies assess power system performance during February freeze

September 24, 2021, 12:00PMNuclear News
Snow covering grounds of the Texas Capitol on February 15, 2021.

To prevent future winter storms from causing the kind of widespread, lethal power outages wrought by February’s frigid blast through Texas and other states, the electric and natural gas industries need to bolster their winterization and cold weather preparedness and coordination, a just-released preliminary report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and North American Electric Reliability Corporation concludes.

The two agencies had announced on February 16 that they planned to open a joint inquiry to identify problems with the performance of the bulk power system during the storm and to offer solutions. A team of FERC and NERC staff members presented the report at a FERC meeting on September 23.

A presentation of the report, February 2021 Cold Weather Grid Operations: Preliminary Findings and Recommendations, is available.

Biden makes pick for open FERC seat

September 14, 2021, 3:00PMNuclear News

Willie L. Phillips Jr.

President Biden last Thursday announced his intention to nominate Willie L. Phillips Jr., chairman of the Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia, for the vacant seat on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Phillips would replace Republican Neil Chatterjee, who left FERC at the end of August, two months after the official expiration of his term. (Chatterjee remained on the commission to provide time for the Biden administration to choose his replacement. He has since joined the Climate Leadership Council and the global law firm Hogan Lovells.)

Before joining the D.C. PSC, Phillips served as assistant general counsel for the North American Electric Reliability Corporation. He is currently an active member of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, where he serves on the board of directors as chair of the Select Committee on Regulatory and Industry Diversity.

California Republicans debut bill to save Diablo Canyon

July 15, 2021, 9:30AMNuclear News

Nunes

Rep. Devin Nunes (R., Calif.) introduced legislation last week that would keep California’s Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in operation beyond its expected 2025 closure date. Dubbed the Clean Energy Production Act (H.R. 4394), the bill was introduced July 9 and referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Cosponsoring the measure is the remainder of the Golden State’s GOP contingent to the House: Reps. Ken Calvert, Mike Garcia, Darrell Issa, Young Kim, Doug LaMalfa, Kevin McCarthy, Tom McClintock, Jay Obernolte, Michelle Steel, and David G. Valadao.

PJM board okays plan to ease concerns with MOPR ruling

July 14, 2021, 6:59AMNuclear News
Map of the PJM Interconnection territory in dark blue. Image: PJM

PJM Interconnection’s board of managers has approved the grid operator’s proposal to address the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s controversial December 2019 minimum offer price rule (MOPR) order affecting PJM’s forward-looking capacity auctions. (PJM operates the largest wholesale competitive electricity market in the country.)

Meredith Angwin: The electric grid and reliability

June 14, 2021, 1:25PMNuclear NewsRick Michal

In her career as a chemist, Meredith Angwin headed projects that lowered pollution and increased reliability on the electric grid. Her work included pollution control for nitrogen oxides in gas-­fired combustion turbines and corrosion control in geothermal and nuclear systems.

Angwin, an ANS member, was one of the first women to be a project manager at the Electric Power Research Institute, leading projects in nuclear energy and renewables.

In the past decade, Angwin began to study and take part in grid oversight and governance. For four years, she served on the Coordinating Committee for the Consumer Liaison Group associated with ISO New England, her local grid operator. It was during this time that she realized what a maze of confusion surrounded grid rules and grid management.

Grid cybersecurity bill reintroduced in Senate

May 4, 2021, 12:01PMANS Nuclear Cafe

Murkowski

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R., Alaska) last week reintroduced legislation from 2019 to enhance the security of the U.S. electric grid. According to Murkowski, the Protecting Resources on the Electric Grid with Cybersecurity Technology (PROTECT) Act would enhance electric grid security by incentivizing electric utilities to make cybersecurity investments.

Introduced in the Senate on April 28 as S. 1400, the bill would also establish a Department of Energy grant and technical assistance program to deploy advanced cybersecurity technology for utilities that are not regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Cosponsors of the PROTECT Act include Sens. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.), Jim Risch (R., Idaho), Angus King (I., Maine), and Jacky Rosen (D., Nev.).

FERC dismisses CGNP filing to keep Diablo Canyon open

March 19, 2021, 11:59AMANS Nuclear Cafe

Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant. Photo: PG&E

According to ETO Insider, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission this week dismissed a complaint filed in October 2020 from Californians for Green Nuclear Power (CGNP) against multiple agencies regarding the closing of Pacific Gas and Electric’s Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant.

In denying the complaint on technical grounds against the California Independent System Operator (CAISO), FERC said that CGNP had “not met its burden under Section 206 of the Federal Power Act.” The remaining complaints against North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC), the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), the California State Water Resources Control Board (CSWRCB), and California State Lands Commission (CSLC) were dismissed on the grounds that they “are not proper respondents.”

Complaint filed with FERC over Grand Gulf management

March 8, 2021, 6:58AMNuclear News

The Louisiana Public Service Commission (LPSC), the New Orleans City Council, and the Arkansas Public Service Commission on March 2 filed a complaint with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission against Entergy Corporation, seeking damages of more than $360 million for what they term the utility’s “imprudent operation” of the Grand Gulf nuclear plant.

Located in Port Gibson, Miss., Grand Gulf is a single-unit plant with a 1,433-MWe boiling water reactor. The unit, which entered commercial operation in 1985, supplies power to customers of Entergy Louisiana, Entergy Mississippi, Entergy Arkansas, and Entergy New Orleans.

FERC to look at grid reliability

February 26, 2021, 9:32AMNuclear News

Spurred by last week’s power grid failure in Texas, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Monday announced that it will open a new proceeding to examine the threat that climate change and extreme weather events pose to electric reliability. The proceeding, FERC said, will investigate how grid operators prepare for and respond to these events, including droughts, extreme cold, wildfires, hurricanes, and prolonged heat waves.

The week in Texas

February 19, 2021, 11:55AMNuclear News

Maybe everything really is bigger in Texas, but that’s not necessarily a good thing. The brutal winter storm that hit much of the country earlier this week struck the Lone Star State with particular severity, leaving the power grid in shambles and millions of Texas residents without power, in many instances for days. On Tuesday, at the height of the power crisis, more than 4.4 million utility customers were without access to electricity, according to poweroutage.us.

Gates highlights nuclear’s role in fighting climate change

February 19, 2021, 9:29AMANS Nuclear Cafe

Gates

Bill Gates is making the media rounds to promote his new book, How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need, which was released on Tuesday. Along the way, he’s been touting nuclear energy as part of his master plan for battling climate change.

60 Minutes: Gates kicked off the week with an appearance on 60 Minutes on Sunday. During the nearly 15-minute segment with correspondent Anderson Cooper, Gates discussed TerraPower, the company he founded in 2006 that is dedicated to nuclear innovation. “Nuclear power can be done in a way that none of those failures of the past would recur, because just the physics of how it's built,” Gates said, referring to TerraPower’s Natrium reactor. “I admit, convincing people of that will be almost as hard as actually building it. But since it may be necessary to avoid climate change, we shouldn't give up.”

ANS touts benefits of nuclear energy in letter to FERC

February 18, 2021, 12:00PMANS News

The American Nuclear Society recommended that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) consider recognizing the reliability and resiliency benefits that carbon-free nuclear electricity generation provides to the bulk power system. ANS President Mary Lou Dunzik-Gougar and Executive Director/CEO Craig Piercy submitted these comments in a letter during a FERC meeting on Thursday morning.

Glick chosen to head FERC

January 21, 2021, 12:00PMNuclear News

Glick

This morning, on his first full day in office, President Joe Biden appointed Richard Glick chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Glick joined FERC as a commissioner in late 2017, having been picked for the job by President Trump in August of that year. His term ends June 30, 2022.

“I'm honored President Joe Biden has selected me to be @FERC Chairman, thank you Mr. @POTUS,” Glick tweeted. “This is an important moment to make significant progress on the transition to a clean energy future. I look forward to working with my colleagues to tackle the many challenges ahead!”

Senate approves Trump’s FERC nominees

December 3, 2020, 3:12PMNuclear News

Christie

Clements

The Senate has confirmed the nominations of Republican Mark Christie and Democrat Allison Clements to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission by voice vote, bringing the agency to its full, five-member complement for the first time since before Cheryl LaFleur departed in August of last year.

The chamber’s Energy and Natural Resources Committee voted on November 18 to advance the pair to the full Senate for confirmation, following their testimony before the committee in September. President Trump announced his intention to nominate Christie and Clements in July.

American Nuclear Society files FERC comments on Diablo Canyon’s early closure

November 16, 2020, 10:20AMPress Releases

La Grange Park, IL – The American Nuclear Society (ANS) has submitted comments to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in favor of reconsidering the shortsighted decision to shutter prematurely California’s largest clean energy resource, Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant.

ANS filed the comments on Nov. 12 in favor of an Oct. 26 complaint by Californians for Green Nuclear Power against the regulatory approvals of the 2016 decision by Pacific Gas & Electric Co. to permanently shutter Diablo Canyon Units 1 and 2 in November 2024 and August 2025, respectively. The complaint (Docket No. EL21-13-000) asked FERC to investigate whether the decision shuttering Diablo Canyon violates grid reliability standards. ANS agrees with the complaint that FERC ought to consider fully the negative consequences and reliability risks posed by a premature retirement of Diablo Canyon.

ANS backs effort to save Diablo Canyon

November 16, 2020, 9:33AMNuclear News

Diablo Canyon nuclear plant. Photo: PG&E

The American Nuclear Society has submitted a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in support of a complaint recently filed by a nuclear advocacy group regarding the 2016 decision to prematurely retire the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant.

The letter was signed by ANS Executive Director and CEO Craig Piercy and President Mary Lou Dunzik-Gougar.

Chatterjee out as FERC chairman, Danly in

November 11, 2020, 7:00AMNuclear News

Chatterjee

The Trump administration on November 5 removed Neil Chatterjee from the chairmanship of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, replacing him with fellow Republican James Danly, who was confirmed to a seat on the commission in March.

Chatterjee joined FERC in 2017, serving as chairman from August to December 2017. He returned to the leadership role in October 2018, following the departure of Kevin McIntyre. In a tweet, Chatterjee said that he intends to complete his term, which expires in June 2021.

Complaint filed with FERC to save Diablo Canyon from early closure

November 2, 2020, 3:01PMNuclear News

A nuclear advocacy group is asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to review the approval by California regulators of the decision by Pacific Gas and Electric in 2016 to prematurely retire its Diablo Canyon plant—the Golden State’s only remaining operating nuclear power facility—in 2025.

On October 26, the nonprofit organization Californians for Green Nuclear Power Inc. (CGNP) filed a 32-page complaint with FERC in the matter, listing as respondents the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC), California Independent System Operator (CAISO), California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), California State Water Resources Control Board (CSWRCB), and California State Lands Commission (CSLC).

Exelon to close Byron and Dresden plants in 2021

August 27, 2020, 1:56PMNuclear News

Exelon Generation, operator of the largest nuclear reactor fleet in the United States, intends to downsize that fleet next year by retiring its Byron and Dresden plants. In an announcement released early this morning, Exelon said that the two-unit Byron, located near Byron, Ill., would be permanently closed in September 2021, followed in November by the two-unit Dresden, located in Morris, Ill.

Byron is licensed to operate for another 20 years; Dresden, a much older facility, is licensed for another decade.