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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: February 4, 2019 03:03 PM
From: Senator Ryan P. Aument and Sen. John T. Yudichak, Sen. John R. Gordner, Sen. Lisa M. Boscola, Sen. Mike Folmer, Sen. Elder A. Vogel, Jr.
To: All Senate members
Subject: Updating the Pennsylvania Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards (AEPS) Act
Please join us in sponsoring legislation that would update the Pennsylvania Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards (AEPS) Act to recognize nuclear energy for its significant contribution to this state’s zero-carbon energy production.

Despite the fact that Pennsylvania’s nuclear power plants generate 42 percent of our Commonwealth’s electricity and provide 93 percent of the Commonwealth’s zero-carbon electricity, nuclear energy has been excluded from Pennsylvania’s AEPS program.

Unless we address this inequity, Three Mile Island will shut down in October 2019, Beaver Valley will shut down in 2021, and the Commonwealth’s three other nuclear power plants are likely not far behind. To be clear, this shutdown process is irreversible, thereby guaranteeing the permanent loss of Pennsylvania’s nuclear assets.

Allowing Pennsylvania’s nuclear power plants to succumb to failed energy market policies will cost Pennsylvanians an estimated $4.6 billion annually.
  • $788 million annually in electricity cost increases,
  • $2 billion annually in lost state GDP,
  • $1.6 billion annually in costs associated with carbon emissions, and
  • $260 million annually in costs associated with harmful criteria air pollutants, including SO2, NOX, and PM2.5 emissions.

Pennsylvania’s five nuclear power plants:
  • Keep electricity prices low,
  • Account for nearly 16,000 in-state full-time jobs,
  • Provide $69 million in net state tax revenues annually,
  • Prevent the negative health and economic effects of harmful particulate matter emissions,
  • Avoid over 37 million tons of CO2 emissions annually, and
  • Bring resilience to our grid by reliably operating 24/7 365 days of the year.

Pennsylvania cannot stand by and watch all of these benefits disappear as nuclear power plant after nuclear power plant prematurely retires. We cannot wait for Washington policymakers and the operator of the regional interstate electric market (PJM) to solve this problem. Both have acknowledged the market is flawed and disadvantages nuclear plants, but have yet to act to fix the problem.

It’s time for Pennsylvania to take matters into its own hands and build a bridge to the future while both the federal government and our Commonwealth work to establish a long-term energy policy that includes a variety of sustainable energy sources.

It’s time that we finally acknowledge nuclear generation for its considerable zero-carbon energy production by including it in Pennsylvania’s AEPS program. In so doing, we can ensure that nuclear continues to provide the employment, economic, environmental, and grid resilience benefits for years to come.

Please consider joining us as a co-sponsor of this important legislation.

Introduced as SB510