Exelon: Three Mile Island Did Not Clear PJM Capacity Auction

Exelon Corporation Thursday announced its Three Mile Island and Dresden nuclear plants did not clear in the annual PJM capacity auction, and all but a small portion of its Byron nuclear plant also failed to clear.

The results underscore the urgent need for policy reforms to resolve acknowledged flaws in market rules that fail to properly value the resilient, zero-emissions power provided by nuclear plants.

This marks the fourth consecutive year that TMI has failed to clear. Across all of PJM, 10,643 megawatts of nuclear capacity did not clear in the auction, compared with 3,243 megawatts that failed to clear last year.

This represents the largest volume of nuclear capacity ever not selected in the auction.

“Now, more than ever, we need federal, regional and state policymakers to urgently take action to preserve the benefits that our nation’s largest and most resilient source of emissions-free energy provides to our customers,” said Kathleen Barrón, Exelon’s Senior Vice President of Government and Regulatory Affairs and Public Policy.  “PJM has acknowledged the long-standing market flaws that put nuclear energy at risk, and the time to implement solutions is running out.”

TMI, Dresden and Byron are economically challenged because the way energy prices are set in PJM does not compensate them for their unique contribution to grid resiliency and their ability to produce large amounts of energy without harmful carbon and air pollution.

Nuclear produces more emissions-free energy than solar and wind combined, and is the only emissions-free power source that can operate reliably for up to two years without refueling.

TMI has not been profitable for six years as a result of persistently low wholesale energy prices and market rules that treat polluting plants the same as emissions-free sources of power.

Exelon continues to work with stakeholders on state policy solutions, while also advocating for broader market reforms at the regional and federal level. Those efforts have yet to produce any solutions that will prevent the planned premature retirement of TMI in October of 2019. 

Quad Cities cleared the capacity auction as a result of Illinois legislation that fairly compensates certain nuclear plants for their environmental attributes. In addition to supporting the continued operation of Quad Cities, the Future Energy Jobs Act provides significant environmental, economic and consumer benefits, as well as the creation of thousands of clean energy jobs and training programs for the future energy workforce.

While Dresden and all but a small portion of the Byron nuclear plant did not clear in the auction, they are not at risk of early retirement at this time.  Both plants have capacity obligations that continue through May 2021 and May 2022, respectively.

Exelon’s other nuclear plants in PJM cleared in the auction for the 2021-2022 planning year. Oyster Creek in New Jersey did not participate in the auction, as the plant will retire by October 2018. 

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. The auction results take effect June 1, 2021.

(Photo: Three Mile Island, Dauphin County.)


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[Posted: May 24, 2018]


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