Guest essay by Eric Worrall
In Ohio lawmakers have slashed renewable incentives and moved to support coal and nuclear power, with substantial support from state Democrats.
Ohio lawmakers pass bill to cut renewable requirement, help nuclear and coal
Critics say the bill unnecessarily bails out nuclear, coal owner FirstEnergy Solutions.
MEGAN GEUSS – 6/1/2019, 1:26 AM
This week, lawmakers in Ohio’s House of Representatives voted 53-43 in favor of a controversial bill that would permit a consumer-funded subsidy for nuclear plants and possibly for ailing coal plants as well.
The bill would also end Ohio’s renewable portfolio standard, which required that the state’s utilities to obtain 12.5 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2027. Instead, that renewable portfolio standard is replaced by smaller steps to bolster renewable power, but environmental groups say the bill is a step in the wrong direction.
Building support among Democrats
Though the above elements were in the original bill, which is supported by the state’s Republican Governor, the bill was amended early Wednesday to garner support from Ohio’s House Democrats.
Among the concessions: six large-scale solar projects that already exist in Ohio would be eligible to access some of the nuclear subsidy fund. Limits were also placed on how much FirstEnergy could devalue its nuclear properties (a tactic the company could use to reduce its tax liability).
Ultimately, those concessions got enough Democrats onboard to pass the bill (especially those with nuclear plants in their district). The vote wasn’t strictly partisan, though. Cleveland.com notes that one Republican congressman objected to the lack of a third-party audit of FirstEnergy Solutions’ finances to make sure the company actually needs the subsidy, which oil and gas interests dispute. (Oil and gas interests likely stand to lose the most from House Bill 6, since natural gas is the first fuel utilities often turn to when a coal or nuclear plant shuts down.)
…Read more: https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2019/05/ohio-house-passes-bill-that-would-allow-consumer-funded-nuclear-and-coal-subsidies/
This isn’t the only good news for nuclear power. In Australia, a vocal group of MPs is demanding a review of the ban on nuclear power.
Queensland Coalition MPs push for inquiry to lift Australia’s nuclear power ban
Australian Associated Press
Sun 2 Jun 2019 16.17 AEST
Keith Pitt and James McGrath behind move, saying ‘we have to be able to investigate all options’
Queensland MP Keith Pitt and his Senate colleague James McGrath are behind the push, the Sunday Telegraph reports.
“I am not saying that there is a nuclear reactor coming to a shopping centre near you but we have to be able to investigate all options,” Pitt told the newspaper.
“All I am calling for is an inquiry as to whether it’s a feasible option to ensure we are up to date with the latest information.”
The MP says nuclear energy has helped to reduce carbon emissions and power prices in Europe, while also being a reliable source of power.
“If you want to have your cake and eat it to you have to look at every option,” he said.Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/jun/02/queensland-nationals-mps-push-for-inquiry-to-lift-australias-nuclear-power-ban
Greens won the battle, but they are losing the war.
They convinced the world to spend billions, perhaps trillions of dollars on their renewable power “solution”. But all the money which was spent on renewables delivered was grid instability, soaring consumer power bills and rising CO2 emissions.
The age of renewables is drawing to a close. A new age of affordable power is dawning.