Diverse Energy Portfolio Brings Value To State

April 5, 2019

Editor: The debate around support for nuclear energy in Pennsylvania is getting stronger, with the gas industry and other business interest groups taking center stage. As a leader of a company that owns and operates both nuclear and fossil fuel plants, let me share our perspective. We believe in a level playing field. In Pennsylvania, certain sources of generation are compensated for being carbon-free, while nuclear is not. If we intend to continue to reduce carbon emissions in this state, the existing nuclear plants need to continue to operate. Losing carbon-free nuclear energy in Pennsylvania would eliminate the source of 93 percent of the state’s clean energy. And compensating some sources of carbon-free generation, such as solar and wind, but not compensating nuclear for providing the same attribute, is wrong. Natural gas will likely replace any lost nuclear production, which means that, in addition to the risk of rising gas prices, carbon-free energy would be replaced by a major source of carbon pollution. It would make any carbon emission reduction goal unattainable. Opponents of House Bill 11 claim that compensating nuclear power has a negative effect on competition and increases energy prices. But eliminating a source of generation impacts supply and increases prices. A report by the Brattle Group states that consumers would pay $788 million more each year if the state’s nuclear energy — which currently accounts for 42 percent of Pennsylvania’s energy — prematurely retired. We believe in employing an “all of the above” energy strategy that includes a balanced mix of fuels. Remember the value that a diverse energy portfolio brings to Pennsylvania. By compensating nuclear similar to the compensation received by other carbon-free resources, the state can avoid the long-term risks and costs associated with less competition while providing continued carbon-free generation. Dustin Wertheimer Divisional chief financial officer Susquehanna Nuclear ALLENTOWN