Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to Comments:


  1. Imagine the costs of natural gas if the NRC were in there watching their radiological emissions? There hasn’t been a level playing field for many years. Pretending there was until these new credits came along is silly.

  2. I thought the Indian Point nuclear plant at Buchanan was included in ZEC and CES. I thought Environmental Progress and Indian’s upstate colleagues made a Point of it.

  3. Thanks Rod for a really helpful analysis. Understanding the subtleties and complexities of this stuff takes some digging!

  4. If wind/solar receive zero emissions credit how can it logically be challenged that nuclear should not receive them?

    All else seems like BS and a smoke screen.Of course NG suppliers like wind. All wind must be backed up by NG.

    I think this challenge brings up an interesting possibility of turning the tables. Operating nukes could claim that wind/solar are receiving an unfair advantage.

    The price of NG is not going to change drastically. Crediting nukes for CO2 free is the only path to survival of the operating fleet.

    Other than Exelon, nuke plant owners seem all too eager to throw in the towel.

  5. Rod, have you seen this OECD report?


    It can be read on-line, although to download the PDF you need access to their “iLibrary”. Might be available through a public or university library — I am going to check that.

    Basically, it investigates the costs of integrating various types of source into an electricity network, & in the process shows just how much more valuable the product of a nuclear plant is, compared to wind or solar. Their figures are eye-opening. I’d say it should be Exhibit A in fighting this lawsuit.

    1. That is the singular focus in the German program. They apparently are willing to live with tens of millions of more tons of CO2 and other emissions as long as the nukes went away Our friend Bas admitted as much in one post, when I noted that evidently he was okay with burning fossil fuels if it meant getting rid of nukes. He never refuted that challenge.

    2. Looks to me like the whole Climate Change program is designed to shut down Nuclear

      That’s explicitly the top priority of the Energiewende, and implicitly in the CPP.

      Here’s hoping that holding the hypocrites to their avowed environmental principles works.

      1. Wait for the PJM Auction this coming May as Stan Focht says in [https://atomicinsights.com/another-nuclear-plant-will-close-good-monday/#comment-143833
        Any NPP engineer will tell you the CPP was designed to eliminate NPP. The data is in the report that pushed the FCS board over the edge and forced them to shut it down. The dominoes will start falling. I would not doubt that the FERC deregulation rule change was the catalyst needed for this action and part of the plan.

    3. I was in Munich quite recently, & noticed signs by campaigners demanding the closure of the coal plants there, reciting all the problems we know come with that dirty fuel. Somebody really needs to attend their meetings & let them know that the Isar fission power plant is their best friend in this effort.
      http://www.raus-auf-der-steinkohle.de is the Web site, for those with an inclination.

  6. Does this all imply that the complaint of the gas burning electric power companies make a good chance to win?

    Similar as the complaints of Austria, Luxembourg and others at the EU high court
    against the planned new NPP at Hinkley because of the subsidies that plant would get?

    1. @Bas

      No. It exposes opposition to nuclear for what it is – an effort by competitors to push a formidable competitor out of the market, whatever it takes.

      1. Rod,
        Thank you!
        I understand that these electricity producers want to remove important competitors (which will increase prices at the power exchange if successful, so they can earn more). That they see a chance by complaining about unfair competition due to the price guarantee ($56/MWh = subsidy) which NY-state grants to the NPP’s in the state.

        My question is whether they make a good chance to win in the US with their complaint?

        Though I know that the plaintiffs at the EU high court against the subsidies for Hinkley C make a good chance to win, I cannot judge whether similar complaints make a good chance to win in USA???

        Sorry that I don’t know much about the ins & outs of such legal procedures in USA.

        1. @Bas

          Not sure where you got the $57 / MW-hr figure.

          It’s more like $38.

          I have little doubt that the suit will be thrown out of court. States have both a right and a responsibility to provide incentives for clean power sources until such time as the market recognizes that not all electrons are equal.

          By the way, what makes you think that the EU court will change the deal that enables Hinkley Point?

          1. @Rod,
            … where you got the $57 / MW-h figure
            I cite from your previous post on ZEC’s (first link in your post):
            “ZECs will provide nuclear plant owners with a total revenue of ~ $56 per MWh. That is the minimum level that owners say they need ….”
            I also read that the ZEC’s will be increased if the av. whole sale price decreases further, so the plant owners will keep the revenue of $56/MWh which they need to stay open.

            From the complaint doc I understand that they indeed decreased from ~$39 towards ~$20. May be in response to the ZEC announcements which imply that the NPP’s will stay open?
            That would imply that the ZEC’s caused already financial harm to the plaintiffs before they were implemented…

            States have … a right … to provide incentives for clean power sources until … the market recognizes …
            So in USA, states can overrule fair competition rules of Federal Authorities (the FERC) in such situations.
            Does that also apply for other products, such as subsidizing a plant that produces superior isolation glass, or PV-panels??

            1. @Bas

              It’s not that New York is overruling FERC, it’s that FERC’s jurisdiction and reach is limited by other federal rules. Its purview is governance of a price-driven market for a commodity that FERC assumes to be identical – kilowatt-hours. Other agencies have purview over such matters as emission levels for various pollutants and for measures to reduce over-production of CO2.

              Though FERC doesn’t recognize that nuclear generated electricity comes with fewer negative characteristics than electricity generated by burning natural gas, fuel oil, coal or municipal waste, the state of New York understands the distinction and established a mechanism for leveling the value playing field so that generators that produce an inferior product do not get compensated at the same price as those selling a superior product in terms of its effects on factors external to the transaction.

              Without the government stepping in to protect citizens not involved in other people’s electricity transactions, many customers would not care that the cheap power they were buying had negative effects on the air being breathed many miles away from their factory, commercial building or railroad.

          2. …what makes you think that the EU court will change the deal that enables Hinkley Point?
            The EU has installed free, fair competition directives (Margeret Thatcher was the driving force). Those cover also electricity generation.

            By subsidizing a big power plant (Hinkley from EDF), UK government interferes with fair competition.

            After all the subsidy implies that more electricity is produced, independent of the whole sale price as Hinkley gets a guaranteed prices just as the NPP’s in NY-state.
            So the subsidies decrease prices on the whole sale markets, hence harm the financial s of competitors. Even if the subsidies would decrease only UK prices, a.o. parties exporting to UK are harmed as they get less money, etc.

            1. The plaintiffs also encompass competitors of EDF.
            It’s not clear to me, how the EU high court can justify that breach of the EU competition rules by UK government.

            2. Normally EU high court won’t change a deal. They declare it illegal or not. Illegal implies the obligation to restore the field at Hinkley back towards its original state (farm land)….
            Often also substantial fines (you are not allowed to do illegal things in the EU).

            3. The FiT’s for renewable in Germany are based on an EU exception rule for innovative methods of electricity generation. That rule may apply long time as many state that 100% renewable is impossible. So it’s innovative if Germany shows it is possible against acceptable costs.

            Another factor is that any competing generator now already can read in the Energiewende scenario what the situation will be in next 30years (the ZEC’s came as a surprise for competitors, so they have better damage claims).

            An unfair competition complaint at the EU resulted in a long investigation by the EU and was resolved by small corrections in the FiT mechanisms and the promise to tender / auction new renewable production if suitable (implemented in the new EEG2017 law).

          3. It’s not that New York is overruling FERC, it’s that FERC’s jurisdiction and reach is limited by other federal rules.
            It suggest 2 unanswered questions:

            1. The relative sudden introduction of ZEC’s disrupt the inter-state market as it allows NPP’s to sell at lower prices than anybody else.

            How can other generators (e.g. an old wind farm which no longer enjoys a subsidy) get compensation for the income decline that this market disruption by NY-state’s ZEC’s causes?

            2. What is the value of the FERC when the inter-state market can be disrupted by one state?
            Are the other states obliged to undergo the negative consequences (e.g. loss of employment) without compensation rights?
            It may be different if most states (or parties) involved in that inter-state market would agree to the change, and the changes were announced years ago.

            I agree with you that nuclear emit less CO2 than gas.
            But the ‘rule of law’ implies that the application of laws cannot be changed because people like something. The law itself has to be changed,

  7. I’m surprised it took them this long to react. Of course, to hit home their case to the public they don’t even have to cite economics in their Ads; just a few coy flashes of Chernobyl and TMI will do the job winning fear over price and pollution.

    James Greenidge
    Queens NY

    1. When you consider that they had to:
      – find and unite all parties who will experience financial damage because of the ZEC’s;
      – make arrangements about how to distribute the the costs of the lawyers, etc. as well as compose a ‘project’ team, arrange who will contribute what part of the complaint showing which possible damage and which not, etc.
      – compose all arguments and claims into a single complaint document which should be easy to read as well as legally fine;

      I think their complaint is quite speedy.

      They are only interested in removing the ZEC’s or financial damage compensation.
      As they suffer major financial damage due to the continued operation of the NPP’s which can produce against any low price thanks to the ZEC’s. That production implies significant lower prices for them (and they don’t get a compensation).
      So the ZEC’s will compete some of them off the market.

      1. @Bas

        The point is that nuclear plants SHOULD produce all of the electricity that they can produce. Competition is NOT beneficial to consumers if its purpose is to destroy valuable assets so that the “victors” can then charge higher prices because of a manufactured scarcity.

        The marginal cost of operating a nuclear plant is virtually zero once the owner has paid all of the capital and overhead costs of simply owning a nuclear plant.

        The ZEC’s will never be used to bid the price of electricity to something approaching zero or even a negative value the way that RECs and federal tax credits for wind have been used. Nuclear power in New York will always be a “price taker” that gets paid whatever the marginal producer gets paid for the electricity they produce and then they will get a little bit more (30% less than the wind tax credit, by the way) because their electricity does not include any CO2 emissions as part of the production process.

        1. @Rod,
          The purpose of competition is never to destroy valuable assets. The purpose is to deliver cheapest goods (here electricity) to the population. Cheapest being the price/quality ratio which satisfies needs of (potential) customers best.
          Compete in order to destroy competitors, e.g. by dumping, is forbidden (I think also in US).

          Yes, despite that competition destroys frequently valuable (production, etc) assets. It occurs all the time. And then:
          – the victors charge higher prices (less/no overproduction);
          – the losers are in (deep) trouble to continue with their life.

          Avoiding such destruction is one of the benefits of communism and many old cultures / societies / nations.
          But history shows that it’s disadvantages (less progress as less change, rigidity) lead to backwards economies. So those nations were frequently overruled by nations where competition flourish.

          Finding that there is nowadays often less (free) competition in USA than in NW-continental EU is one of the things which worries me. As it implies in my eyes that US will loose it’s leading position.
          The unreliability of electricity supply in USA is a sign (the office of my customer in Linden near NYC has emergency generators, which is unthinkable here).

          ZEC’s are installed to facilitate continued selling of electricity even while the price is below the cost price of the concerned plants.
          So competitors earn less. The resulting lower price may even be below the cost price of part of competitors.
          As those competitors don’t get ZEC’s, they will loose money. Hence their staff (less salary) and owners (less return on investment) suffer.

          As the ZEC’s falsify competition, I think that those competitors are entitled to a compensation for the losses they suffer due to the ZEC’s.
          Especially since the workers and investors of competitors were not warned long enough beforehand (but I don’t know applicable US laws).

          If the workers and investors would have been warned about the ZEC’s 20years ago, the situation would be different (especially legally).
          Because then they knew they took a risk to suffer from artificial competition (the ZEC’s) when they started (to work at) a competing plant.

          1. @Bas

            You keep avoiding my point. Nuclear plants aren’t being compensated more for electricity. They are being compensated for an aspect of their electricity production in which they produce something of additional value – no emissions.

            No one working at a fossil fuel powered generator, supplying fuel to a fossil fuel powered generator, or owning a fossil fuel powered generator could make a reasonable case that they had no idea that avoiding CO2 was a valued characteristic. Most should have been well aware of the possibility that they would be required to begin paying the cost associated with using the atmosphere as a free place to dump their waste.

            Since the federal government has not been able to come to any agreements on putting a price on the waste disposal services now being provided for free, New York has decided to reward those who produce electricity without emissions. They have several tiers for doing this, one that applies to “renewable” sources and one that applies to nuclear sources.

            Get over it.

          2. @Rod,
            1. The statement of the governor mentioned employment as prime motive to assign the ZEC’s. That explains that no ZEC is assigned to other ’emission free’ generators of electricity…
            ZEC’s with that motive disturb free competition.

            2. If the ZEC’s are assigned for generating ’emission-free’ KWh’s. then other ’emission-free’ sources (NPP’s, wind, solar, etc) which compete at the inter-state market should get similar ZEC’s.*)
            Now those ’emission-free’ generators get lower prices (= less profit or losses) because the NPP’s of NY-state get ZEC’s.
            So at least those other ’emission-free’ generators should be compensated for the unfair competition.

            I think that if NY-state wants to continue with ZEC’s in present form, NY-state should be forced to retreat from the interstate market as it facilitates unfair competition.
            *) Wind and solar should get higher ZEC’s as they emit ~10times less than nuclear! It’s shown by the ~10times lower operating costs of wind & solar.
            Nuclear ~$50/MWh. Wind & solar ~$5/MWh.
            For both those costs are spent in similar way; income for workers, etc. who operate & maintain the plants, produce spare parts incl. steel, etc.

            There is no reason to assume that wind & solar people will spend that income to activities & products which emit substantially more CO2 than nuclear people.

            The often quoted IPCC figures are from research in previous decade. At that time wind & solar were 2 to 10 times more expensive, but prices came down due to efficiency improvements hence 2 to 10 times less CO2 now.
            While the costs of nuclear increased ~50% since then (e.g. due to security demands after Fukushima). Hence accordingly higher CO2 emissions.

            1. BBas

              I’m not going to respond to most of your drivel, but your commentary about costs is amusing. You have made the case that people costs are linked directly to emissions. The higher the payroll, the more damaging the company.

              It would be an interesting exercise to apply your logic to compute the emissions equivalent of Apple or Goldman Sachs. I think most people who engage in that computation will recognize that you are hopelessly off base or extremely anti-human. I’ll remain quiet about my opinion of your argument.

Recent Comments from our Readers

  1. Avatar
  2. Avatar
  3. Avatar
  4. Avatar
  5. Avatar

Similar Posts