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OPINION: Tuesday, BPU to Vote on Nuclear Subsidies

NJ Sierra Club Opinion

Tomorrow, the NJ Board of Public Utilities will vote on Dockets ER20080557, ER20080558, and ER20080559 - In the Matter of the Application of PSEG Nuclear, LLC and Exelon Generation Company, LLC for the Zero Emission Certificate Program. If approved, these dockets would award the Hope Creek, Salem Unit 1, and Sale Unit 2 nuclear units Zero Emission Certificates (ZECs) for the 2nd eligibility period from June 2022 - May 2025. Guest opinion copy 2


“PSEG is back for another round of $300 million subsidies. This will be the third year in a row. These subsidies aren’t needed and they take money away from important programs like offshore wind, solar, and energy efficiency. These subsidies are more about greed and not need. There hasn’t been a real independent audit to look into whether it is necessary or not. We don’t believe that these subsidies are needed because these plants are making money,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “The BPU should deny these unnecessary subsidies, but they probably won’t. Public Subsidy Excessive Greed (PSEG) seems to always get what they want at the cost of ratepayers’ wallets and renewable energy.”


According to reports completed by Levitan & Associates, PSEG may not need the full $300 million annual subsidy that they requested in the applications. However, BPU staff found that Hope Creek and the Salem Plants are still not profitable even after the adjustments made in the reports. 


“This is like a blank check. These subsidies have already cost ratepayers $600 million. This program is open-ended, and Murphy talks about these nuclear plants running until at least 2050. These subsidies could continue indefinitely, costing ratepayers over $10 billion by 2050. This money should be going into revamping solar and offshore wind to create clean, renewable energy and create new green jobs. Even though the BPU has the authority to approve less than $300 million, they’ll probably give them the full amount,” said Tittel. “Last year, BPU staff recommended against these nuclear subsidies but the Board did it anyway. This year staff is recommending that they approve the subsidies, which makes it even more likely that it will get passed.”


According to an ITEP tax report, PSE&G made almost $1.8 billion in profits in 2018 on $9.7 billion in revenues. The company paid zero in federal taxes. That translates to a return of 18 percent. This comes from the same company that recently threatened to close their nuclear power plants if they didn’t get subsidies from BPU.


“This would be the third approval for these subsidies. PSEG has received these unnecessary subsidies every year since 2019. This is shameful because tax reports show that PSE&G has been making record profits. In 2018, they paid no taxes on $1.8 billion in profits. Our concern is that not only will they get this subsidy for the next 3 years, but they could be subsidized through 2050 under the EMP. This is troubling because these plants are supposed to close in 2046,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “The BPU needs to deny this subsidy. Nuclear power should not be considered a long-term solution, nor should it be considered an ultimate goal for green energy.”


What: NJ Board of Public Utilities Meeting

When: Tuesday, April 27th at 10:00 am

Where: Virtual. Viewing options can be found here.