Nine Mile nuclear also losing money, wants state tax credits

Apr 1, 2016

Exelon Corporation says its Nine Mile Point Nuclear Station in Scriba is losing money and it is hoping for financial assistance from New York state in the near future.

Exelon's Executive Vice President for Governmental Affairs Joseph Dominguez said the nuclear plant is not making enough money to break even because of falling energy prices, a similar situation for the company's Ginna plant nearby Rochester and for Entergy's Fitzpatrick Nuclear Plant, which is slated for closure next year.

"I would say that the economics at nine mile are more robust [and] a healthier station than either Fitzpatrick or Ginna, but recently what we've seen at Nine Mile -even with the efficiencies it has given the size of the unity -- it is beginning to see these losses and we are predicting these losses will continue," Dominguez said.

He said while Exelon does not have any current plans to close the facility, the company wants New York to help them from reaching that point. It's eyeing a proposed tax credit that state officials are developing for nuclear plants. The so-called zero emission credits (ZECs), which are modeled after the tax credits that support renewable sources of energy like wind power, could be available in 2017 if they are approved by New York's Public Service Commission this June.

"We think of it as being a level playing field," Dominguez said. "All other resources that are zero-carbon resources in the state are eligible for compensation so the question whether or not New York is going to support the sources of zero carbon that are far and away the largest sources of zero carbon electricity."

Conversely, FitzPatrick's owner Entergy has repeatedly rebuffed financial assistance from the state, including the proposed ZECs. Company officials say it is too late to save the plant, regardless if the tax credits, or a $100 million appropriation which was proposed as part of the state budget, become available.

A spokesperson for the PSC said that Nine Mile could qualify for the tax credits because they are being designed to assist "financially distressed nuclear facilities."

Some pro-renewable energy advocates, like the Alliance for a Green Economy, have said that spending any state money on aging nuclear plants that produce toxic nuclear materials could better be spent on supporting the renewable industry.