March 29, 2018 / 4:02 PM / 6 months ago

FirstEnergy calls on US energy secretary to save nuclear, coal plants

March 29 (Reuters) - FirstEnergy Corp called on U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry on Thursday to direct the operator of the Mid Atlantic and Midwest power grid to take steps to keep several nuclear and coal-fired power plants in service to maintain the future reliability of the region’s electric grid.

FirstEnergy wants PJM Interconnection, the regional power grid operator, to compensate the owners of those coal and nuclear plants, including FirstEnergy’s FirstEnergy Solutions unit, “for the full benefits (those units) provide to energy markets and the public at large, including fuel security and diversity.”

On Wednesday, FirstEnergy Solutions said on Wednesday it would retire all of its nuclear reactors in Ohio and Pennsylvania, totaling 4,048 megawatts (MW), in 2020 and 2021 as low natural gas prices have depressed power prices, making it difficult for the plants to make money in the current market environment.

The company said it was conducting a strategic review for its remaining coal plants and one natural gas plant, totaling 5,245 MW.

One megawatt is enough power for 1,000 U.S. homes.

Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Steve Orlofsky

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