UPDATE 3-Ohio House passes bill to save nuclear power plants

 (Adds House passes nuclear subsidy bill, quotes)
    May 29 (Reuters) - The Ohio House of Representatives passed
a bill on Wednesday that could cost power consumers about $190
million per year to save the state's two nuclear power reactors
from early retirement.
    The bill would also allow solar generation to qualify for
clean air credits, sets a cap to prevent windfall profits during
times of high power prices and provides financial support for
Ohio Valley Electric Corp's (OVEC) coal plants in Ohio and
    The bill, House Bill 6, now goes to the state Senate.
    Ohio energy company FirstEnergy Inc's        bankrupt
FirstEnergy Solutions subsidiary owns the two nuclear reactors
located at the Davis Besse and Perry power plants on Lake Erie.
    FirstEnergy Solutions has said it will shut the money-losing
reactors in 2020 and 2021 unless they receive some financial
support from state or federal programs, which the company
estimated could result in the loss of 4,300 jobs.             
    "This bill provides an effective legislative solution to
keep (FirstEnergy Solution's) nuclear power plants open for many
years to come," FirstEnergy Solutions said in a statement.
    Cheap and ample gas from shale fields like the Marcellus and
Utica in Ohio has depressed electricity prices across the
country over the past several years, making it uneconomical for
generators to keep operating some nuclear and coal-fired power
    The American Petroleum Institute (API), a trade group for
the oil and natural gas industry opposed to nuclear subsidies,
released a report on Tuesday showing the reactors would be
profitable over the 2019-28 period.
    FirstEnergy Solutions called API's release of the report the
night before the scheduled House vote "a last-minute, desperate
attempt to use misinformation to mislead Ohio legislators" and
said the report's "calculation of profitability is deeply
    Analysts at Height Capital Markets in Washington said they
expect the state legislature will ultimately send a nuclear
subsidy bill to Ohio Governor Mike DeWine by the end of June.
    DeWine said in a statement supporting passage of the House
bill that "Ohio needs to maintain carbon-free nuclear energy
generation as part of our energy portfolio."
    The Sierra Club, meanwhile, criticized the bill because it
repeals Ohio's clean energy and efficiency standards while
taxing electric customers to bail out FirstEnergy Solutions'
Ohio nuclear plants and OVEC's coal plants.

 (Reporting by Scott DiSavino; editing by Andrea Ricci, Sonya
Hepinstall and Chris Reese)