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U.S. Appeals Court upholds New York program to subsidize nuclear plants

Federal court upholds New York program to subsidize nuclear plants, Washington Examiner, by Josh Siegel, September 27, 2018 The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit on Thursday upheld the legality of New York’s program that props up struggling nuclear plants to provide electricity without carbon dioxide emissions.

The court said the state subsidy program does not interfere with the power that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has over wholesale electricity markets, as charged by other electricity suppliers who filed suit, including the Electric Power Supply Association.

The three-judge panel acknowledged that New York’s program would keep nuclear plants alive, and raise costs for competitors, but said those effects were “incidental.”

……..The ruling comes a few weeks after the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit upheld a similar policy in Illinois………

FERC has filed amicus briefs in the cases affirming the programs do not preempt the agency’s legal authority set by the Federal Power Act.

Critics say the programs bailout failing nuclear plants in the state, that are struggling to compete with lower cost natural gas and renewables.

The Trump administration is considering a bigger, widely contested plan, on a national scale, to require grid operators to buy power from a select list of coal and nuclear plants.

Environmentalists cheered the state court rulings as a signal that courts consider states to have broad power to set clean energy goals, and to impose policies to achieve them. For example, many states have renewable portfolio standards requiring generators to obtain more and more of their electricity from clean sources.

“The 2nd Circuit’s decision rejecting a challenge to [New York’s] ZEC program may be narrowly covered as a decision affecting nuclear resources, but the much bigger reason it is major news is because it eliminates legal uncertainty for states in designing clean energy programs,” said Miles Farmer, a clean energy attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council, in a Twitter post.

September 28, 2018 - Posted by | Legal, USA

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