Berkeley, Calif. — Today, the Breakthrough Institute published a new analysis by Energy Analyst Jonah Messinger and Senior Policy Advisor Rani Franovich arguing for the state of Michigan to reevaluate its decision to shut down the Palisades nuclear power plant. In 2020, the 812 megawatt (MW) power plant generated roughly 6 terawatt-hours (TWh) of clean electricity, or 5.6% of Michigan’s total electricity generation.More to the point, that output represented 15% of all clean power generated in Michigan. Keeping Palisades online will preserve 600 well-paid jobs and a safe, reliable backbone of Michigan’s clean energy portfolio.
More to the point, that output represented 15% of all clean power generated in Michigan. Keeping Palisades online will preserve 600 well-paid jobs and a safe, reliable backbone of Michigan’s clean energy portfolio.
Messinger and Franovich are available for interview or comment
The power produced at Palisades is equivalent to 39 times the state’s solar generation and three-and-a-half times its hydro generation. Shutting down Palisades will be the equivalent of tearing down almost every wind turbine in the state.
The authors write, “In 2007, after more than 30 years of operation and securing a renewed operating license from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), Michigan utility Consumers Energy sold the plant to Entergy for a mere $380 million and contracted to purchase power from the now Entergy-owned Palisades plant. Just five years later, Entergy and Consumers agreed to a deal in which ratepayers would buyout the future value of the power purchase contract for $172 million – with no future delivery of power. The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) ultimately halted the proposed buyout, allowing Consumers to recover $136.6 million from ratepayers instead.”
This is despite the state’s clean energy goals, pledging to go carbon neutral by 2050.
Messinger et. al. note “a groundswell of support from pro-nuclear climate activists, who wrote a letter to Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, pleading for her to intercede in the shutdown of Palisades.”
They conclude, “Prematurely closing Palisades does not lend credibility to Michigan’s clean energy goals. If Michigan is serious about decarbonization, the state’s leaders should step in and ensure that Palisades operates through 2031.”