Nuclear negations yield renewable energy leverage

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The VC Summer Nuclear Power plant expansion failed at a cost of $9 billion to South Carolina electricity customers. The follow ups have led to court cases in which ex-employee testimony suggested firings for whistleblowing, and that the company running the construction – SCANA – had committed fraud, and mismanaged the project.

Utility customers on the hook for the project had received nine unique electricity bill increases, equal to about $27/month, a factor in South Carolina to having the highest average monthly bills in the United States. As part of the fallout, the parties involved are being pushed hard by politicians and voters to change their ways.

On November 30th, general council of the South Carolina Electric & Gas Company (SCANA), also representing Dominion Energy, notified the Public Service Commission of South Carolina, that it supports a certain set of renewable energy supporting policies as part of the ongoing negotiations.

The policies are focused on renewables and energy storage gaining consistent access to the market. The regulations mainly aim to create a consistent set of variables – avoided costs, ten year PPAs, hourly pricing, consistent interconnection standards – that will allow developers of solar power projects to better model probability of successful projects.

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This is not the first time that failed nuclear power plants have been followed by solar. The above images are of the 1 MW solar power plant that is running at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power plant in Ukraine. The large structure in the background is the $1.5 billion 31,000 ton concrete sarcophagus to cover the still burning nuclear melt down.

The Phipps Bend Nuclear Power Plant in Surgoinsville, Tennessee sat abandoned since it was cancelled in 1981, 36 years ago. As of  July 5, 2017 it began generating solar electricity as United Renewable Energy completed a 1 MW solar power plant (main article image)

When Duke Energy Florida cancelled the Levy Nuclear Plant at a cost of $800 million in already collected fees from consumers, the electric utility announced plans to satiate the public with 700 MWac of solar power, plus at least 50 MW of grid-tied batteries, grid modernization projects, and 500 electric vehicle charging areas.