Chicago Tribune: Nuclear plants are paying customers to use power

Published: February 8th, 2013 at 8:50 pm ET


Title: Exelon on wind: Exelon CEO says too much wind could lead to nuclear plant shutdowns
Source: Chicago Tribune
Author: Julie Wernau
Date: February 8, 2013

Chief Executive Christopher Crane said Thursday that the rapid pace of subsidized wind-generated electric power could ultimately force it to shutter nuclear plants.

“What worries me is if we continue to build an excessive amount of wind and subsidize wind, the unintended consequence could be that it leads to shutting down plants,” Crane said in an interview. […]

Crane has said the tax credit keeps turbines spinning even when there is no demand for power, driving down the price Exelon receives for power from its nuclear plants.

In wind-rich areas like Illinois, that means there are instances when Exelon pays customers to take their power rather than the other way around. The phenomenon is referred to as negative electricity pricing. For instance, the company’s Byron nuclear plant in Illinois, Crane said, is in a negative pricing scenario 16 percent of the time. […]

“Exelon made a bet on the electricity spot market just like California did 10 years ago. When prices went down, they lost their bet and they’re looking for a scapegoat. The good news is the same low prices that hurt Exelon benefit homes and businesses. Negative prices are a red herring. Exelon does not want low prices or any resources like wind that bring prices down.” –Rob Gramlich, the American Wind Energy Association’s interim chief executive

Published: February 8th, 2013 at 8:50 pm ET


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12 comments to Chicago Tribune: Nuclear plants are paying customers to use power

  • The link provided above doesn't work due to a paywall. This link might be the same:

    From the second link:

    "Wind advocates contend Exelon’s arguments are hypocritical, adding that for years the company has touted its impact in lowering electricity rates to communities served by its power plants."

    Awwww, did some big bad corp tell LIES? Awwww.

    "Exelon’s stance against the extension this year of the wind-production tax credit resulted in the company being ousted from the American Wind Energy Association, a lobbying group. "

    Perhaps the elites are fighting with each other. May the nuke plants lose.

    • m a x l i

      Two different links, same text. Your link, nobuggy, leads to a site, where all the facts about wind power seem to be collected:

      "Wind is a diffuse and fickle resource that does not follow demand. Despite decades of experience and substantial installations in Denmark, Germany, and Spain, the giant turbines have not been shown to meaningfully reduce the use of other fuels on the electric grid — such as natural gas, coal, and nuclear…"

      Aha, wind power no threat to nuclear! It doesn't matter that these "facts" contradict each other. The important message is: wind power is bad.

  • enoughalready45 enoughalready45

    Yeah!! More Wind! More Solar!
    Illinois has the most nuclear reactors (11) and most stored nuclear waste of any state in the USA.
    Shut down that Byron plant, I'm down wind of it!

    • Huuwah! Illinois, Michigan, Wisco (gov Walker leading the way with Kewaunee pounded by solar at Madison and nat gas) needs to reduce their clunker nukes and soon.

  • amberlight amberlight

    Aww, Exelon is facing competition from a non-toxic, renewable power source? So sad… Where's my hanky?

  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    All nuclear plants need to be shut down in an attempt to save earth. Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and now Japan, which will be suffering for a long time.

  • Johnny Blade Johnny Blade

    SHUT THEM ALL DOWN!~BTW,Exelon was on CLTV(WGN news,a Chicago Tribune Co.)briefly this morning and on the news-ticker text captioning said "Exelon announces 41% dividend reduction".That would be related to this story I assume?!~It sounded like good news for us but left me confused since they didn't offer anything further or give any reason for the changes and I don't even think they said the word nuclear even once to my recollection!(?) I am starting to sense that they realize the public is awake enough now to cause some serious backlash and PR nightmares if they're making "voluntary" concessions and closing plants,etc. now as if they expect "something"(?)to put the brakes on the nuclear power industry and FORCE safety and operational changes DEMANDED in the wake of whatever(?)has them spooked!I'd like to think they were guided by conscience rather than maintaining positive profits in the wake of events proving nuke power is unsound and soon may succumb to a delayed reaction to mass poisoning of the public for many years but has finally caught up to them,but I know they are now trying to save their asses AND assets if recent allegations & secret memo's,etc. prove they knew what was headed downwind at levels worthy of global concern & STILL tried to continue BS'ing us into "backing their mutant horse".Maybe they know new inspection criteria and oversight would expose fatal flaws if they didn't pull back on the reins that would've been far more costly?! 😉 ~**

  • weeman

    No way to store excess electricity but at peak times not enough electricity, answer build more nuclear plants to fill the gap, instead of developing new storage methods, give me 6 billion dollars and I guarantee massive storage of electricity and no nuclear plant.
    In Canada we produce more electricity than demand at times and believe it or not we pay you to take our electricity when there is surplus, funny the tax payers built the power plants and we do not see any reduction in price, in fact the price of electricity will rise 25 percent in the next 4 years, never mind the fact that I pay 25 dollars a month for debt retirement because of there bad management.
    Well here comes jonny he's a one ball man and he's of to the nuclear plant, it's pletunium left, pletunium right
    Fuckin jerk, piss me off, get on my nerves.


    gotta love this story. It never ceases to amaze how we're told that 'capitalism' is the best system; that is, until it cuts-into the profit margins of the corporate elite! We're told to stop crying for the unemployed blacksmith; that progress is the inevitable outcome of a free-market system. Then you read a story like this and find yourself on the floor in painful laughter!

    Those of us who follow technological trends, knew this day was coming. Yet none would've anticipated the bankrupt excuses others would use to impede real progress. And all should know, the people who are pushing renewable systems are hardcore business people, who refuse to be benched any longer on the sidelines. These professionals have penetrated every aspect of the marketplace.

    Though we're far from being out of the woods, this story should be seen for the landmark that it is. The days of centralized energy systems are obviously numbered. It's true, they're still building these monsters (NPPs). But they can no longer hide the true costs of these death machines!

    Anyone who's still working for the nuclear power industries would be well advised to take courses within areas that can be applied to renewable energy systems. There's also going to be massive opportunity in environmental remediation.

    Funny how repressed truth gains in equal impact, when it's finally revealed. So…GET POSITIVE PEOPLE!!! The path is about to take a major turn for the better…

  • Time Is Short Time Is Short

    The electricity crisis in California DID NOT result in 'lower' prices. Electricity prices went up, the Governor was recalled – that's how they got Arnie – and businesses were hurt bad. They are still paying higher prices for electricity, another reason California's business economy is going down the toilet.

    Lies, lies and more lies. Who are the major bondholders in Exelon? Those are the people that will kill us for profits.