News about Palisades – from “rocky history” to shutdown announcement, reversal, and beyond
Editor’s note: News about Palisades Nuclear Generating Station took so much space on our News Page that we decided to put it somewhere else. Our Palisades Chronology now takes up nine pages.
- Page 1 begins with a link to “Timeline: Palisades’ rocky history” published in The Herald Palladium on December 9 and goes to the end of 2016.
- Page 2 covers January and February, 2017, including MPSC closing its initial case in the matter and opening a new one.
- Page 3 brings our Palisades news up to date on plant problems in March and April, up to news about a November tritium tritium leak that wasn’t made public until it was buried in a routine NRC report on April 28.
- Page 4 starts with a report on MPSC’s public hearing in Lawrence and goes through June, 2017.
- Page 5, July, Part 1 – news on the MPSC legal case and a report on the July 13 program that Bette Pierman organized with Chris Williams, who shared what he’s learned watching the decommissioning at Entergy’s Vermont Yankee plant.
- Page 6, July, Part 2 – a Palisades “Event Report,” an NRC investigation, and the July 26 Open House.
- Page 7 goes from the August 17 report that Palisades fixed its tornado problem to the September 26 MPSC news release about its ruling on Consumers’ PPA buyout plan.
- Page 8 – the last three days of September: Entergy’s decision, reactions, and a seven-year list of security amendments.
- Page 9 – news on how Southwest Michigan is adjusting, Entergy’s license amendment requests, more to come.
Palisades Chronology Page 2: January and February, 2017
The Executive Committee of Sierra Club Southwest Michigan Group adopts a resolution supporting the shutdown. The resolution calls for Palisades’ closure and decommissioning to “proceed on schedule.” It also insists that “local, state, and national officials and legislators must neither offer nor consider providing financial assistance…to keep Palisades operating or to cover decommissioning and extended security costs.” As SWMG’s news release says, “No bailout for failure.” The resolution also calls for special consideration for workers left unemployed by the shutdown.
An email from Frank Zaski, Sierra Club Michigan Chapter energy expert, distilled and translated the 99-page response Consumers submitted on January 6 to the questions MPSC asked when the Commission opened Case No. U-18218:
“The MPSC asked CMS many questions regarding the early termination, particularly, where will the power come from? CMS answered:
The Company’s palisades PPA buyout replacement plan relies on:
- increased energy efficiency;
- increased commercial and industrial demand response;
- acceleration and increase in the size of the Cross Winds Energy Park;
- amending the Company’s existing PPA with T.E.S. Filer City; and
- continued operation of the Company’s Gaylord, Straits, and Campbell peaking combustion turbines, in total delivering 470 additional Zonal Resource Credits (“ZRCs”) by 2021.
Taken with the Company’s current forecasted capacity surplus, this plan is sufficient to meet the needs of the Company’s customers and deliver significant savings in costs compared to the continuation of the Palisades PPA.”
Not mentioned but available, added Zaski, is the 1,000 MW Indeck gas plant that will be built in Niles Mi., 44 miles from Palisades and provide electricity to the area. The DEQ signed off the Indeck air permit.
February 3, updated February 8
Entergy may consider selling Palisades to a new company that will specialize in nuclear plant decommissioning, says a February 3 Rutland (Vermont) Herald report on Entergy’s Vermont Yankee nuclear plant. More info from Utility Dive in a February 8 report.
MiBiz reports that MPSC is concerned about the financial aspects of the Palisades closure agreement and “the reliability of the grid.” MPSC wants to decide by August 31. MiBiz adds:
Unlike in states such as Illinois and New York, environmental groups in Michigan generally support closing Palisades. In those states, advocates have pushed to keep open economically struggling nuclear plants — which are challenged by low natural gas prices and increasingly cheaper renewables — by providing billions of dollars in subsidies primarily because nuclear is a virtually carbon emission-free generation source.
Anne Woiwode, conservation director for the Michigan chapter of the Sierra Club, says her group “applauds” the plant’s closure because of concerns over nuclear waste storage near the Great Lakes and a history of other environmental problems at Palisades.
Closing Palisades will improve Consumers Energy’s financial position, says CEO Patti Poppe. RTO Insider reports:
Poppe said CMS [Consumers Energy] will improve its financial position by terminating the Palisades nuclear plant PPA [power purchase agreement] in favor of employing more energy efficiency, demand response, renewable power and coal-to-gas switching. (See Entergy, Consumers Announce Closure of Palisades Nuke.) According to CMS, the plan will save customers $172 million over four years.
Poppe said the substitute capacity plan for the Palisades PPA is “solid” and replaces a “single, big-bet capital project for many smaller options” with less risk. She said CMS could make more PPA replacements in the future by building new plants.
The Michigan Public Service Commission opened a new Palisades case, apparently with no public announcement.
MPSC announced that it has scheduled the first public hearing in the Palisades closure case. This came in regards to the recently opened case. The March 9 hearing will be open to the public. Instructions for public participation:
Any person wishing to appear at the hearing to make a statement of position without becoming a party to the case may participate by filing an appearance. To file an appearance, the individual must attend the hearing and advise the presiding administrative law judge of his or her wish to make a statement of position. All information submitted to the Commission in this matter becomes public information, thus available on the Michigan Public Service Commission’s website, and subject to disclosure. Please do not include information you wish to remain private.
Paw Paw based Two Rivers Coalition sent a letter to MPSC in support of the Palsiades shutdown. The letter calls the closing and decommissioning of the plant “important for the environmental well-being of the region.” MPSC filed TRC’s letter with the case MPSC had closed nearly four weeks earlier.
Van Buren County has started planning its adjustment to Palisades’ closing. The Paw Paw Courier-Leader reports creation of the Joint Adjustment Committee. Public and private-sector members of the committee will help “alleviate the impact of the plant’s Oct. 1, 2018, closing.”
Residential Customer Group filed a motion in the case MPSC had closed on January 20. RCG asked that the closed case be reconsidered, reheard, clarified, and reopened.
End of Palisades Chronology, Page 9 (more to come)
Quicklinks to our Palisades Chronology pages
- Page 1 – day one, June, 1965, to the end of 2016
- Page 2– January and February, 2017.
- Page 3 – March and April, 2017.
- Page 4 – May and June, 2017.
- Page 5 – Early to mid July, 2017.
- Page 6 – Mid to late July, 2017.
- Page 7 – August, 2017, through September 26.
- Page 8 – The last three days of September, 2017.
- Page 9 – October, 2017.