Palisades chronology: “Palisades’ rocky history” covers 52 years and counting. This is page 2.

News about Palisades – from “rocky history” to shutdown announcement 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 page 2 covers mid-January to mid-February, 2017.

  • Page 1 begins with the July, 2016, controversy about falsified security reports, and continues through Sierra Club Southwest Michigan Group’s January 12, 2017, adoption of its resolution supporting the Palisades shutdown.
  • Page 2 goes from mid-January, 2017, up to MPSC’s mid-February announcement that it would hold its first public hearing in the case on March 9.
  • Page 3 carries our Palisades Chronology to the end of March and the disclosure that Palisades may not be able to handle a tornado.
  • Page 4 runs from the beginning of April through June 9 – meeting reports, case updates.
  • Page 5 ends with 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 recaps a Palisades “Event Report” and the July 26 Open House, with more to come.
Palisades chronology page 2

The latest on Palisades, updated often, right here on our “Palisades Chronology” page.

On December 9, 2016, the day after the Palisades shutdown news release, The Herald Palladium published a comprehensive timeline covering “Palisades’ rocky history.” The timeline begins a few months before the January 28, 1966, headline that hailed a new “$100 million electrical plant.” The March, 1973, timeline entry reports that “after eight years and $170 million,” Palisades got the okay to operate at full power. The Palladium’s Palisades chronology ends with the August, 2016, announcement that Anthony Vitale, who’d been in charge at Palisades for five years, was being replaced. We started our palisades chronology in mid-July, 2016 – a month before Entergy named a new boss at Palisades.

Palisades Chronology Page 2

Our Palisades Chronology Page 2 goes from mid-January to mid-February, 2017, up to MPSC’s announcement of its first public hearing in the case.

January 13

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:

  1. increased energy efficiency;
  2. increased commercial and industrial demand response;
  3. acceleration and increase in the size of the Cross Winds Energy Park;
  4. amending the Company’s existing PPA with T.E.S. Filer City; and
  5. 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.

January 20

MPSC asked Consumers more questions, put out a news release about the questions, and then issued an order closing the case. MPSC announced no ruling.

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.

February 5

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.

February 6

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.

February 10

The Michigan Public Service Commission opened a new Palisades case, apparently with no public announcement.

February 14

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.


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End of Palisades Chronology, Page 2

Quicklinks to our Palisades Chronology pages

  • Page 1 starts with the Palisades timeline – day one to December 8, 2016 – published in The Herald Palladium and takes us to mid-January and SWMG’s adoption of its Palisades Shutdown Resolution.
  • Page 2 provides an expert’s translation of Consumers Energy’s 99-page response to MPSC’s list of questions and info on other financial concerns.
  • Page 3 looks at local issues and comments from mid-February and ends with the March 30 disclosure that Palisades was not designed to withstand a tornado.
  • Page 4 reports on several public meetings held from April to early June, 2017, and has several updates in MPSC’s case, including info on how to send comments to MPSC.
  • Page 5 goes from mid-June to the presentation Bette Pierman organized, with Chris Williams from Vermont warning us about what to watch for when Palisades goes into its decommissioning phase.
  • Page 6 has an “Event Report” from Entergy two months after the fact, a very-next-day report from Kraig Schultz on the July 26 Palisades Open House, and more to come.

See also our blog posts on Palisades and nuclear energy.

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