August 23, 2014

Nuclear power plant to close

One of Wisconsin’s nuclear power plants will close next spring.

Dominion Resources of Virginia says the decision to shut down the Kewaunee Nuclear Power Plant in northeast Wisconsin was based solely on economics.

Public Service Commission of Wisconsin Chairperson Phil Montgomery reacts to the news with sadness. “My personal thoughts go out to the 700 highly skilled professional and dedicated men and women who work there. A lot of those were my neighbors when I lived in the Green Bay area. So, as always, and with today’s tough times, my thoughts and prayers are with them.”

An estimated 400 employees will be out of work as a direct result of the shutdown, and Montgomery says, more folks will lose work due to the ripple effect.

Governor Scott Walker blames federal regulations for today’s announcement. His administration tried twice last year to, “get cumbersome EPA regulations out of the way of job creators.”

Montgomery is “optimistic” Wisconsin’s future energy needs will be met. The biggest “game-changer” in the industry is the abundance of natural gas. Also, Wisconsin consumers should remain confident with the utilities’ investments in a diversified energy portfolio. “Whether it’s nuclear, natural gas, coal, wind, solar, biomass … we are extremely well positioned here in Wisconsin.”

Montgomery says it’s important to remember that Wisconsin consumers enjoy the reliability and economic benefits of being in a regional energy market. “It is a very complex, but very well orchestrated network that insures that Wisconsin has reliable, affordable, and sustainable power.”

Dominion says, despite its best efforts, it couldn’t find a buyer for the plant. Wisconsin Power-and-Light and Wisconsin Public Service both have contracts to buy power from Dominion through the end of 2013. Once the nuclear plant closes, Dominion says it will fulfill its obligation by selling power obtained from elsewhere. After the Kewaunee plant closes, two reactors will remain in Wisconsin, at the Point Beach facility in Two Rivers.

AUDIO: Jackie Johnson report 2:10