Electric Generation Facility Closures and Reliability Act
Section 1: The [name of state] finds that:
- American families and American industries depend on reliable and affordable electricity for everything they do, from lifesaving medical equipment to lifesaving building climate control;
- electricity demand must be met with electricity supply within minutes, or else interruptions of service result;
- 240 coal plants, which produced 22% of American electricity in 2021, are being targeted for closure by activist groups, state and federal regulators, and utilities, with dozens across the nation slated for closure in the upcoming three years;
- 71,000 wind towers produced 9% of American electricity in 2021, about 6,000 are added per year – at least 150,000 more are needed to replace coal generation, and battery storage is needed for the 70% of the time wind produces little or no energy;
- solar produced less than 3% of American electricity in 2021, and only produces electricity when the sun shines;
- the North American Electric Reliability Corp. (NERC) has warned that large swathes of the United States face elevated risks of electricity shortfalls this summer and in future years;
- restricting the supply of electricity without immediate substitutes jeopardizes reliability and affordability and will cause interruptions of service, often when needed most, when it is the hottest or coldest;
- restricting the supply of electricity without immediate substitutes only serves to raise prices on consumers and businesses, profoundly impacting the poorest among us;
- rising electricity prices and decreased reliability will contribute to inflation;
- because of natural gas shortages, European nations have brought “mothballed” coal plants back online; and
- our coal plants, if closed, should be preserved to provide flexibility for national security in times of war, economic security, supply security, price stability, and reliability.
Model Bill: Electric generation facility closures; presumption; commission review.
(a) As used in this section:
(i) “Dispatchable” means a source of electricity that is available for use on demand and that can be dispatched upon request of a power grid operator or that can have its power output adjusted, according to market needs, except for routine maintenance or repairs;
(ii) “Reliable” means a source of electricity that is not subject to intermittent availability, except for routine maintenance or repairs;
(iii) “Electric generation facility” means a facility that uses water (dams), coal, natural gas, or nuclear to generate reliable or dispatchable electricity for provision to customers;
(iv) “Premature retirement” or “retirement” or “retired” means the closure of or the complete and permanent cessation of operations at an electric generation facility before the planned operational life of the facility has elapsed, unless mandated by federal law.
(b) Before authorizing or approving the retirement of an electric generation facility as proposed in a rate case, integrated resource plan or other submission to the commission, the commission shall consider the effect on available reliable and/or dispatchable electricity to customers and the impact that any shortage of available reliable and/or dispatchable energy nationwide may have on customers.
(c) There shall be a rebuttable presumption against the retirement of an electric generation facility. The commission shall not approve the retirement of an electric generation facility unless the presumption created by this subsection is rebutted by evidence to establish that:
(i) Cost savings will result to customers as a result of the retirement of the electric generation facility;
(ii) The retirement will not result in an insufficient amount of reliable and/or dispatchable capacity to serve customers; and
(iii) The retirement will not adversely impact the availability or reliability of electric service to customers of the public utility.
(d) Rate recovery limitations shall apply to a public utility that completes a retirement of an electric generation facility without rebutting the presumption specified in this section.
(e) Electric generation facilities subject to(iv) shall be preserved for future use, unless they have reached the end of their remaining useful life. Continued preservation shall be reviewed and evaluated every five (5) years.
(f) The commission will not approve the retiring of any electrical generation facilities if their replacements are deemed to be more detrimental to the environment than existing facilities. This would include the disruption of large areas of critical habitat, negative impacts on threatened or endangered wildlife, stresses to local watersheds, intervention of toxic materials into wilderness areas, or other ecological harms of a similar nature.
NOTE: (e) is needed for economic and national security reasons. Europe has put many “mothballed” coal generation facilities back online because of the fuel emergency they are experiencing.