Since the creation of competitive electricity markets over 20 years ago, competitive power suppliers have driven progress for energy customers and the environment. This Competitive Power Spotlight covers Vistra Corp.’s acquisition of critical nuclear assets providing 33 terawatt hours of carbon-free energy to PJM customers.
Vistra’s Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant located in Somerville, Texas. The Energy Harbor acquisition marks further growth in Vistra’s nuclear portfolio. Credit: Vistra Corp.
Nuclear power has been a reliable source of dispatchable, zero-carbon power for decades, and the continued cost-effective operation of these power plants plays a key role in America’s energy generation mix. This makes Vistra Corp.’s recent announcement of the acquisition of Energy Harbor’s nuclear fleet a significant investment in PJM’s reliable zero-carbon energy future and another demonstration of how competitive power producers are diversifying their generation fleets as the energy transition progresses.
In the $3.4 billion deal, which is expected to close later this year, Vistra will also acquire Energy Harbor’s retail business, part of Vistra’s continued investment in America’s energy expansion.
Energy Harbor currently operates four reactors across three plant sites in the PJM power region. Located just northwest of Pittsburgh, Beaver Valley is comprised of two reactors: Unit 1, which began operations in 1976, and Unit 2, which entered service in 1987. Davis-Besse, Ohio’s first nuclear power plant, began generating electricity in 1970; Perry Nuclear Power Plant, meanwhile, was commissioned in 1987 and operates 40 miles northeast of Cleveland.
Together these reactors provide about 33 terawatt hours of carbon-free energy in the PJM region, with the Perry and Davis-Besse reactors together providing 90% of Ohio’s carbon-free electricity. Their continued operation will play an important role in ensuring grid reliability.
Vistra President and CEO Jim Burke emphasized the significance of the resources, saying, “As our country navigates a massive energy transition to cleaner sources of electricity, nuclear energy provides the unique capability of being both carbon-free and a dependable, always-on source of reliable power.”
With the purchase of Energy Harbor’s nuclear plants, Vistra will have the second-largest competitive nuclear fleet in the U.S., a sign of the company’s continued investments in diversified generation resources and zero-emissions generation.
Back in 2018, Energy Harbor’s predecessor, FirstEnergy Solutions, that it would be closing the reactors during the next three years because of market challenges. Vistra’s purchase of the plants ensures that approximately 4,000 MW of reliable carbon-free power remains online and available for the grid.
This deal demonstrates that market participants are still willing to invest in regions that are competitive and can help ensure system reliability. Markets and competition remain the best means of ensuring grid reliability and access to cost-effective energy solutions across the country. When companies compete, they have incentives to lower both costs and emissions, producing real benefits for ratepayers and area residents.
The latest announcement from Vistra shows this process in action. Ohio ratepayers can look forward to more cost-effective, reliable power thanks to a historic private investment in America’s clean energy future from a leading competitive power supplier with a strong track record of integrity and safe, successful operations.