Supreme Court of the United States and American Flag in Washington, DC
Supreme Court of the United States – Washington, DC

Nuclear power won, this time.

The Electric Power Supply Association (EPSA), a group who represents the interests of gas-fired power generators, petitioned the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) to review the Federal Power Act’s influence over state subsidies, particularly those given to nuclear power generators in New York and Illinois.

In an interview with Natural Gas Intel, EPSA CEO John Shelk said subsidies for nuclear in certain states could end up pushing out gas-fired power generators.

“He warned that the gas industry should be concerned about demand for its volumes in the long-run, something he said stakeholders are clearly aware of as they continue to push back against legislative support for nuclear resources,” Natural Gas Intel noted.

Petition Also Addressed Federal Power Act’s Influence on Favoritism

The petition’s official name is “Electric Power Supply Association, and NRG Energy, INC.” but is also referred to as “Electric Power Supply Association vs. Rhodes”. “Rhodes” refers to John B Rhodes, chair of the New York Public Service Commission.

One of the petitions more interesting points was its claim that the Second Circuit’s interpretation of a 2016 SCOTUS decision regarding the Federal Power Act left too much leeway for states to subsidize “favored” power providers.

Their decision focused on two interpretations of the FPA’s reach: that it only covers state wholesale power sellers who participate in FERC-approved auctions or that it also covers those sellers who don’t participate in FERC-approved auctions.

SCOTUS interpreted the FPA as covering the first scenario but not the second, and herein lies the reason for the EPSA’s petition.

“By defining the boundary of exclusive federal authority as narrowly as it did, the court of appeals has opened the door to all manner of parochial state schemes to subsidize the wholesale revenues of favored generators,” The EPSA petition read.

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