Monday, January 26, 2009

Show Me the Nuclear Plant

missouri_arch AmerenUE plans to build a second unit at its Callaway plant in, appropriately enough, Callaway county, Missouri. So far, the reaction is pretty good:

AmerenUE says the plant would provide 2,500 new jobs with an annual payroll of $400 million for about five years during construction. The second reactor also would create at least 400 well-paying permanent Callaway County jobs with an annual payroll of $30 million. Callaway County residents also are elated that the project would produce an estimated $115 million annually in property taxes during construction and another $90 million each year after the plant begins operating.

This is a news story, which leads us to wonder how writer Don Norfleet knows how “elated” the residents are – maybe he really has the pulse of his neighbors, be we suspect editorializing. The numbers are reasonable, though, and good for the county.

However, AmerenUE has had to militate for a change in the law to bring about the new unit:

At issue is legislation introduced a few days ago that would repeal a 1976 law approved by a ballot initiative that prevents utilities from charging customers for power plants until after they are constructed.

AmerenUE officials say they won't be able to build the plant if the law is not repealed and customers would be hit even harder with higher rate hikes if payments did not start until after construction was completed. Attracting financing with no immediate income stream in the current economy also would be questionable.

The reason for laws like this is to keep costs from running wild, but state commissions can presumably serve the same purpose. Where there is opposition to the new unit, it comes not from environmentalists, but from consumer activists – and that’s not due to the plant, or a problem with nuclear energy, but because they don’t want customers to be charged while the plant is being built.

But we wonder, nuclear or not, whether this is just a sign of the world that’s coming: as renewable energy sources ramp up and cap-and-trade legislation encourages non-renewable sources to ramp down, the result will certainly be some rugged bills coming through the mail – or energy credits to consumers – or state and federal subsidies. A mix of several of these, but an issue Missouri will likely be among the first to face. Let’s see how this does in the legislature and then follow it from there.

It’s called the Jefferson National Expansion Monument – inviting name, no? This is probably a state courthouse – the capital is in Jefferson City, not St. Louis.

2 comments:

djysrv said...

For more news on how Ameren is seeking to change the law on recovery of costs in Missouri see my report at Idaho Samizdat

vee shannon said...

Can you possibly tell me the estimated time of completion for the new plant.My job title is classified as 21p/power plant operator and I would like to apply for a position at the new facility upon completion.Also with all of the new job growth Ameren will be eperiencing in the Missouri region,when do anticipate on accepting resumes and job applications.Please get back with me on the matter and have a blessed day.