NextEra, Entergy exit Washington nuclear energy lobby

Here’s another blow to the nuclear energy industry, facing economic, policy and political headwinds in Washington and in competitive electric markets for years. Florida’s NextEra Energy and New Orleans-based Entergy, important utility owners of multiple nuclear power plants, have dropped their membership in the Nuclear Energy Institute, the industry’s Washington lobbying group.

Maria Korsnick, NEI president and CEO, said, “Entergy and NextEra have made the business decision not to renew their membership with NEI. We are disappointed by the decision but remain committed to our role as the voice of the nuclear industry representing the vast majority of the U.S. nuclear power generators on regulatory and policy issues.”

Don Brandt, Pinnacle West Capital Corp. and Arizona Public Service, and NEI board chairman, said, “NEI is the voice of our industry to regulators and decision-makers in Washington, to the states, and increasingly on important international stages. This unified voice helps us all, and its work has never been more important. In the years ahead, NEI will continue to play a unique role not only for the expansion of emissions-free electricity, but also for broader societal benefits, from industrial processing to disaster relief to human development.”

Entergy owns and operates 10 nuclear units, both under conventional utility regulation and in merchant operation in wholesale commodity markets, and operates one unit (Cooper in Nebraska) under contract. NextEra owns and operates six nuclear units, both utility and merchant. Both companies were on the NEI’s 22-member board of directors.

Entergy commented, “While we will no longer be a member of NEI, we will continue to engage actively and cooperatively with the industry in both the operations and public policy arenas.”

— Kennedy Maize