The Gongwer Blog

Feds Announce $1.5B Holtec Loan to Restart Palisades

By Nick Smith
Staff Writer
Posted: April 12, 2024 3:05 PM

Holtec International's effort to restart the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant was given a huge boost Wednesday with the U.S. Department of Energy's announcement it was offering a $1.52 billion conditional loan for the project.

An announcement of the conditional loan through the department's Loan Programs Office came Wednesday morning event at the facility in Van Buren County's Covert Township.

If Holtec can obtain federal permitting and reopen the facility, it could become the first shuttered nuclear power plant in the nation to be restarted.

Operations at the 800-megawatt plant ceased in May 2022. At the time of its closure, it was one of three operating nuclear plants in the state.

"Nuclear power is our single largest source of carbon free electricity, directly supporting 100,000 jobs across the country and hundreds of thousands more indirectly," Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said in a statement. "President Biden's Investing in America agenda is supporting and expanding this vibrant clean energy workforce here in Michigan with significant funding for Holtec Palisades nuclear power plant."

State funding totaling $150 million has also been allocated toward efforts to restart Palisades.

Holtec President and CEO Kris Singh in a statement called the funding announcement for the plant "a triumph for the United States in our collective pursuit of a clean and dependable energy future."

"The repowering of Palisades will restore safe, around-the-clock generation to hundreds of thousands of households, businesses and manufacturers," Singh said. "It also confers the environmental and public health benefits of emissions-free generation, hundreds of high-paying local jobs with a large union workforce, economic growth, and the social benefits of a strong community partner."

The plant, if brought back online, is expected to operate through at least 2051, the U.S. Department of Energy said in a release.

"Palisades is coming back," Governor Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement. "Once complete, Palisades will become the first successfully restarted nuclear power plant in American history, protecting 600 union jobs at the plant, 1,100 in the community, and access to clean, reliable power for 800,000 homes."

U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-Zeeland) in a statement said he was proud to have helped push for the project on the federal level.

"Holtec's historic repowering of the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant will provide safe, reliable, energy to meet southwest Michigan's growing needs, and it lays the groundwork for the first-of-their-kind small modular reactors to be placed at Palisades in the future."

Senate Minority Leader Aric Nesbitt (R-Porter Township) in a statement called the announcement a win for southwest Michigan and customers while also taking a dig at the governor and the renewable energy standard law Democrats enacted last fall.

"With the dark shadow of Gov. Whitmer's California-style Green New Deal signaling higher costs and a less reliable energy grid for our state's future, Michigan families need dependable power sources like Palisades to help alleviate energy prices and provide electricity when the sun doesn't shine and the wind doesn't blow," Nesbitt said. "I am happy to see the governor and her peers acknowledging the need to reopen this vital nuclear power plant as we brace for the predictable shortfalls of the extreme energy agenda forced through the Legislature."

Rep. Pauline Wendzel (R-Watervliet) in a statement said the funding announcement moves Michigan closer to being able to "secure out legacy as a global leader in technology, discovery, and innovation."

"Nuclear power has an essential role in our nation's energy future, and that future is going to be built right here in Michigan," Wendzel said. "We're going to make history, and once again, the world is going to follow America's, specifically Michigan's, lead."

Charlotte Jameson, chief policy officer for the Michigan Environmental Council, in a statement said the group does not have a position on nuclear power or federal funding for it. However, she said the group has expressed concerns with spending state monies on Palisades when there are other budget priorities.

"The state budget is an expression of our values and how we believe our taxpayer dollars should be invested to benefit the environment," Jameson said. "In this budget we feel that things like renewable energy; housing retrofits; multimodal transit funding; and funding to clean up contaminated sediment from major rivers speak to those values and should be prioritized over the Palisades investment."

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