Vistra buys Ohio's old nukes and PA's old nukes

Texas-based energy company Vistra Corp. is adding to its nuclear power generation capacity. The group on March 6 announced it would buy Ohio-based Energy Harbor Corp. in a $3.4 billion deal that includes ownership of three nuclear power stations.

The transaction includes $3 billion in cash, with Energy Harbor shareholders receiving a 15% stake in Vistra Vision, a new subsidiary holding company. The new unit also will assume about $430 million of net debt from Energy Harbor, the company formerly known as FirstEnergy Solutions before a restructuring in 2020. The company had been a subsidiary of parent FirstEnergy.

Vistra will add about 4,000 MW of nuclear power generation capacity to its portfolio after the deal is completed, expected in the second half of this year. The nuclear and retail businesses of both companies will be combined. The Vistra Zero brand’s renewables and energy storage projects also will operate under Vistra Vision.

Jim Burke, Vistra president and CEO, said, “We are excited to announce this unique combination and the many benefits it brings to our key stakeholders—customers, employees, communities, and shareholders. Vistra has been focused on responsibly transitioning our power generation profile, and though we’ve made significant progress over the past several years, there are few opportunities to grow a reliable and dispatchable zero-carbon generation portfolio at scale this quickly.”

Large Nuclear Fleet

Energy Harbor operates the second-largest non-regulated nuclear power fleet in the U.S., including the 894-MW Davis-Besse (also known as Oak Harbor) and 1,300-MW Perry nuclear plants in Ohio, and the 1,800-MW Beaver Valley nuclear facility in Pennsylvania, which will now be owned by Vistra. The two Ohio-based plants were at the center of a political scandal tied to bribes paid to state lawmakers in exchange for passage of a $1.3 bailout to FirstEnergy and other utilities to keep the Ohio nuclear plants operating.

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