US power utility Constellation has completed its acquisition of NRG Energy Inc’s 44% ownership stake in the South Texas Project Electric Generating Station (STP). Constellation’s stake represents approximately 1,100 megawatts of the plant’s output. Ownership transfer of the 2,645 MWe dual-unit nuclear plant located about 90 miles southwest of Houston was approved by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRS). This was the final regulatory approval needed before closing the deal.

Constellation agreed in June to purchase NRG's stake in the plant – for $1.75bn. The plant is co-owned by CPS Energy (40%) and Austin Energy (16%), and operated by South Texas Project Nuclear Operating Company. However, in July, CPS and Austin Energy jointly filed a motion with NRC seeking to dismiss or place on hold the licence transfer pending the outcome of a lawsuit CPS brought against NRG. CPS claimed a "right of first refusal" over the sale.

Constellation says it is "working to reach a favourable resolution for all parties in the related litigation pending in Matagorda County, Texas".

Constellation President & CEO Joe Dominguez said: “As the world is waking up to the immense value of nuclear power to address the climate crisis and maintain energy security, Constellation will continue to look for opportunities to expand our ownership of assets like STP.”

Constellation says that, with annual output that is nearly 90% carbon-free, its hydro, wind and solar facilities along with the largest nuclear fleet in the US, it supplies about 10% of US clean energy. Its fleetwide capacity factor of more than 94% over the past decade is about 4% higher than the industry average.

Image: The South Texas Project nuclear power plant