US utilities Exelon Generation and Entergy have agreed that Exelon will buy the 849MWe Fitzpatrick NPP in New York state from Entergy for $110m, which will enable the plant to continue operating beyond January 2014, the companies said in a joint statement. New York’s first Clean Energy Standard, approved on 1 August 2016 by the New York Public Service Commission (PSC), helped facilitate the transaction, the statement said.

The PSC plan specified that Fitzpatrick, as well as Exelon’s Ginna, Nine Mile Point-1 and Nine Mile Point-2, would receive a zero-emissions credit (ZEC) of $17.48 per megawatt-hour produced during the first of six two-year periods beginning 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2019. ZECs would increase with time, tentatively reaching $29.15/MWh for the period from 1 April 2027 to 31 March 2029.

The transaction is dependent upon regulatory review and approval by state and federal agencies, including the US Department of Justice, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the New York State Public Service Commission. The transaction is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2017, the statement said.

Entergy announced in November 2015 that it planned to shut down and decommission the Fitzpatrick plant and said later that would cease operations in late January 2017. Entergy, which operates 11 nuclear units, said its decision to close the boiling water reactor, which began commercial operation in July 1975, was based on the continued deteriorating economics of the facility, including significantly reduced plant revenues due to low natural gas prices, a poor electricity market design that fails to properly compensate nuclear generators like Fitzpatrick for their benefits, and high operational costs.

Exelon said it has committed to refueling FitzPatrick in January 2017, and it does not anticipate any immediate change to staffing levels at the plant, which employs about 600 people. Exelon, which owns and operates the USA’s largest fleet of nuclear reactors, said that without the CES, its Ginna and Nine Mile Point NPPs would also have been at risk of closure. Now it expects to invest $400-500m in its upstate New York plants by spring.