In hindsight, it probably just sounds worse than it really was.
Last month, the Connecticut Siting Council (CSC) rejected Florida-based NTE Energy proposed natural gas-fired power plant in the town of Killingly.The $537 million Killingly Energy Center planned to to generate 550 megawatts of power and cut costs for Connecticut electricity.
The CSC ruled against the Killingly Energy Center saying it wasn’t necessary for the “reliability of the electric power supply of the state” or for a “competitive market for electricity.”
Many Killingly residents and some local legislators also opposed NTE Energy’s planned construction of the plant.
The rejection of the Killingly Energy Center resonates all the louder given the fracas over the fate of the Millstone nuclear power plant.
Last week on June 7, Connecticut’s legislature went their separate ways on what to do with the financially troubled plant. The State Senate resuscitated a plan to keep Millstone operating by having it compete in the same class as biomass and trash-to-energy plants. The House, meanwhile, declined to vote on the bill and let it expire at midnight.
To be sure, the plan to keep Millstone afloat hasn’t been a voter favorite. According to a poll by the Connecticut Petroleum Council most (76%) consumers looking for the best electricity price in Connecticutdo not want to pay more for electricity from Millstone.
Adding to the confusion is that policy makers are in the dark for guidance because they have not yet updated the state’s Comprehensive Energy Strategy.
Millstone’s own future and what becomes of it’s 2,088 megawatt capacity are both in limbo. The plant joins other aging nuclear power plants that were built for monopoly utilities of the 1970s and not the competitive markets of today where growth is slower. While these nuclear plants still produce huge amounts of carbon-free energy, they can’t compete in pricing against the operationally agile and cheaper natural gas plants. In the past four years, five nuclear plants have closed down, retiring about 5,000 MW of capacity. In most of those case, generation by natural gas and coal made up for that reduced output. All told, six nuclear plants are scheduled to retire within the next nine years.
All of which invites one to pause in the shadow of the still cooling towers and ponder, “Watt’s next, Connecticut?”