What is happening to save Millstone nuclear power plant?
On December 28, 2018, Governor Dannel P. Malloy announced that the state of Connecticut selected a 10-year bid for power from the Millstone nuclear plant as a zero-carbon electricity-generating resource. This, along with other zero-carbon power, will make up 45% of the state’s electricity load.
What does this mean for Millstone’s future?
Operated by Dominion Energy, Millstone Power Station is Connecticut’s only nuclear power plant. In 2017, the plant announced that it was at risk of closure if it did not receive financial support. The plant generates nearly $1.5 billion annually and employs more than 1,000 employees. In November 2018, state regulators ruled that Millstone would be able to participate in state auctions as a carbon-free energy source; this would allow the plant to compete not only on electricity prices, but on factors such as economic development as well.
The December 28 announcement revealed the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) selected a 10-year bid for close to 50% of Millstone’s output. “We agreed with PURA that the Millstone nuclear facility is at risk of early retirement and created an evaluation framework that let us compare the costs of retaining the resource with the cost of replacing it over time with a variety of renewable resources,” Commissioner Robert Klee stated of the decision. “We believe ratepayers deserve, and can get, a more competitive price for Millstone’s output.”
Does the Millstone nuclear power plant need saving?
Competitors have argued that Millstone does not need state backing, and that it does not generate renewable energy resources like wind and solar energy do. Emily Lewis, a senior policy analyst at the Acadia Center, stated that “policymakers should not throw money at Millstone that could be used for renewables,” although she does agree that Millstone still plays an important role in the energy mix. “If and when the plant is retired, the power it generates should be replaced by offshore wind.”
After the first three years of the 10-year deal, Connecticut’s utilities are to once again negotiate a price that better reflects Dominion’s costs and risks of keeping the plant running. According to the December 28 press release, “the selected price for the first three years reflects Dominion’s submitted energy-only price. For the at-risk period of the bid, 2022 to 2029, Eversource and United Illuminating are directed to negotiated for a price that reflects the costs and risks Dominion faces. The negotiations are requested to conclude by March 31, 2019.”
Stay informed and save on your electricity with CT Energy Ratings!
This 10-year bid represents the first step in saving Millstone nuclear power plant from closure, and the next three years of the at-risk period are likely to determine what happens next, including how it affects the future prices of Connecticut’s energy. You can stay up to date and check out current electricity prices, however, by visiting https://www.ctenergyratings.com/electricity-rates to compare the choices and plans that are available right now.