Article

Nuclear, wind companies competing to sell Connecticut 'zero carbon' energy

Bids from companies offering to supply electricity to Connecticut without producing harmful carbon air pollution – including the Millstone nuclear plant and an ocean windfarm – are now under review by state energy officials.

Connecticut’s so-called “Zero Carbon” program required the bids to be in by Sept. 14 and the state “received more than 100 submissions” for solar, wind hydro and nuclear facilities, according to Chris Collibee, a Department of Energy and Environmental Protection spokesman.

The participation of Dominion Energy, owner of the Millstone plant, has been a major point of controversy. The plant’s owners hinted that they might be forced to close the nuclear facility unless they were given the opportunity to compete in the new program, which could pay them higher rates for the power they produce.

One wind-power company, Vineyard Wind LLC, is promoting its offer by publicizing a linked proposal to make a “multi-million-dollar investment” in improvements to Bridgeport harbor facilities — if its proposal is selected under the Zero Carbon program. Vineyard Wind is currently developing a major wind-turbine facility in the waters off Martha’s Vineyard.

“We are excited at... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Bids from companies offering to supply electricity to Connecticut without producing harmful carbon air pollution – including the Millstone nuclear plant and an ocean windfarm – are now under review by state energy officials.

Connecticut’s so-called “Zero Carbon” program required the bids to be in by Sept. 14 and the state “received more than 100 submissions” for solar, wind hydro and nuclear facilities, according to Chris Collibee, a Department of Energy and Environmental Protection spokesman.

The participation of Dominion Energy, owner of the Millstone plant, has been a major point of controversy. The plant’s owners hinted that they might be forced to close the nuclear facility unless they were given the opportunity to compete in the new program, which could pay them higher rates for the power they produce.

One wind-power company, Vineyard Wind LLC, is promoting its offer by publicizing a linked proposal to make a “multi-million-dollar investment” in improvements to Bridgeport harbor facilities — if its proposal is selected under the Zero Carbon program. Vineyard Wind is currently developing a major wind-turbine facility in the waters off Martha’s Vineyard.

“We are excited at the idea of creating more than 1,000 jobs and bringing billions in economic benefits to the state with this proposal,” Erich Stephens, chief development officer for Vineyard Wind, said in a prepared statement.

Stephens said his company’s plan for Bridgeport harbor improvements would involve both McAllister Towing, operator of the Port Jefferson-Bridgeport Ferry, and Bridgeport and Port Jefferson Steamboat Company.

“Vineyard Wind has committed, if selected [by state energy officials], to partner with two Bridgeport-based companies to support the development of the harbor-side facilities of these Connecticut companies for use in constructing the Vineyard Wind project,” according to a letter from Bridgeport’s legislative delegation to state energy officials.

Dominion Energy, the owner of the Millstone nuclear power facility in Waterford, is also one of the bidders, Collibee confirmed Monday. But he said details of all the proposals won’t be available until the state reviews all of the bids. State officials expect to make a decision by the end of 2018.

“All of our bids are very competitive and will be extremely beneficial to Connecticut’s electric customers,” Dominion spokesman Kenneth Holt said in a prepared statement. “If selected, any of our bids will help to preserve the 1,500 Connecticut jobs at Millstone.”

Connecticut’s legislature passed legislation last year that allowed Dominion to submit bids for the Zero Carbon program, but only after a prolonged debate over whether nuclear energy should be permitted to compete for higher-priced electricity contracts with renewable power sources like solar and wind.

Dominion officials argued that because nuclear plants don’t emit carbon into the atmosphere, their facility should be allowed to be part of the renewable energy market. The nuclear company warned that it might be forced to shut down Millstone because of competition from lower-cost natural gas-powered generating facilities, but declined to provide internal financial information.

Critics cited a preliminary state report that Dominion and Millstone are expected to remain “highly profitable” through 2035. State experts estimated that Millstone’s cash flow from 2021 through 2035 would be between $1.3 billion and $2.4 billion.

Officials of Virginia-based Dominion Energy Inc. have disputed those estimates but have refused requests to supply detailed financial information on its profitability.

In response to the legislation approved by the General Assembly in September 2017, state energy officials recommended in January that Dominion’s Millstone facility be allowed to sell its power in competition with wind and solar power operations.

But state officials also placed a condition on Millstone’s participation to ensure that “state ratepayers are protected from paying above-market costs” for the energy it produces.

In asking for Zero Carbon energy bids, state officials also reserved their right “to evaluate and select resources based on technology type.”

The earliest Dominion could close the Millstone facility without suffering massive financial penalties would be in 2022, according to state experts. ISO-New England, operator of this region’s power grid, has warned that closure of the 2,200-megawatt Millstone facility would require major new energy generation facilities to replace the nuclear plant.

Without replacement generating facilities, New England would face “rolling blackouts” to compensate for the loss of the nuclear plant, regional energy officials warned.


Source: http://www.courant.com/poli...

SEP 21 2018
http://www.windaction.org/posts/48851-nuclear-wind-companies-competing-to-sell-connecticut-zero-carbon-energy
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