Yikes! MORE Seabrook power in VT?

Do you want more electricity from nuclear power in Vermont? We were all mighty disappointed when Green Mountain Power (GMP) turned to Seabrook after Entergy mucked up its power purchase negotiations. The current deal provides 60 MW until 2034.  Now GMP says 150 MW more is needed to “meet a portion of a large expected power supply gap.” GMP is (very quietly) asking the Public Service Board for a Certificate of Public Good.

Statewide hearings will be held Monday March 23 at 7:00pm via satellite TV. A link to GMP’s petition and the list of public hearing sites is here — they include Room 125 at Brattleboro Union High School; VT Dept. of Labor (5 Green Mountain Drive) in Montpelier;  and at CCV (145 Billings Farm Road) in White River Junction.

GMP lists as benefits price stability and “relatively reliable baseload energy that produces no direct air emissions.”  It also claims because the price is “lower than other sources of capacity available in the market today and lower than newly constructed generating capacity, it meaningfully reduces the exposure of GMP customers to volatile electricity market prices, and it is consistent with the 2011 Comprehensive Energy Plan’s least cost planning requirements. ”

GMP currently gets 10% of its power from Seabrook and Millstone 3. (It owns a 1.7% share in Millstone, a nuke in Connecticut, from which it gets 21.5MW). There was no plan to buy more nuclear in GMP’s. 2014 Innovative Resource Management Plan.  From Supply of Energy, p 3-27:

GMP does not rule out purchasing energy from nuclear plants in the future. However, no new nuclear development is taking place in New England, and hydroelectricity can provide the same low emissions and price stability that nuclear sources are well-suited to provide, while also increasing GMP’s reliance on renewable energy. For these reasons, nuclear is not modeled as a potential resource in the Resource Plan chapter.

What changed? Here’s some speculation on my part:

GazMetro of Montreal owns GMP . GazMetro owns Vermont Gas. Vermont Gas is in deep trouble. International Paper withdrew from Phase 2 of a proposed gas pipeline that would have fueled the giant paper mill by piping gas under Lake Champlain. Vermont Gas then cancelled Phase 2, and Phase 1 is therefore a huge financial mess.

GMP’s home page claims it  “is a local electricity utility in the state of Vermont focused on providing its customers with a balance of the most reliable, affordable, smart, and clean electricity, in an effort to be the best small utility in America.”  But the truth is that like VT Yankee, it is owned by a huge corporation who’s only concern for Vermont is its own bottom line.

Leslie Sullivan Sachs

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