The Connecticut House of Representatives on Wednesday voted 75-66 in a favor of a bill that would provide economic relief for Dominion Energy’s Millstone nuclear plant in Waterford.
The bill would permit, but not require, the state to change its energy rules to allow Dominion to sell up to 75% of Millstone’s output in a competitive solicitation with other generation resources that do not emit carbon dioxide.
The rule changes will depend on whether or not a market study already underway finds that it is in the public interest to allow Millstone to participate in the clean energy solicitation. The study is due to be finished in February.
Various bills to bail out Millstone have been proposed over the past two years, but Democrats in Connecticut’s house have killed them all until now.
The current bill passed the Senate in September, but House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz (D) would not schedule a vote until the state’s budget was passed.
Millstone is Connecticut’s only nuclear plant and produces nearly all of the state’s zero-carbon energy. If Millstone were to close, it could jeopardize the state’s emission reduction targets and result in the loss of 1,500 jobs.
Dominion has said the plant needs the financial support to remain profitable, but the company has refused to open its books, saying that it fears those records could eventually be made public through a Freedom of Information Act request.
Critics have opposed the bill, calling it an unneeded bailout and citing an MIT working paper that listed Millstone as one of the most profitable nuclear plants in the country.
“On behalf of the 1,500 women and men working at Millstone power station, Dominion Energy thanks the General Assembly for giving Millstone an opportunity to participate in a clean-energy procurement process if state regulators determine our bid benefits customers,” Thomas Farrell, the chairman and CEO of Dominion, said in a statement.