Report: Connecticut nuclear support legislation would cost $300M a year
A group opposed to Connecticut nuclear legislation says a new report shows the bill that would provide financial support for the state’s sole nuclear power plant would cost consumers $300 million a year.
The report, performed by Energyzt Advisors and commissioned by the Electric Power Supply Association, says the Millstone nuclear plant has been “highly profitable” since it was acquired by Dominion Energy.
The report also says that the Millstone plant is not at risk of premature retirement and has committed to remain in operation for the next five years by bidding into a recent ISO-New England capacity market auction.
Connecticut legislators are making a second attempt to pass a bill that would offer financial relief to Dominion’s Millstone nuclear plant in Waterford. The legislation was recently voted out of committee and now goes before the Senate and the House.
It calls for the state to conduct a solicitation for nuclear power in the interest of keeping low-emission generation operating. The winner of the solicitation would be eligible for a five year power purchase agreement at rates that would have to be approved by state regulators.
The bill appears to have strong legislative backing, but some environmental and consumer advocates oppose it because it would either crowd out other forms of low emission generation or impose added costs on consumers.
Merchant generators in the New England region, including EPSA, a trade group for independent generators, oppose the legislation because they say it represents an out-of-market payment that would distort wholesale power markets.
The Energyzt report, done for EPSA, makes the case that supporting Millstone is unnecessary because, based on their analysis of public documents, the plant is profitable and the owners have indicated to ISO-New England that the plant will participate in an upcoming capacity auction, locking it in to generate until at least 2022.
Two other nuclear plants in New England have already retired or announced plans to retire, but Dominion has not made any public announcement that it is considering retirement.
“We are not different from them,” the plants that are retiring, said Dominion spokesman Ken Holt. “We don’t have a secret formula.”
Holt also took issue with the Energyzt report. “It is loaded with assumptions and claims about Millstone that have little or no data attached to them,” he said.
Holt noted that the report bases Millstone’s operating costs on Electric Power Research Institute numbers, but said that in fact Millstone is more expensive to run because its two units are not of the same design, so they cannot benefit from economies of scale.
Most of the EPRI numbers, he said, are from regulated plants in the Southeast where costs such as labor are cheaper.
Follow Peter Maloney on Twitter