- The town of Vernon, Vermont, former home to Entergy's now-closed Vermont Yankee nuclear facility, held a planning commission meeting last week to consider developing a 600 MW gas-fired plant on the site of the retired generator.
- The facility could cost more than $800 million to construct and may potentially be online by 2019, Investing.com reports, but that residents of Vermont would not be on the hook for development costs.
- Vermont Yankee, which accounted for 4% of New England's total electric generation and more than 70% in Vermont, stopped producing power in December 2014 in response to challenging market conditions.
A gas plant could be constructed on the site of the former Vermont Yankee nuclear facility, but so far, plans appear to be in the preliminary stages, according to Investing.com. A planning commission meeting in Vernon put the potential cost between $675 million and $825 million, with much of the discussion centered on the construction and operation jobs that would be created.
Asked about potential health impacts of burning fossil fuels at the plant, Planning Commission Chairman Robert Spencer said "we have not researched that." While community buy-in will be one of the next steps in development, the news outlet reports reaction appeared mixed.
Keeping the plant at the old Vermont Yankee facility would mean the potential to maintain the existing grid connection at the VELCO substation. And the plant would have access to Kinder Morgan's Northeast Direct Pipeline project, which will bring more natural gas to New England from Pennsylvania.
Questions of what would replace Vermont Yankee's output have lingered since the plant closed last year. Planning Commission member Martin Langeveld told Investing.com that "our understanding, and this is sort of anecdotal, is that the assumption in town has been that a gas-generated plant would be a possibility for that site and that the property should remain an industrial location and be ear marked for energy generation."
The closing of Entergy's 604 MW nuclear facility has left the region searching for power solutions. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has said the region has a range of options to replace that power, but additional generation would likely come in the form of coal or gas.
The four nuclear units now active in New England already operated at an average capacity factor of just over 90% in 2014, according to the EIA, based on data through October of last year.