Entergy plans to shut down Vermont Yankee

Vermont Yankee, photo from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Vermont Yankee, photo from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission

Entergy Corp. announced on Tuesday that it plans to close and decommission the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant in Vernon for purely financial reasons.

Entergy executives plan to shut down the plant in the fourth quarter of 2014, which is the end of the current operational cycle when the facility would next be scheduled for refueling.

Vermont Yankee is the only nuclear plant that Entergy is currently planning to close.

“This was an agonizing decision and an extremely tough call for us,” said Leo Denault, Entergy’s chairman and chief executive officer. “Vermont Yankee has an immensely talented, dedicated and loyal workforce, and a solid base of support among many in the community. We recognize that closing the plant on this schedule was not the outcome they had hoped for, but we have reluctantly concluded that it is the appropriate action for us to take under the circumstances.”

The company cited three reasons for shutting down the plant:

• The rapid proliferation and low prices of natural gas are negatively affecting the nuclear energy market.

• The cost of maintaining the 41-year-old plant is particularly high. Entergy says it has invested more than $400 million in the plant since 2002.

• Vermont Yankee is a merchant generator selling power on the open market, and executives say the New England wholesale market is flawed, resulting “in artificially low energy and capacity prices in the region.”

Entergy’s decision to close the plant comes less than a month after Entergy announced it was laying off 800 workers nationwide and cutting 30 jobs at Vermont Yankee. The reductions were a direct result of Entergy shares dropping more than 50 perent from the second quarter of 2012 to the second quarter of 2013.

Earlier this year, the fair market value of the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant fell 69 percent, from $517.5 million to $162 million. UBS Securities downgraded Entergy Corp.’s stock from “neutral” to “sell.” The Swiss financial services firm also projected the closure of an Entergy nuclear facility in 2013, saying “Vermont Yankee is the most the most tenuously positioned plant.”

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2011 granted Vermont Yankee a new federal license to operate the plant for another 20 years. The company was in the process of applying for a state permit to operate for another two decades, but Entergy spokesman Jim Steets says the company will alter its application with Vermont Public Service Board. Entergy, he said, will request to operate until the end of 2014.

This news follows on the heels of a U.S. Court of Appeals decision that barred the Vermont Legislature from shutting down the plant.

Vermont Yankee, which has a Mark 1 General Electric boiling water reactor, began operating on Nov. 30, 1972. The facility has had physical plant problems over the last nine years, including the collapse of a cooling tower, a transmission fire and tritium leaks from underground pipes. Anti-nuclear activists and environmentalists say these kinds of problems are the result of the age of the plant, which they say presents a safety risk to the public.

The company plans to use the “SAFSTOR” method of decommissioning the plant rather than “DECON.” A previous decommissioning report for the plant showed that the DECON method would be cheaper and quicker and the SAFSTOR method takes as long as 60 years. There are, however, variations to both of these decommissioning avenues.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission will oversee the decommissioning process. The plant would continue to be under tight security and radiation levels would be monitored during decommissioning.

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Comments

  1. Cedar Hannan :

    Fantastic news.

    • Robert,

      Vermont Yankee energy production is about 620 MW x 8760 hr/yr x Capacity Factor 0.92 = 4,888,000 MWh/yr of low-cost, near-CO2-free, steady, 24/7/365, energy, i.e., high quality energy. Vermont’s total consumption is about 5,600,000 MWh/yr

      Until the end of 2013, Lowell Mountain production will be about 63 x 8760 x 0.189 = 104,305 MWh.yr

      After the $10.5 million S-C system is on line to clean up the low quality energy so it can be fed into the NEK high voltage transmission grid, the CF MAY become 0.25 and the production MAY increase to 137,970 MWh/yr, less about 3% for S-C system losses = 133,831 MWh/yr. That 0.25 CF is about the same as of nearby Maine ridge line plants. New York State has a CF of 0.235!!!

      GMP had claimed in documents filed with the PSB:

      Standard rotor (90 m dia) = 63 x 8760 x 0.2842 = 156,844 MWh/yr, GMP CF claim.
      GMP and DPS SPEED website = 63 x 8760 x 0.338 = 186,570 MWh/yr 
      Large rotor (117 m dia) = 63 x 8760 x 0.3587 = 197,959 MWh/yr, GMP CF claim. 

      It would take 36 Lowell Mountain fiascos, each about $160 million, about 36 mountain tops, about 144 miles of ridge line, to produce the same, but low quality energy, as Vermont Yankee, and it would take many years before the NE grid could be upgraded/augmented to transmit the energy from remote wind turbine plants to where it would be consumed.

      Regarding CO2

      Less rich developed nations, many with high unemployment rates, budget deficits, and many social problems, such as the UK, are not about to significantly increase investments in RE that produce low quality energy at 2-4 times grid prices, making their economies even less competitive relative to Germany and relative to developing nations.
       
      They will not be following Germany any time soon. On top of that, no matter what Germany does regarding CO2, it will not make one bit of difference regarding GW.
       
      The mostly-poor, underdeveloped nations, with most-rapidly-growing CO2 emissions, such as China and India, will continue to rationalize their grossly inadequate efforts to reduce CO2 for many years. Most are too poor to do anything meaningful regarding GW. 
       
      The very slow energy source transition from fossil energy to RE means CO2 emissions will continue to increase for at least a century, and the world will continue to get warmer during that time. Sea leavels are rising about 3.16 mm/yr and at that rate will rise about 316 mm in 100 years.
       
      Germany MAY get to its RE goals first, but not by 2050, and others will lag far behind, even after 100 years. In fact, due to a long time constant, the warming we see to-day, is due to the CO2 concentration, ppm, in the atmosphere of about 20-30 years ago.
       
      http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/151031/global-warming-targets-and-capital-costs-germany-s-energiewende

      • Dave Stevens :

        Hey Willem
        Yeah its near Co2 free, but how long does it take the waste to break down? Cheap nuclear energy comes at a price. And although an accident is unlikely to occur, you would be hard pressed to completely rule it out.

        • Walter Carpenter :

          “And although an accident is unlikely to occur, you would be hard pressed to completely rule it out.”

          How many close calls has yankee had in the past? Meltdowns, etc? It is about time this plant was retired before it does cause an accident or a major catastrophe.

          • keith stern :

            Time to cover the building with solar panels and wind turbines so we don’t end up losing any electricity output. Then the liberals will really have a win-win situation.

      • Bob Stannard :

        Wilem, Ya know it’s wonderful that you come out with all these numbers, equations and formulas that seemed to be designed to make you look very smart, but you lose people when in your first sentence when you refer to VY’s power as “low-cost”.

        If it had been low-cost then our utilities would have bought it. If it had been low-cost then they wouldn’t be closing the plant for economic reasons.

        The fact is that their power was just the opposite; it was HIGH-COST and that’s why they are closing. Once I read your low-cost statement, for the millionth time I might add, then all your lofty numbers, formulas, etc., have no credibility.

        I look forward to the day that you understand this.

        • Bob,
          As you know, everything is relative.

          Regarding the accuracy of my numbers, just contact the DPS for verification. If they are not credible, I think the DPS would have refuted them directly, or used surrogates to do so indirectly.

          VY, a plant with a single small reactor, less economic than having two reactors, is producing energy at about 5.5 c/kWh, but grid prices are even less; “artificially low” according to Entergy, “because of a dysfunctional NE energy market.” I would like to see Entergy management explain their statement.

          Lowell’s PRODUCTION cost is at least 15 c/kWh, because of the much lower 0.25 capacity factor (0.189 in first 6 months of 2013), i.e., less production, MWh/yr, less RECs sold to out-of-state entities, more future costs to be loaded onto already-struggling households and businesses, via rate schedules; you may verify that with David Hallquist, CEO of VEC.

          After the $10.5 million S-C system is on line to clean up the low quality wind energy so it can be fed into the NEK high voltage transmission grid, the CF MAY become 0.25 and the production MAY increase to 137,970 MWh/yr, less about 3% for S-C system losses = 133,831 MWh/yr. That 0.25 CF is about the same as of nearby Maine ridge line plants. New York State has a CF of 0.235!!!

          GMP had claimed in documents filed with the PSB; these claims turned out not worth the paper they were written on:

          Standard rotor (90 m dia) = 63 x 8760 x 0.2842 = 156,844 MWh/yr, GMP CF claim.
          GMP and DPS SPEED website = 63 x 8760 x 0.338 = 186,570 MWh/yr 
          Large rotor (117 m dia) = 63 x 8760 x 0.3587 = 197,959 MWh/yr, GMP CF claim. 

          http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/61309/lowell-mountain-wind-turbine-facility-vermont

          Vermont’s RE SPEED program is even worse, cost-wise, than Lowell, based on production numbers on the DPS website.

          2010, for six months: 13.87 c/kWh.
          2011: 16.44 cents/kWh.
          2012: 17.16 cents/kWh.
          2013, for five months: 18.53 cents/kWh.

          Note the RISING cost/kWh. Various RE promoters have been saying RE costs/kWh would be DECLINING; are they just making it up to befuddle lay people?

          For the 2010 – 2017 period, a cumulative $131,220,058 excess above grid prices will have been rolled into electric rates of already-struggling households and businesses. 

          http://vermontspeed.com/speed-monthly-production/
          http://vermontspeed.squarespace.com/project-status/

        • Bob Stannard :

          Wilem, notwithstanding the fact that I’m now retired, I still don’t have the time to run down all of your numbers. They may or may not be accurate; or accurately portrayed.

          Again, my point is that you begin your diatribe with the statement that VY had affordable power, which it did not. That’s why they’re closing, Wilem. Nobody’s buying their product. You do get that, right?

          So you can toss out all the rate numbers and formulas that you want and try to convince us that VY is clean and a good deal for Vermont, but it is neither. It doesn’t matter how many numbers you use in an attempt to justify your initial false statement. Your false statement is still false.

    • Cheryl Pariseau :

      Robert – Sarcasm I hope at least regarding the mountain tops

      • Peter Liston :

        Yea. The natural gas boon and the cost of maintaining the oldest nuclear plant in the country are Shumlin’s fault. Obama’s too. Likely Hillary is in there too.

    • Jim Christiansen :

      Yeah, great news. Now we can replace those 600 hundred full-time jobs with good benefits with 1200 part-time jobs and public assistance.

      My condolences to the workers and their families who have been the pawns in our Governors little game of legal chicken.

      Welcome to 50+ years of Safe-stor Vermont.

      There are no winners here.

      • Jim,
        It is much worse.

        The 630 people and their families WERE paying taxes, likely will need government support, and will likely have lower-paying jobs with less benefits, just as about 90% of other jobholders in Vermont.

        They WERE spending money in the area which helps businesses employ people, make profits and pay taxes, who, in turn, spend money, for a total multiplier effect of about 3 (per Economics 101), i.e., at least an additional 1500 jobholders AND their families will be have to find other jobs, also likely at lower pay and less benefits.

        That area will be a depressed area for many years, just as Windsor became depressed when plants closed, unless Stenger and his freebie capital cost, EB-5 programs come to the rescue.

    • Dan Carver :

      ..unless you are a current employee who is realizing they must either relocate to afford a comparable lifestyle, or prepare to find local work at a lower pay rate…

  2. jordan brener :

    I fear Robert Rich is right; he’s dampened my elation. It’s good PR for the fracksters.

  3. Pete Novick :

    Well, I guess the Vermont PSB is off the hook now!

    Nice work guys! Have a great Labor Day Weekend – you earned it!

  4. Michael Gardner :

    630 high paying jobs down the crapper. Maybe they will be replaced with organic goat cheese making jobs?

  5. Bob Stannard :

    So much for Entergy’s concern for those loyal & dedicated workers.

    • Peter Liston :

      Oh, don’t worry, Bob. Entergy’s CEO will still get his $15 million every year.

  6. keith stern :

    Shumlin will count it as a win come re-election time. Now we can cover fields with solar collectors and have clean, very expensive electricity. Big win.

  7. Wendy Raven :

    I AM THRILLED WITH THIS NEWS! Now, is Entergy going to take care of it’s employees so they can find new jobs? Something that should have begun before 2012…..I hope those loyal employees remember to ask that question of their employer, rather than blaming the state of Vermont or the people who have worked so tirelessly to see that this aging and dangerous plant is shut down. Entergy knew a long time ago they had to shut….and should have had a plan in place for these employees long before now.

    • David Dempsey :

      Are you asking if Entergy has a plan in place, or are you saying they don’t?

  8. victor ialeggio :

    What is the state of the decommissioning fund at this point? Empty bag?

    • John Greenberg :

      “As of July 31, 2013, the market value of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station’s decommissioning trust fund accounts was $581,510,622.” Aaron Kisicki, Special Counsel, Vermont Public Service Department

  9. Moshe Braner :

    The so-called SAFESTOR approach is to underfund the decommissioning fund, then mothball the plant for 60 years (with, mind you, several times the amount of “spent fuel” sitting in the attic pool than there is at Fukushima which is of the same design), while the fund magically grows into the amount needed to actually do the decommissioning work. Ain’t gonna work. Ask any pension fund manager. Money doesn’t “grow” any more, since the economy doesn’t “grow” any more, since we’ve used up all the cheap oil. And Entergy itself will be long gone by then (if they even last the decade). The task of the state now should be: secure more decommissioning funds while we can. We’ll have to pay the rest of it out of pocket – if we’re lucky. Otherwise the SE corner of the state will glow forever.

  10. Mark Roberts :

    Yankee is old and should be closed, however, we need alternatives that don’t rape the countryside and further throw low income Vermonters under the bus.

    Perhaps a brand new, state owned nuclear power plant managed with open books and overseen by a rate setting board that is not in collusion with the producers. France does it and look how green they are…

    And hopefully more local wind and solar. Make it more possible for homeowners and businesses to install solar and wind power for their buildings on-site rather than on top of our mountains.

    Putting wind towers on our ridge-lines is like shaving your head and putting on a statue of liberty crown. It might seem necessary but it’s hardly pretty and it does little good.

    • Moshe Braner :

      Love your “crown” analogy…

      As for alternatives, the main one is to USE LESS ENERGY. It’s the safest and cheapest. This means many things, some easy, some not so easy – for example:

      * Turn off lights when leaving a room. This makes a HUGE difference and costs nothing.

      * Replace incandescent bulbs with CFLs or LEDs.

      * Insulate, weatherize, and insulate some more.

      * Turn down the thermostat (or up, in the summer). Wear a sweater in the winter. A T-shirt in the summer.

      * Dry your clothes on a line. Yes, do the laundry when the weather is right for that. And use a high-efficiency front-loading washing machine.

      * Replace electric space or baseboard heaters with heat pumps – 3 times more efficient.

      * Use a smaller car. Drive it fewer miles: combine trips, carry passengers, walk and bike for short trips, etc.

      • keith stern :

        Very easy but too many won’t care about wasting energy. That would make a huge difference tough for sure.

        • alice barnham :

          Higher rates will improve the outlook of those who waste simply because there are a myriad of ways to change and necessity will facilitate those changes. Actually when one gets used to doing things differently, there is a real excitement about it. We are intelligent enough to figure it out eventually. One exciting change I have made is the modern equivalent of carrying a torch wherever I go, kinda like Miss Liberty. My torch is somewhat like hers…it’s a solar rechargeable Dewalt fluorescent light and gives ample light to do most anything. I carry it room to room and I always know where it is when the grid goes down. Reducing the dangers of “high quality” power is everyone’s job. Stop moaning and start thinking. How about generating your own power right on site and reduce the wasteful cost of transmission. Can’t be done you say. Hogwash. Cogeneration is a very successful concept and there is plenty of money to do it. How about low voltage direct current refrigerators, clothes washers, water pumps, etc. Get a life and stop moaning.

  11. Lee Stirling :

    Unfortunately, with Entergy’s eye on SAFSTORing VT Yankee, access by the State to the valuable transmission infrastructure connected to the plant looks like a long shot for the foreseeable future. How much longer will Entergy as a company exist? Will they be around to dismantle the site within the 60 year timeframe? Sure, there won’t need to be any more appeals by Sorrell but I bet VT will get screwed in the long run by having to foot the bill for site dismantling. Entergy wants to draw that out in another way to save a buck and flip VT “the bird”.

  12. Mike Kerin :

    The good news is it’s closing, the bad news is NOT soon enough.
    They have to fund the decommissioning fund and it hasn’t got near enough money to do it right.

  13. Peter Everett :

    Maybe the state could convert the plant into a B & B. No need to provide lighting to the plant. It probably already glows in the dark.
    This way those let go will have a great Vermont created, low pay, no benefits tourist job. Just what those in power want. No need for good paying jobs in VT. Let the other 49 states have the problems that go along with them.
    Again, we’re continuing our trek to beating out Wyoming as the LEAST populated state in the nation.

  14. Joseph Brown :

    Projecting forward; with all that spent fuel stored at Vernon and no viable option for dealing with it in a timely fashion, Vermont citizens could be looking at many decades with the problem.

    • alice barnham :

      One interesting note…there is a way to use the spent fuel.

  15. Robert,

    It would be irrational to waste scarce capital and other resources, and to do additional environmental damage to build 459-ft tall, wind turbine plants on sensitive, pristine ridge lines, a la Lowell Mountain, that have high capital costs (compared to east of Chicago), high operation and maintenance costs (compared to east of Chicago), low capacity factors (about 0.25 vs 0.38-0.40 east of Chicago), to produce property-value-lowering; quality-of-life-lowering; health-damaging; variable, intermittent wind energy, i.e., grid-destabilizing junk energy, at about 3-4 times NE grid prices.

    Here are two very low cost alternatives to Vermont Yankee.

    1) Natural Gas

    Use abundant, domestic, low-CO2-emitting, no-particulate-emitting, low-cost (3.5-4.0 $/million Btu) natural gas as fuel for 60% efficient CCGTs (less than half the CO2 of coal/kWh), at about $1,500/kW, for the next 5-10 decades.

    They could be located near Vermont Yankee and use the same, or augmented, transmission systems, and take over the role of Vermont Yankee in 2032, the year its NRC license expires, or sooner.

    2) Hydro-Quebec:

    Buy additional renewable hydro energy (CO2-free) from Hydro-Quebec, under long-term contacts at about 6 c/kWh, tied to NE grid prices, for at least the next 10 decades. The environmental damage to build the HQ hydro plants has already occurred. Vermont’s utilities already are buying energy from HQ under long-term contracts.

    • I would like to add the following to my 5:51 PM comment:

      The CCGT plant, which could consist of two 310 MW units, would take up about 10-15 acres of the Vermont Yankee site.

      Connecticut, New Hampshire and Massachusetts each have a number of CCGT plants.

      The existing switchyard and part of the existing the cooling towers could be used, as the CCGT plants, much more efficient than Vermont Yankee, would be rejecting much less heat than Vermont Yankee.

      The Connecticut River would no longer be needed for heat rejection.

      Gas piping would need to be extended to the site.

      The existing transmission infrastructure would be more than adequate to serve the new CCGT plant.

      The capital cost would be about $900 million, much less than any other source of energy.

      The energy would be about 5-6 c/kWh, similar to NE grid prices.

      The plant would have a useful service life of at least 40 years.

      The plant would employ about 100-150 people 24/7/365.

      NOTE: Entergy management thinks US natural gas prices will remain low, and that natural gas will have an increasing market share in the US, making small nuclear plants, such as VY, not profitable in the future.

      • Moshe Braner :

        That’s what they think, but they may be wrong. The current price of natural gas (NG) is about a half of the cost of extracting it from the ground using “fracking” – the CEO of Exxon has said this year that they are “losing their shirts” on it. Drilling for NG has declined accordingly, the existing wells’ output declines 90% in two years, and the whole financial bubble that fracking for NG has been based on is in the process of popping. Expect NG supply to peak within this decade, and then prices will skyrocket. The price of power from HQ will rise accordingly too, since we’re now getting contracts based on the “market price”, not a fixed price.

        This of course also has implications to the Addison County NG pipeline controversy.

        For more info on this issue look for the new book by Richard Hineberg, called “Snake Oil”.

        • Moshe,

          Below are the EIA projections for gas prices to about 2035.

          http://www.ogj.com/articles/2012/01/eia-projects-strong-crude-oil-natural-gas-production-through-2035.html

          Utilities buy almost all of their gas under long-term contracts, usually adjusted for NE grid prices with dampers to minimize fluctuations.

          The prices quoted in the papers are SPOT prices; they fluctuate up and down, for example, with the weather, etc. Utilities buy very little gas on the spot market.

          Using gas in 60% efficient CCGTs means 3413/0.6 = 5688 Btu/kWh costing about 2.275 c/kWh, if gas is at $4/million Btu.

          Even if gas were to increase to $6/million Btu by 2025 or 2035, the gas cost would be about 3.41 c/kWh.

          Gas will be competitive will goal for some decades, which means coal’s share of energy production (about 2.2 lb of CO2/kWh) will continue to decline and gas’ share of production ( less than 1 lb of CO2/kWh and NO HEALTH-DAMAGING PARTICULATES) will continue to increase.

  16. Pete Novick :

    Too bad…..because, back in the day, we had the perfect solution for all that spent fuel: just check it with Eastern Airlines.

  17. Walter Carpenter :

    IBM was going on their own, with or without the state’s help. We could have shoved millions their way to keep them here, but they would be going anyway.

  18. keith stern :

    It’s just a shame that the DOE that was started in the 70′s is as useless as the majority of government agencies including the department of education.
    Natural gas has the supplies to provide the US with cleaner, stable, more affordable energy for many decades until we move beyond fossil fuels. The key is to make sure the price stays stable enough where there is no risk of losses so wells can continue to be drilled and more uses for it are developed along with a better transport system.

  19. Bob Stannard,

    I am also retired, already for 23 years. I make time to chase down the numbers from sites, such as the DPS, PSB, and many others.

    “Nobody’s buying their product. You do get that, right? ”

    As you know, Vermont Yankee IS operating near capacity, AND feeding its energy into the NE high voltage transmission grid.

    ALL NE utilities are taking energy from the grid, including nuclear energy, because once energy is on the NE grid, one cannot tell one electromagnetic wave from another.

    NE utilities ARE buying VY energy, may be not under long term contracts, but on the SPOT market.

    It is sooooooooo much less costly and sooooo much less of a hassle for utilities, than buying Lowell wind energy or SPEED energy; just ask David Hallquist.

    As I stated above, Entergy said, the NE spot market prices in New England are so low, it has to sell VY energy at cost, or below cost.

    No business, can operate for some years without a profit, i.e., come end 2014, VY stops feeding its low-cost, near-CO2-free, steady, 24/7/365, energy into the NE grid.

    • John Greenberg :

      Willem:

      It’s hard to believe you’re actually missing Bob’s point, but clearly, you are. As you said yourself above, “everything is relative.”

      Bob’s point is remarkably easy to understand: if VY’s power were “low cost” relative to the market in which it sells its power, Entergy would have no need to close the plant. The fact is that relative to the market, VY’s output is HIGH cost, and that’s why it’s closing.

      Specifically, in the 15 full months since March, 2012, when VY was slated to shut down, ISO-NE markets have averaged a bit below 3.8 cents per kilowatt, versus VY’s 4-5 cents. (VY’s actual cost figures have not been publicly available since Entergy took over the plant, but based on statements made by Entergy management during shareholder calls and other publicly available information, my estimate, for what it’s worth, is that their cost (including capital costs) is somewhere around 4.5 cents.)

      It’s also important to acknowledge that power companies do not make decisions based on short-term market snapshots. In this case, for a variety of reasons, VY’s costs were likely to climb substantially over time, while most market analysts expect little change in grid prices for the next 5-10 years or so. Apparently, after years of denial, Entergy is finally acknowledging that their market forecasts have been wrong.

      Finally, thanks to Price-Anderson insurance, Entergy officials did not need to assess any of the substantial risks associated with nuclear generation which Fukushima made visible for all to see, just as, for the moment at least, natural gas producers do not need to factor in carbon costs or the environmental damage done by fracking.

      But making simple cost calculations like those you constantly provide presents a skewed picture of the real costs of making and consuming electricity. Since those of us engaged in this debate are mostly concerned with the public policy implications of power production and consumption – and not the details of financial management of the power business – it’s important to keep ALL of the actual costs in mind and on the table in these discussions.

      • Bob Stannard :

        Thank you John. Well said. Let’s hope it’s understood.

        • Willem Post :

          John, Bob,
          It is true VY’s energy costs are higher than annual average SPOT prices, but these are spot prices resulting from a flawed market that allows below cost and even negative bidding. Meredith has a write up about it on her website Yes Vermont Yankee.

          For example, if the wind blows at night, a wind turbine owner can offer his wind energy at low prices, because he gets the production tax credit of 2.3 c/kWh and the RECs, currently worth about 5.5 c/kWh. VY does not get such subsidies.

    • Bob Stannard :

      Thank you for proving my point, Wilem. Their power is not a good deal. If it was a good deal then they’d be selling their power. If they could continue to sell their power at a profit then they wouldn’t be closing the plant. They are closing the plant, because they can no longer compete; thus their power is no longer cheap.

      Again I would ask, “you do get this, right?”

      • Willem Post :

        Bob,
        See my above Sep 1, 11:24 pm comment.

        • Bob Stannard :

          I saw it. You can say what you will, Wilem, but the plain and simple fact of the matter is that Entergy’s cost for power, in conjunction with the repairs and upgrades they were going to have to make, made the financially unviable.

          You can espouse your seemingly unlimited knowledge trying to convince me, and others, that this is not true, but you’ve not done a very good job of convincing Entergy, because THEY ARE CLOSING THEIR PLANT.

          Sorry I had to shout there, my friend, but you appear to be missing this rather crucial point. The plant is not profitable. It has been profitable for quite some time. Referring to Meredith Angwin’s website does not make the plant more profitable. Complaining about wind does not make the plant more profitable. Using (and/or abusing) numbers to make your point does not make the plant profitable.

          Entergy, not Vermont, is closing its plant because it’s not profitable. Feel free to reply to this so that I can have the opportunity to (re)explain to you that Entergy is closing its plant, because it is not profitable.

          • Bob,

            Here are Entergy’s 3 main reasons for closing the plant.

            The company cited three reasons for shutting down the plant:

            • The rapid proliferation and low prices of natural gas are negatively affecting the nuclear energy market.

            • The cost of maintaining the 41-year-old plant is particularly high. Entergy says it has invested more than $400 million in the plant since 2002.

            • Vermont Yankee is a merchant generator selling power on the open market, and executives say the New England wholesale market is flawed, resulting “in artificially low energy and capacity prices in the region.”

            As a result of the above 3 reasons, Entergy is closing the plant.

            Had it been profitable under these adverse conditions, it would not have closed the plant until 2032.

            Regarding Item 3, Meredith, I and others have known ISO-NE spot market rules cause low spot market prices not reflecting energy generating costs.

            New Hampshire Public Service has also been complaining about in a Valley News article to-day.

            If enough NE utilities complain, ISO-NE rules will be changed in due time.

          • Bob Stannard :

            And Wilem, you (and presumably Meredith) would take them at their word?

            Have your collective, inquisitive minds taken into consideration why it might be that many other sources of power are able to compete in this skewed marketplace?

            Using this logic, Wilem, all power producers would be bowing out of the market; not just VY.

  20. Anne,
    My comment to Bob Stannard’s comment (Bob Stannard August 29, 2013 at 11:06 am) disappeared.
    Please resurrect it.
    Willem

  21. Ann,
    I would like to add the following to my 10:50 PM comment

    Here is an article in Forbes with information from a science professor at UVM.

    Basically, it mentions the same ponts I have been making in my articles and comments on VTDigger.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2013/09/01/who-told-vermont-to-be-stupid/

    • Bob Stannard :

      Wilem, I don’t know you other than your writings here at VT Digger, but I would say this. That you are siting this article in Forbes as an article to back up what you’ve been saying then you’re a sorrier case then I have imagined you to be. You might go read that column and then read my comments back to Mr. Conca.

      In my humble opinion, this man may be one of the biggest frauds of all time. There is very little in his column that is accurate. He says he’s a scientist yet reading his bio you get the sense that perhaps he was more of an administrator. Either way, his column has little, if anything, to do with science.

      Here’s what it tells me about you. For some time now I’ve read your stuff where you constantly site other sources in an attempt to lend credibility to your point(s). If you are counting on articles such as this bogus piece written by Mr. Conca then people like me are left with no doubt that you’re in the same league; i.e. more than willing to spread misinformation out in hopes that others will believe you.

      You lost me a long time ago, but referencing this ridiculous article really seals the deal as far as I’m concerned. It will be impossible for me to take anything you say seriously.

      • Hello Bob Stannard, my name is Willem Post.

        Below are some URLs for FYI.

        http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2013/09/01/who-told-vermont-to-be-stupid/#sthash.hZnguYx4.dpuf

        This article you claim to have read, but do not agree with. Independent energy systems analysts (with decades of experience, retired, financially secure, who can call a spade a spade, and do) would agree with James Conda.

        Vermont’s Democrat leadership has been not just stupid, but irrational, as with Vermont’s 2013 Comprehensive Energy Plan, which has a goal for POOR Vermont to obtain 90% of ALL energy (not just electrical energy) from in-state and out-of-state RE by 2050; a more extreme goal, as ALL energy is about 3 times electrical energy, than RICH Germany’s goal of just 80% of all its ELECTRICAL energy from RE by 2050.

        That means POOR Vermont’s mostly energy-sieve buildings would have geothermal heating, or electric heating (from the utility or from solar), vehicles would be 100% electric (no hybrids), and almost all electricity would be from RE, which POOR Vermont’s RE promoters want to be from IN-STATE renewables as much as possible at 3-4 times NE grid prices, instead of from out-of-state Hydro Quebec about 6 c/kWh.

        http://www.forbes.com/sites/energysource/2012/12/26/how-the-price-for-power-gets-set/

        This article is of great interest, because it shows exactly how prices are determined on the spot market. You should really study this, as it has some good non-political information about spot market procedures. You will be better able to understand the dysfunction VY has been referring to. It certainly gave ME a better understanding.

        http://www.nei.org/News-Media/Media-Room/News-Releases/Vermont-Yankee-Closing-Shows-Market-Flaws

        This article also refers to ISO-NE spot market flaws.

        http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/article/20121025/BUSINESS08/310250017/How-We-re-Doing-Electricity-prices-in-Vt-among-nation-s-highest-Art-Woolf

        This article is by a UVM PhD professor of economics. He makes the same points I have been making in my articles and comments on VTDigger.

        Peter,

        Thank you for having the good sense to agree with James Conda.

        Please also read the second Forbes article

        • Bob Stannard :

          Yes, Wilem, I stand corrected. VY shut down for political reasons. It was the Democrats and activists who shut it down. The plant’s closing had nothing to do with the fact that their power offer was not attractive. It was attractive and those utilities should have done more due diligence and come to the same conclusion that you’ve come to, which is that VY’s power is, indeed, cheap and a good deal for Vermont as compared to the inferior deal the utilities did with HQ and Seabrook.

          I’m sorry I ever doubted you. You’re brilliant and you’ve got it right. And Mr. Conca also has his finger on the pulse of Vermont politics and his assertions are also right on the mark.

          There, no we’re in agreement. Let’s call it a day.

  22. Willem, thanks for the reference to Dr. Conca’s article on Vermont Yankee, everyone should read it.

    I noticed that Bob Standard didn’t like the piece, which isn’t surprising. Maybe one of the paragraphs in the article causing trouble for Mr. Standard was:

    “You know, folks, I understand nasty politics, but there is only one reason for being ignorant. Not doing your homework. I’m a scientist and even I don’t like to do homework. But you need to do your homework.

    Emphasis in this paragraph should be placed on: “Not doing your homework.”, like in our “Ready, Aim, Fire” Governor’s actions in the Vermont Yankee and too many other matters. No wonder Mr. Standard didn’t like the article, it hit too close to his friend living in East Montpelier, you know, Jerry Dodge’s neighbor.

    Bob, when you learn to correctly spell the name of the person you are referencing, we will take you more seriously and probably even refer to you as Mr. Stannard.

    • Bob Stannard :

      Well Mr Yankowski, if you can’t find the glaring flaws in Conca’s piece there’s very little point in debating with you; even though you are a clever one

  23. Bob, we realize the difficulty you’re having with defending an Administration whose record of failure to do its homework before acting is so pervasive that it makes it into Forbes Magazine. It’s plain to see that you’ve been overwhelmed with the many instances of this type of behavior to such an extent that you totally missed the cogent points made by Dr. Conca. The lack of the proper homework cited before acting is serious enough, but just one of many factors in the article. You may want to give playing defense for the Shumlin Administration a rest, re-read the Conca article and then focus on your spelling.

    When repeatedly misspelling an individual’s given name, at some point many may conclude the misspelling is simply the absence of respectful behavior. Bob, despite repeated heads up provided you, everyone can see that you’re still having problems in dealing with the correct spelling Willem Post’s first name. It is Willem. As a matter of simple respect, you may want to try harder to fix this oversight.

    • Bob Stannard :

      Mr. Yankowski, I have no difficulty defending the administration. They can defend themselves.

      I did take you up on your suggestion that I go back and re-read Mr. Conca’s article. I’ve spent about an hour or so o it and found that the best way to critique it was to cut and paste it into a WORD doc and offer my comment in CAPS.

      When you read this, please don’t think I’m shouting. I’m not. I’m just hoping to define my comments from his. If this works his column and my comments should follow below:

      In a week when we celebrated one of the greatest speeches in history, we also saw discrimination win over science. Again. Ideology defeated reason. As a scientist, I was saddened in a way I am not usually wont.
      The Great State of Vermont threw away cheap clean energy this week out of ignorance and fear. Vermont chose to be stupid, and will hurt the environment as a sidebar.

      IN HIS OPENING REMARKS CONCA STATES THAT “DISCRIMINATION WINS OVER SCIENCE” AND THAT “VERMONT THREW AWAY CHEAP CLEAN ENERGY OUT OF IGNORANCE AND FEAR”

      THIS IS NOT TRUE. THERE WAS NO SCIENCE INVOLVED IN ENTERGY’S DECISION TO CLOSE ITS PLANT. ENTERGY CLOSED ITS PLANT BECAUSE IT WAS NO LONGER ECONOMICALLY VIABLE. VERMONT DID NOT “THROW AWAY CHEAP CLEAN ENERGY….” VERMONT UTILITIES CEASED BUYING VY POWER, BECAUSE IT WAS NOW LONGER FINANCIALLY A GOOD DEAL.

      Earlier this week, Entergy Corporation announced plans to close and decommission its Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant in Vernon, Vermont. The power station was producing 0ver 70% of the State’s power, carbon-free. I guess we don’t have to envy Vermonters anymore.

      THIS STATEMENT IS PRESUMABLY INTENTIONALLY MISLEADING IF MR. CONCA DID HIS HOMEWORK AS HE ACCUSES OTHERS OF NOT DOING. YES, 70% OF THE POWER PRODUCED INSIDE VERMONT CAME FROM THIS PLANT, BUT AT NO TIME DID VERMONT EVERY RELY ON 70% OF THIS POWER. TYPICALLY, WHEN I FEEL SOMEONE IS INTENTIONALLY MISLEADING ME (MUCH LIKE ENTERGY’S EXECUTIVES BEFORE THE PSB I TEND TO LOSE RESPECT FOR THEM).
      The station will stop power production after its present nuclear fuel runs its course and move to safe shutdown at the end of 2014. The station will remain under the oversight of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission throughout the decommissioning process and for the decades following until final disposition of its waste, and the building itself, is finalized.

      IF YOU BELIEVE THAT LEAVING OVER 600 TONS OF SPENT FUEL IN AN UNDER-PRETECTED POOL FOR 60 YEARS IS SAFE; GOOD FOR YOU. I DON’T.
      The official reason given by Entergy ETR +0.33% was a combination of financial factors including:
      - abundant low-cost natural gas from fracking,

      THIS IS THE REASON WHY THEY ARE CLOSING.
      - financial investments required by an increasingly onerous regulatory environment brought on by unfounded fears from the Fukushima disaster even in the face of a stellar safety record and a completely different safety case, and

      HAVING TO MAINTAIN AND UPGRADE THEIR PLANT TO MAKE IT SAFER IS ANOTHER REASON WHEY THEY’RE CLOSING. IF ONE WERE TO LOOK AT THE TRACK RECORD OF THIS PLANT; I.E. DO THEIR HOMEWORK, THEY MIGHT NOT CALL VY’S SAFETY RECORD STELLAR.

      - wholesale market design flaws that maintain artificially low energy and capacity prices in the region, and actively suppress the benefits of the lowest costing energy that merchant nuclear and hydroelectric plants have long provided the people of Vermont (Marv Fertel, NEI).

      IN RESPONSE TO THIS ALLEGATION THE ISO IN YESTERDAY’S PAPER DECLARED THAT THE MARKET IS NOT SKEWED AND THAT THIS WAS NOT A REASON TO CLOSE THE PLANT.

      But we all know the real reason. Nasty politics and ignorance. The latter is forgivable and rectifiable with a little homework. The former is not. Dr. Art Woolf, Professor of Economics at University of Vermont, put it best in the BurlingtonFreePress –

      AGAIN, THIS IS FACTUALLY INCORRECT AND COULD HAVE BEEN VARIFIED BY DOING A LITTLE HOMEWORK. THE OVERWHELMINGLY 26-4 SENATE VOTE AGAINST CONTINUED OPERATIONS BEYOND 2012 WAS ACHIEVED PRIMARILY BECAUSE OF ENTERGY LYING BEFORE THE PSB & THE LEGISLATURE.

      “The current [upward] trajectory of electricity prices is likely to continue as Vermont mandates production from much more expensive renewables and provides a variety of subsidies to producers of renewable energy. Electricity from wind can cost up to 20 cents per kilowatt hour and solar between 20 and 30 cents. Compare that to the current wholesale price of electricity from Hydro-Quebec, which costs about six cents per kilowatt hour [similarly for natural gas]. Vermont recently decided not to purchase electricity from the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant, which was selling electricity to the state for less than five cents a kilowatt hour” (Electricity Prices in Vt Among Nation’s Highest).
      Vermonters should only be paying 8¢/kWhr, not the 18¢/kWhr they’re paying now, nor the 20¢/kWhr they’ll be paying in the next few years.
      These upside-down cost situations occur because what we pay for electricity has little to do with what it costs to produce it. The real costs of producing electricity such as construction, fuel, O&M, decommissioning, have little to do with what its price on the wholesale market. The price has more to do with financing, tax credits, subsidies, mandates, power purchase agreements, weekly power bidding, and other non-technical drivers. These determine the price in a virtual orgy of artifice and short-term profit arrangements, spiced up with a bit of political shenanigans. (An excellent discussion of this is given by Michael Overturf of ZF Energy Development in The Price for Power.)

      WOOLF’S COMMENTS DO NOT REFLECT “NASTY POLITICS”. IF ANYTHING HE POINTS OUT VERMONT’S COMMITMENT TO TRY TO DO BETTER WITH RENEWABLE FUEL THAT DOES NOT RUN THE RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH ALL OTHER FUELS.
      This situation resulted directly from many years of very effective and concerted lobbying to bias elected officials in Vermont against nuclear energy. The public let them. Entergy was not prepared to counter this anti-nuclear push. They even seemed oblivious to its magnitude and effect, and bumbled communications and response. Or maybe they just got tired and resigned to letting Vermont get what it deserves.
      WERE IT NOT FOR THE FACT THAT CONCA HOLDS HIMSELF OUT TO BE ONE WHO DOES HIS HOMEWORK AND SOMEHOW GETS HIS WORK PUBLISHED IN FORBES, THIS PARAGRAPH WOULD STRIKE ME AS HILARIOUS. BUT IT’S NOT. TO SAY THAT “ENTERGY WAS NOT PREPARED TO COUNTER THIS ANTI-NUCLEAR PUSH” IS A LIE. I SAY IT’S A LIE, BECAUSE IF CONCA HAD DONE HIS HOMEWORK HE WOULD HAVE DISCOVERED THAT AT ONE POINT THERE WERE NO FEWER THAN 22 LOBBYISTS WORKING ON ENTERGY’S BEHALF. ENTERGY OUTSPENT THE ANTI-NUKE LOBBYING EFFORT BY TEN FOLD; AT LEAST. ENTERGY WAS NOT OBLIVIOUS EVEN A LITTLE BIT. THEY WERE BUMBLERS, BUT THEY WERE KEENLY AWARE OF THE FIGHT. HIS ASSERSIONS HERE ARE JUST WRONG.
      You know, folks, I understand nasty politics, but there is only one reason for being ignorant. Not doing your homework. I’m a scientists and even I don’t like to do homework. But you need to do your homework.

      AGREED. TOO BAD MR. CONCA OPTED NOT TO DO SO WHEN HE WROTE THIS PIECE.
      Most Vermonters were led blindly into throwing away the cheapest, cleanest energy available. Energy that made Vermont one of the lowest carbon emitters per capita in the world, a feat that will no longer be possible. Vermont Yankee is already mostly paid for, it had 20 years left, and mothballing it won’t save any money for the State, or reduce the risks that much either. The best thing to do with a nuclear power plant is to run it. Mothballing an active reactor ahead of its time is a wicked expensive waste.

      THE OPENING SENTENCE OF THIS PARAGRAPH IS NOT TRUE. VERMONTERS DID NOT THROW AWAY ANYTHING. VERMONT UTILITIES OPTED TO GET A FAIR DEAL BY PURCHASING THEIR POWER FROM OTHER SOURCES. HE ALSO STATES THE VY HAD 20 YEARS LEFT. NO NUCLEAR POWER PLANT HAS EVER LASTED 60 YEARS. AS A “SCIENTIST” DOING HIS HOMEWORK HE SHOULD KNOW THAT THIS STATEMENT IS FALSE.
      Vermont Yankee has produced almost 200 billion kWhrs since it began operations. If this energy had been produced by coal or gas, over 50 million tons of carbon, sulfur and nitrogen would have been emitted into our atmosphere. But Vermonters were smart and ahead of their time. Vermont Yankee contributes about $500 million to the local economy employing 600 highly skilled professionals and funding the 1,800 indirect jobs associated with them. This closure will be a huge blow to the local economy. Does this matter to anyone?

      YES, EVERYONE KNOWS THAT THERE WILL BE AN IMPACT IN SO. EASTERN VERMONT. WE’VE SEEN THIS COMING FOR 40 YEARS. DID THE DOUGLAS ADMINISTRATION PROPERLY PREPARE THIS AREA OF THE STATE FOR THE IMPENDING CLOSER OF THE PLANT IN 2012?
      While about 30% of Vermont’s electricity comes from hydro and methane digesters, without nuclear power the State’s GHG emissions will increase, especially as natural gas use for power generation is increasing faster than any other source.

      PROBABLY NOT TRUE. VERMONT’S UTILITIES HAVE ALREADY REPLACED VY’S POWER WITH HYDRO AND NUCLEAR; BOTH OF WHICH ARE CARBON FREE; AT LEAST ACCORDING TO CONCA.
      Better yet, ISO New England Inc., the Regional Transmission Organization (RTO), is rushing to fill this new electricity shortage with oil and gas. 2.3 billion kilowatt-hours of new oil-fired generation will dump 1.6 million metric tons of CO2 into the air, and 4.1 million more tons will be emitted by increased gas-fired production, just to compensate for this unnecessary execution.

      VY WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR ONLY 2% OF THE GRID. TO SAY THAT THE “ISO IS RUSHING TO FILL NEW ELECTRICITY SHORTAGE…” IS FALSE. THERE IS NO SHORTAGE OF CHEAP ELECTRICITY, WHICH, BY THE WAY, IS WHY ENTERGY IS CLOSING VY.
      As a member of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), how will Vermont square this huge increase with other members?

      VERONT STOPPED BUYING VY POWER OVER A YEAR AGO AND THUS FAR HAS NOT EXPERIENCED “HUGE INCREASES”.
      Closing Vermont Yankee in the end will cost Vermonters about $200 million per year for the next 20 years. But Vermonters escaped the worst of that other “wholesale market flaw”, the default credit swap and other financing ideologies, and haven’t been hurt at all by the economic slump of the last few years, so the people of Vermont won’t even notice the lost $200 million. I mean it’s not like it’s 10% of their total State tax revenue or anything.

      NO ONE HAS ANY IDEA WHAT THE COST IMPACT WILL BE OVER 20 YEARS. THERE ARE MANY VARIABLES THAT IMPACT OUR FUTURE. I LOOK FORWARD TO MR. CONCA REVISING HIS COMMENTS IN A FEW YEARS.
      Now when children ask, “Why do I have to do my homework?” parents can point to Vermont on the map and say, “That’s why!”

      THE ONLY ONE WHO HAS CLEARLY DEMONSTRATED THAT THEY DESERVE AN “F” ON THEIR HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT IS MR. CONCA.

      MY APOLOGIES FOR SPELLING WILLEM’S NAME WRONG. CORRECTION NOTED.

    • Bob Stannard :

      When the best that Japan can hope for is a short-term chill http://www.burlingtonfreepress.com/viewart/20130903/NEWS04/130903009/Japan-fund-ice-wall-stop-nuclear-reactor-leaks then I, nor the administration, have anything to apologize for in the effort to close VY

  24. Howard Shaffer :

    What do Argentina, Brazil, China, Finland, France, India, South Korea, Pakistan, Russia, Slovakia, UAE and USA all have in common?

    Answer: They all have nuclear reactors under construction.

    Perhaps the announced closure of Vermont Yankee represents only local politics. I’m guessing that the Vermont utilities were afraid to sign purchase agreements with the plant. The one they signed with Seabrook was for nearly the same price.

    Let’s hope the 28 reactors under construction in China are in operation as soon as possible. After all they are in the northern hemisphere too, and their acid rain and CO2 form coal burning fall on us too!

    • Bob Stannard :

      Howard, of the plants you mention, how many are subsidized by their respective governments?

  25. Bob, I have read your lengthy critique of the Conca article and its clear you put a lot of time into the effort. I respect your work, but do not agree with much of what you say as you generally put your spin and opinions up against what Dr. Conca has said.

    For instance, in discussing history, one has to start at the beginning, not at some convenient jumping in point to support an argument. You start your rebuttal by saying the plant closed for economic reasons, which Entergy did indeed cite as rational for closing last month. But this is just happenstance as far as the state’s true and original plant closing motivation is concerned. The effort to close the plant goes back to 2010 and perhaps early, when Senator Shumlin argued for the closing of the plant for safety reasons. Under Shumlin’s leadership, the safety argument carried over into the legislature, which ultimately lead to the embarrassing and costly loses in court for the state.

    Going back, Senator Shumlin’s safety argument, was apparently developed without understanding the federal exemption related to regulating nuclear safety, which relates directly to not doing his homework. If he had done his homework, instead of blindly working to satisfy anti-nuclear activists, he could have avoided the court embarrassments.

    I could go on and debate/rebut your comments on the Conca article paragraph by paragraph, but it’s not my job to defend the thoughts and words of Dr. Conca. Your remarks should be directed to him.

    My major concern with Governor Shumlin is his propensity to shoot from the hip and ask questions later, failure to do his homework or his “Ready, Fire, Aim” management style, which many believe is harmful to the state. Now, it seems that Dr. Conca shares the concerns with the Governor’s failure to do his homework.

    • Bob Stannard :

      Mr. Yankowski, you say that you disagree with my analysis because I “put my spin and opinions up against what Dr. Conca has said.”

      Really? I would argue that Mr. Conca’s article was nothing other than his opinions, and yes, his spin. There was nothing scientific about it. Somehow, in your eyes his misleading statements are OK with you. Probably because you agree with all that he said. Like Mr. Conca, you are entitled to your own opinions, but you are not entitled to your own facts.

      All I did was to go through his column and point out where, in my opinion, he is factually wrong. If you would like to show where my facts are inaccurate then I would be willing to listen to you.

      RE: your comments on Gov. Shumlin. I understand you don’t agree with him on this, but I would ask that you step back and show me the one piece of legislation that any General Assembly passed that remotely attempted to regulate the safety of this plant.

      This is where I feel the courts have erred. There is no law against any elected official saying that they have safety concerns over this, or any, nuclear plant. What they can’t do is to pass legislation that allows the state to play any role in safety. The legislature has never passed any laws pertaining to safety, which is why these court decisions will have a chilling affect, nationally, on state legislatures. Our elected officials will be hamstrung from having any dialog, which is not healthy for anyone.

      I would agree with you that our governor, on occasion, may come across as being slightly more candid than other governors, but I would think that would be a good thing. Gov. Howard Dean spoke his mind. Gov. Douglas would never say anything for fear of saying anything wrong. Gov. Shumlin calls them as he sees them.

      The most often heard criticism of politicians is that they try to be all things to all people. Gov. Peter Shumlin ran on closing the plant and got elected by the people of this state; twice. That should be telling you something.

      What it tells me is that you don’t agree with his position which is fine. You are more than welcome to agree with Mr. Conca. I happen to think that Mr. Conca is simply not credible and went to great lengths to prove my case.

      You call it spin and opinion, which you entitled to do. We disagree.

      Bye

  26. All,

    Decommissioning Vermont Yankee will harm New England’s economy and make it less competitive. Below is an estimate of replacing VY energy with in-state RE.

    If Vermont Yankee had continued to operate till 2032, its production during the 20-year license extension period would have been = 620 MW x 8760 hr/yr x CF 0.90 x 20 yrs = 97,761,600,000 kWh, which, at 1 lb of CO2/kWh for the NE grid, would have avoided about 95 billion lb of CO2, and at about 6 c/kWh, would have cost $5.9 billion.

    Instead, Vermont and other NE state chose to produce expensive RE at 3 (ridge line wind) to 5 (PV solar) times grid prices, i.e., 15-25 c/kWh, say an average of 20 c/kWh.

    New England, already having very high electric rates, will be paying $19.7 billion for its RE., i.e., 19.9-5.9 = $13.8 billion more/20 years = $690 million more/year.

    A muuuuuuch better alternative for the RE disease is buying additional CO2-free, steady, renewable, clean, low-cost energy from Hydro-Quebec at about 6 c/kWh under long-term contracts.

    HQ has about 6,000 MW of unused hydro capacity. All that is needed is additional HVDC transmission line capacity to New England.

    • Bob Stannard :

      Willem, you do know that Entergy, not Vermont, is closing its VY plant. It’s over. It’s done. You can say that we’d be better off with it, but there’s not going to be a “with it”. It’s over. So saying that we could do better if_____ is irrelvant.

      Oh, and you spell “much” wrong. Careful, Mr. Yankowski will scold you.

      • Bob,

        What about the much better alternative?

        No comments on the savings with respect to expensive RE generated in NE that are NOT that CO2-free as HQ hydro?

        • Bob Stannard :

          What would you like me to say. I firmly believe that, in the long run, energy sources like solar, wind, hydro, geo-thermal, will all be less expensive. if you have any doubt about the costs of nuclear give the Japanese gov’t a call today. Better yet, give the US taxpayer a call when they end up on the hook for covering the costs of decommissioning VY.

          The best, smartest, cheapest thing we can do is to increase efficiency and conserve more.

          • Bob,
            You think, in the long run, RE will be less expensive?

            Not in Vermont, for sure. The performance of the disastrous GMP Lowell Mountain wind turbine fiasco and expensive SPEED program on the DPS website speak for themselves.

            Lowell’s PRODUCTION cost is at least 15 c/kWh, because of the much lower 0.25 capacity factor (0.189 in first 6 months of 2013), i.e., less production, MWh/yr, less RECs sold to out-of-state entities, more future costs to be loaded onto already-struggling households and businesses, via rate schedules; you may verify that with David Hallquist, CEO of VEC.

            After the $10.5 million S-C system is on line to clean up the low quality wind energy so it can be fed into the NEK high voltage transmission grid, the CF MAY become 0.25 and the production MAY increase to 137,970 MWh/yr, less about 3% for S-C system losses = 133,831 MWh/yr. That 0.25 CF is about the same as of nearby Maine ridge line plants. New York State has a CF of 0.235!!!

            GMP had claimed in documents filed with the PSB; these claims turned out not worth the paper they were written on:

            Standard rotor (90 m dia) = 63 x 8760 x 0.2842 = 156,844 MWh/yr, GMP CF claim.
            GMP and DPS SPEED website = 63 x 8760 x 0.338 = 186,570 MWh/yr 
            Large rotor (117 m dia) = 63 x 8760 x 0.3587 = 197,959 MWh/yr, GMP CF claim. 

            http://theenergycollective.com/willem-post/61309/lowell-mountain-wind-turbine-facility-vermont

            Vermont’s RE SPEED program is even worse, cost-wise, than Lowell, based on production numbers on the DPS website.

            2010, for six months: 13.87 c/kWh.
            2011: 16.44 cents/kWh.
            2012: 17.16 cents/kWh.
            2013, for five months: 18.53 cents/kWh.

            Note the RISING cost/kWh. Various RE promoters have been saying RE costs/kWh would be DECLINING; are they just making it up to befuddle lay people?
            For the 2010 – 2017 period, a cumulative $131,220,058 excess above grid prices will have been rolled into electric rates of already-struggling households and businesses. 

            http://vermontspeed.com/speed-monthly-production/
            http://vermontspeed.squarespace.com/project-status/

          • Bob Stannard :

            Ok, compare that to the billions in subsidies over the past 40 for nukes. Now, add to that the risk to taxpayers via Price-Anderson. Add to that the $20 billion spent on Yucca Mt that we aren’t using, and if we did it’d be obsolete immediately. Add to that the risk to taxpayers should there not be enough funds available to decommission a merchant plant (like VY).

            There’s probably more but I’m going to bed.

  27. Bob Stannard :

    Also, to say that decommissioning the plant more quickly will harm the NE states is just plain strange. By decommissioning the plant vs mothballing it for 70 yrs (the only two choices available) we would be keeping more people employed over a longer period of time and thus lessening the economic impact on SE Vt; something we should all be concerned about.

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