Millstone still pushing for 'action' to save nuke plant

Published on Sunday, 6 August 2017 22:11
Written by SUSAN HAIGH

Associated Press

HARTFORD, Conn. - Owners of the Millstone Nuclear Power Station say they still want more than a study of the facility’s future economic viability to ensure the plant remains open and continues providing more than half of Connecticut’s electricity.

They contend state lawmakers, who’ve been meeting this summer to hammer out a budget deal, must take action now.

The state policy director for Dominion Energy, the company that owns the station, said his company is actively working to persuade the General Assembly to include language in the yet-to-be-reached budget agreement that would allow Millstone to ultimately bypass the wholesale electricity market and sell directly to the state, if that is what’s recommended in a new study ordered last week by Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.

“You can’t have a study without a mandate for action, is our position,” said Kevin Hennessy. “If they do a study without any action, that is not going to prevent Dominion from making business decisions.”

In 2012, Dominion announced it was closing the Kewaunee Power Station in Carlton, Wisconsin, because it was no longer economical to operate. The plant closed after 18 months of discussions with government officials. Dominion recently noted it has been talking with Connecticut officials for 21 months.

A bill requiring a study of the fiscal health of Millstone and other nuclear power plants, as well as allowing Dominion to participate in a competitive procurement process to possibly sell power directly to the state, cleared the Senate earlier this year. However, the legislation was allowed only a limited debate in the House of Representatives before being pulled without a vote.

Hennessy said there’s enough support in the legislature to pass the bill, despite opposition from the AARP and a group of other power producers, who contend Virginia-based Dominion doesn’t need what they consider a “subsidy,” arguing that Millstone is still profitable.

Those groups praised Malloy late last month for signing an executive order requiring the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority to review the current and projected economic viability of Millstone’s continued operations in Waterford. Among other things, the agencies were charged with also examining Millstone’s role in helping Connecticut meet carbon emissions targets while maintaining reliability of the regional grid.

Posted in New Britain Herald, State on Sunday, 6 August 2017 22:11. Updated: Sunday, 6 August 2017 22:13.