Dominion’s Millstone Nuclear Power Plant Extension ‘Critical’ Part of the Path to Zero Carbon, Connecticut Says


Dive brief:

  • Connecticut has ‘multiple paths’ to achieving a 100% clean electricity system by 2040, but achieving it will require wholesale market reforms as well as the addition of energy storage and demand management resources , depending on the state Final 2020 of the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP).
  • The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) released the plan on Thursday, which also calls on the state to “maintain historic deployment levels of distributed generation” and remove barriers to participation clean energy programs for underserved communities.
  • To begin implementing the plan, DEEP has also initiated processes with stakeholders to examine how its purchasing power can be used to Energy storage, and solicit feedback on potential changes in the electricity sector greenhouse gas accounting methodology.

Dive overview:

The IRP is Connecticut’s first analysis of how it can achieve a 100% clean electricity supply by 2040, a goal set by Governor Ned Lamont, D, in 2019. Already, the system is moving towards more 90% carbon-free status, according to assessment.

The goal is “attainable,” DEEP commissioner Katie Dykes said in a statement, with “continued focus on regional market reform, modernized transmission and investment in efficiency, storage and zero carbon renewable energies “.

The IRP found that Connecticut taxpayers already support, through long-term contracts, more than 600,000 MWh / year of grid-wide renewables and more than 9 million MWh / year of resources. nuclear. This equates to nearly 65% ​​of the electricity supplied by the state’s largest utilities, and puts them on track to reach 92% clean electricity by 2025.

Eversource, the region’s largest energy supplier, said it was still reviewing the plan but was eager to work with state officials to “reduce costs for customers, improve reliability and advance the plan. ‘clean energy “.

The state has been making progress on clean energy for years, DEEP found.

“The significant investments Connecticut has made over the years in robust clean energy and energy efficiency programs have already put the state on track to achieve the 100% zero carbon goal,” he concluded. ‘IRP. However, some additional steps will be necessary, including keeping Dominion Energy’s nuclear power plant in Millstone in service beyond its current contract.

“Millstone’s retention beyond 2029 is a critical factor in how much and how quickly Connecticut needs to source new clean energy additions,” the IRP concluded.

DEEP in 2019 took steps to ensure Millstone would stay online for at least a decade, selecting a 10-year power supply for the installation as part of a solicitation of carbon-free generation resources.

“Notably, when Millstone is expected to retire when his current contract expires in 2029, the region will have to meet the demand for zero carbon electricity left behind,” IRP said. In the absence of an extension of the plant’s life, the report assumes this will be achieved “with an additional high voltage direct current cable line bringing more hydropower from Canada.”

The nuclear power plant is “vital for the state and the region to meet their environmental, reliability and clean energy goals,” Dominion said in a statement. The company added that it looked forward to working with Connecticut “to ensure Millstone continues to operate beyond its current contract and help the state meet its decarbonization goals.”

The IRP is also examining Connecticut’s use of fossil fuels to maintain system stability and has concluded developments in clean areas, dispatchable the production technology “could reduce reliance on natural gas resources as reliability resources”.

The state must also “defend and continue reforms of the wholesale energy market so that clean energy resources are deployed in an efficient and profitable manner and that the costs are distributed equitably”, concluded the IRP.

Connecticut and other New England states called for changes in the design of the region’s wholesale electricity market and, in 2020, presented a plan for a regional market framework to help fill their decarbonization mandates.

DEEP’s IRP makes several recommendations for Connecticut over the next two years, including adding a 100% zero carbon target as a planning target for the state’s electricity supply and completion of ‘a stakeholder process to improve the location of solar resources.

As part of DEEP’s Microgrid and Resilience program, IRP recommends evaluating “how to best leverage state and federal funds for resilience planning and build a pipeline of projects before initiating a project application.
proposals, with a focus on vulnerable communities.

The report also recommends that DEEP further explore resilience planning in its next global energy strategy proceed. By law, the agency updates the strategy “periodically” to advance the goals of acquiring cheaper, cleaner and more reliable energy. The last review was completed in 2018.

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