Governor Lamont Applauds PURA Approval of Millstone Contract Between Dominion, Eversource, and United Illuminating
Of course, as soon as everyone saw their monthly bills increase - about 7c/kWh or almost 50% - the screaming started and "investigations" were called for and as of this post it is rumored to get rolled back, at least temporarily:
PURA to investigate Eversource Energy rate hikes
The idea of subsidizing Millstone seems to grate on a lot of people's nerves, especially given the significant diametric positions many have on nuclear energy.
But let's go back and read a quote from the opening paragraph in that first link:
“Had this contract not gone forward, the facility would be in danger of closing down which would have increased greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent across the New England region,” Governor Lamont said. “This important step keeps Connecticut and all of New England from back sliding on addressing climate change. Now we can renew our focus on offshore wind and other renewable energy resources to fully transition to a clean energy grid by 2040.”(My emphasis...wow, something I agree with Lamont on...is that bacon flying overhead...?)
The one thing we're forgetting about all this: the societal value of keeping Millstone Nuclear online.
How many of us have thought (or declared) that we're willing to pay extra for energy to support sustainable sources like wind and PV to replace fossil fuels? Probably a lot of us. Maybe most of us. And subsidizing energy from Millstone is a step in the direction of an environmentally-friendly future.
Wait, wut? Yep.
What's the biggest problem with PV and solar? It's inconsistent. You are highly unlikely to get power from it at night (zero chance with PV) so you either need energy storage for use at night or alternative sources of energy. The technology for macro-scale storage solutions are way, way off right now* so the only other alternative sources of energy are fossil fuel-based. If we want to transition to larger-scale PV and wind, then off-peak generation has to be by these fossil fuels: natural gas, oil, and coal. All exhaust carbon.
But wait...what about Millstone Nuclear? It's carbon-free, just sits there making power (and it's already there). With nuclear, we would throttle it down during the day when we're generating with PV and wind, and when the sun starts to go down we throttle it back up to provide nighttime energy. In the meantime, technology advances toward true macro-scale energy storage solutions. There truly is no other environmentally-friendly carbon-free alternative right now.
But due to regulations, nuclear energy is expensive (long gone are the days of "too cheap to meter"); Millstone is losing money, and is at risk of being shut down. So unless we drop our concerns with its existence (or allow further implementations using new technologies) nuclear is not getting any cheaper. Further, Millstone's life is finite; each plant has a regulated licensed life limit (I believe Millstone 2 is 2035, and Millstone 3 is 2045; Millstone 1 is already shut down).
If your end goal is carbon-free environmentally friendly production of energy, you'll never get there unless/until the technology is developed for reliable, affordable macro-storage -- or you embrace nuclear. Otherwise we're using more fossil fuel.
You've declared that you're willing to pay more to get to environmentally-friendly/sustainable energy. Subsidizing Millstone is one effective, immediate transitional step toward that environmentally-acceptable future...
08/04/20 Edit: Another factor in Connecticut spiking energy costs is the state's decision to adhere to stringent Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards.
"Green energy" ain't yet cheap energy...
*A nice "battery" solution is the old, but still functional, Rocky River Pumped Hydro Station along Route 7, below Candlewood Lake. The lake was created when they damned up the Rocky River to create the pumped hydro facility. "Pumped hydro" uses turbines powered by the cheaper overnight off-peak energy to pump water from the Housatonic River up into Candlewood Lake; during the day the plant releases water down from the lake to drive the same turbines to generate power and sell it at the higher day rate. Its efficiency is incredible, exceeding most other storage sources, and Rocky River is still functional nearly a century later.
To support PV and wind, that concept can be turned on its ear: we could use excess PV/wind-generated energy during the day to pump the water up into the lake, then at night drain the water to generate electricity when PV/wind cannot.
Alas, that particular station - the first ever pumped hydro in the USA, I believe - is not big enough for the electrical loads that we'll need at night, and there's just no way in Hades anyone would ever get approval today to build another one. So...off to further development of chemistry battery technology we go...
Thank you for your rapt attention on Yet Another Greg Rant. Time for beer.