Dominion strikes deadline day utility deal to keep Millstone nuke operating

Dive Brief:

  • Dominion Energy has secured a deadline day contract with Connecticut utilities for more than half the output of its 2.1 GW Millstone nuclear plant, saving the generator from what the company said was a coming retirement.

  • Pricing was not released, but Dominion said in a statement it “represents a modest financial uplift” for the company. Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont, D, said the deal decreases ratepayer costs by nearly half compared to an earlier bid for the plant accepted as part of a clean energy solicitation

  • When the deal was announced, New England governors also released a statement committing to work with ISO-New England to find market-based methods to value “the contribution that existing nuclear generation resources make to regional energy security and winter reliability.”

Dive Insight:

Dominion’s deal with Eversource and United Illuminating puts an end to years of speculation over Connecticut’s sole nuclear plant, which the company had said would close if it did not secure a contract by today, March 15

The 10 year deal will cover 9 million MWh of output annually, more than half of the plant’s annual output of about 16.5 million MWh. Connecticut regulators selected the rest of Millstone’s output as part of a clean energy solicitation last year

Pricing details for both deals have not been released, but Lamont said the new deal with the utilities is significantly better for ratepayers than the earlier solicitation. 

“The deal the utilities have negotiated secures Millstone’s zero-carbon power for ten years, and reduces by nearly 50 percent the incremental ratepayer cost of the contract, as compared to the original bid selected,” he said in a statement. 

The deal caps an extended controversy over the fate of the nuclear plant. Before state lawmakers passed a bill to support the plant last year, critics argued it was not under financial pressure and did not warrant a bailout. 

In a statement Friday, New England’s six governors committed to work with the regional grid operator to boost compensation for Millstone in wholesale power markets, rather than relying on direct contracts with utilities. 

“[T]he New England Governors commit to work together … to evaluate market-based mechanisms that value the contribution that existing nuclear generation resources make to regional energy security and winter reliability,” they wrote in a statement.

“In addition, to the extent a state’s policies prioritize clean energy resources, those states commit to work together on a mechanism or mechanisms to value the important attributes of those resources, while ensuring consumers in any one state do not fund the public policy requirements mandated by another state’s laws.”

2019-03-15T16:35:00-05:00Solar News|