HARTFORD, CT - Governor Ned Lamont applauded the approval of a contract last week by the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) between Dominion Energy, owner of the Millstone Nuclear Facility, and Eversource and United Illuminating, the state’s two electric distribution utilities, regarding the future of Millstone. The governor said the decision is good news for the region’s grid, the environment, the state’s economy, and ratepayers.
“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.”
The contract requires the utilities to purchase approximately 50 percent of Millstone’s output, or 9 million MWH/year, for ten years, starting this year. The contract confers to Connecticut 100 percent of the plant’s environmental attributes. The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) selected the contract in last year’s zero carbon RFP.
“These next ten years matter for fighting climate change and decarbonizing the electric grid,” DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes said. “DEEP is excited to be identifying pathways to achieve a clean energy grid as part of the governor’s executive order to expand renewable and other clean energy resources in a way that is affordable and reliable.”
Both PURA and DEEP found the 2100 MW Millstone units to be at risk of early retirement based on Millstone’s disclosed financial statements and projected energy market revenues. The ISO’s Operational Fuel Security Study confirmed the critical importance of Millstone for regional fuel security when natural gas is most constrained. The plant also provides over 1,500 jobs and economic development for southeastern Connecticut.
When the contract was executed this spring, all six New England governors issued a joint statement committing to evaluate market-based mechanisms that value the contribution of existing nuclear units and work on a mechanism to value the important attributes of clean energy. Governor Lamont also recently signed an executive order directing agencies to work on climate adaptation planning and calling on DEEP to develop a plan to achieve a 100 percent clean energy grid by 2040.
In its approval, PURA noted that Dominion has invested more than one billion dollars into the plant since acquiring ownership, and that absent its continued operation, greenhouse gas emissions in the region would increase by 25 percent.