CT’s long road to replace nuclear power with wind and solar

Published 7:00 pm EDT, Saturday, August 1, 2020

............where is the state’s power mix heading and how fast will it get there? The debate matters now because Connecticut faces ongoing choices between allowing new, gas-powered plants and rapidly expanding solar, wind and other renewable sources to fill the future nuclear gap.

Lamont’s administration brokered new power purchase agreements for Dominion to continue supplying Connecticut’s two major utilities for the coming decade. The governor cited at the time the alternative scenario of rolling blackouts while replacement plants were rushed into construction.

More recently, this past week, he expressed hope that offshore wind power will eventually take up much of the slack.

All the while, solar has been making gains, but that’s a long, costly road to replace Millstone, whose twin reactors produce power equal to Connecticut’s four largest natural gas plants in Bridgeport, Middletown and Oxford, according to information on file with the Energy Information Administration.

Connecticut’s collection of rooftop and utility-scale solar arrays today amounts to about 230 megawatts of capacity — at summer’s peak in July — with nearly 300 more megawatts more to come by 2030, according to estimates by ISO New England, the Springfield, Mass. entity that oversees the region’s power grid.

Other sources are being added as well — notably natural gas plants, but also one or more wind farms eyed for off the New England coast that could add up to the power output of Millstone, in optimal conditions; and if cleared for construction, new power lines feeding a steady supply of electricity from hydroelectric dams in Canada.

Added together, an 800-megawatt wind farm planned south of Martha’s Vineyard coupled with Connecticut’s expected solar adds and a 650-megawatt natural gas plant would get the state within range of Millstone’s output. Yet more wind farms are under consideration as well as the Canadian hydro power lines with the possibility of an extra 1,200 megawatts for the larger New England grid.

Unpredictable weather patterns create “energy security” risks in the words of ISO New England for wind and solar power. That problem will persist until utility-scale batteries can store excess energy for use on calm or cloudy days, cost-effectively.........................................


Among the projects on the board, the Park City Wind farm would rise off the southern New England coast as a joint venture of Avangrid and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, with construction to be staged from Bridgeport and New London. And Eversource Energy is working with The Netherlands-based Orsted its own offshore wind farm proposals, while proposing on Friday an initial step toward accompanying battery storage for as much as 50 megawatts of power.

On a windy day, Park City Wind would have roughly equal the electric output of the CPV Towantic natural gas plant completed two years ago in Oxford, while eclipsing PSEG’s Bridgeport Harbor facility that cranked into gear last August powered by natural gas.

Avangrid has gone all-in on renewables, creating a separate subsidiary a dozen years ago based today in Portland, Oregon. Avangrid Renewables now operates the third largest fleet of wind farms in the nation. The Park City Wind project would add just over 800 megawatts to the New England grid, with the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management expected to issue a final decision in December on whether to approve the project...........................................



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Comment by Willem Post on August 3, 2020 at 9:39am


The reason so little information is provided in such PR articles is to keep the taxpayers and ratepayers floating in a state of rosy comatose, feeling no pain, now and in the future, somewhat as with a fairy tale that eventually would lead to the shining city on the hill, whereas, in fact, that is a lot of crapola, because solar systems are short life, wind systems are short life, EVs are short life, heat pumps are short life, battery storage systems are short life, compared with the 60 to 80 year lives of nuclear plants.

Comment by Penny Gray on August 3, 2020 at 9:08am
Unbelievable how irrational this renewable goal is and how little info is presented in these articles. Cost effective battery storage? Really?
Comment by Willem Post on August 3, 2020 at 8:36am

It is beyond irrational for Connecticut not to build at least 4000 MW of nuclear to serve future heat pumps and electric vehicles.

I switched my energy-efficient house from 95%-efficient propane to 3 heat pumps, each with 2 heads, at a capital cost of $24000, and my electricity consumption became 2.5 times greater, plus I use propane for domestic hot water and standby, in case of very cold weather and power failures.

If I were to switch one of our Outback Subarus to an equivalent all-wheel-drive EV, I would use 4000 kWh/y in addition.

Where in hell would all that electricity come from?

New England frequently has simultaneous wind/solar lulls, lasting 5 to 7 days, when expected wind/solar output for that time of year would be less than 15% of expected.

Where in hell would the shortfall of electricity come from? Batteries? Gas turbines? Burning trees?

Most people think about, “we add this and we add that”, but they do not understand wind/solar lulls, which can completely upset the applecart, nor do they understand seasonal variations of wind and solar, which are a whole new ballgame regarding continuous electricity service 24/7/365.

ISO-NE has made studies with various levels of wind and solar, with the rest from steady sources, under all sorts of NE weather conditions, and the results are huge storage, terawatt-scale, and/or standby gas turbine generators would be required.

Nuclear plants, lasting 60 to 80 years, would be at least 10 to 20 times less costly.

If you go the wind/solar/battery/standby generator route, expect electricity at 3 to 4 times higher levels than going nuclear.

That route would be disastrous for the New England economy 

Hannah Pingree on the Maine expedited wind law

Hannah Pingree - Director of Maine's Office of Innovation and the Future

"Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine."



Maine as Third World Country:

CMP Transmission Rate Skyrockets 19.6% Due to Wind Power


Click here to read how the Maine ratepayer has been sold down the river by the Angus King cabal.

Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting – Three Part Series: A CRITICAL LOOK AT MAINE’S WIND ACT


(excerpts) From Part 1 – On Maine’s Wind Law “Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine if the law’s goals were met." . – Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, August 2010 https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-power-bandwagon-hits-bumps-in-the-road-3/From Part 2 – On Wind and Oil Yet using wind energy doesn’t lower dependence on imported foreign oil. That’s because the majority of imported oil in Maine is used for heating and transportation. And switching our dependence from foreign oil to Maine-produced electricity isn’t likely to happen very soon, says Bartlett. “Right now, people can’t switch to electric cars and heating – if they did, we’d be in trouble.” So was one of the fundamental premises of the task force false, or at least misleading?" https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-swept-task-force-set-the-rules/From Part 3 – On Wind-Required New Transmission Lines Finally, the building of enormous, high-voltage transmission lines that the regional electricity system operator says are required to move substantial amounts of wind power to markets south of Maine was never even discussed by the task force – an omission that Mills said will come to haunt the state.“If you try to put 2,500 or 3,000 megawatts in northern or eastern Maine – oh, my god, try to build the transmission!” said Mills. “It’s not just the towers, it’s the lines – that’s when I begin to think that the goal is a little farfetched.” https://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/flaws-in-bill-like-skating-with-dull-skates/

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