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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