New England has clean energy generation alternatives, other than variable wind and solar energy, which requires the inefficient operation of gas turbines for peaking, filling-in and balancing, and tree burning, which wastes at least 5 out of 6 trees.
NOTE: Wood Source Energy Factor: Losses = Upstream (harvest, chipping, transport, about 2.5%) + Conversion to electricity, including self-use for entire site (about 75%) + Transmission and distribution (about 7%) = 84.5%, i.e., 15.5% arrives at the user meters. The source energy factor for wood power plants is 100/15.5 = 6.45, i.e., the energy equivalent of 5.45 of 6.45 trees is wasted.
Green Mountain Power, the Vermont utility with 77% of the Vermont electricity market, has plans to divide the state’s grid into micro-grids, because “that is the future”. That approach makes good business sense, because it enhances its asset base on which it is allowed to earn about 9% per year.
“Maybe Vernon can be the first town of its size to “island”, to “microgrid” – this variety of technologies,” Otley of GMP said. “That’s a very different vision than trying to recapture a big plant”, i.e., having a gas-fired CCGT power plant.
NOTE: About 50% of all electricity generated in NE is from low-cost gas. See below.
Matt Dunne, a former executive at Google, has another solution: “A new Google, server-based, data center. Such a center needs land, water and access to large quantities of reliable power.”
NOTE: A CCGT plant would provide STEADY power, 25/7/365, year after year, at low cost, much lower than variable, unsteady, wind and solar power.
CCGT Plant at The Vernon Site: Vermont Yankee, a nuclear power plant rated at 620 MW (now closed down) was located in Vernon, Vermont. That site has the grid infrastructure already in place for a 600 MW, 60% efficient, gas-fired, combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) plant, in base-loaded mode.
Electricity production = 600 x 8760 x 0.90 = 4,730,400 MW/y, about 77.5% of annual electricity to VT utilities.
Turnkey capital cost = 600 x $1.2 million/MW = 720 million.
Gas energy cost = 3413 Btu/kWh x 1/0.60 efficiency x $2.50/million Btu = 1.422 c/kWh.
O&M and other costs = 1.5 c/kWh, or $15.00/MWh.
Total energy cost = 2.922 c/kWh, or $29.22/MWh.
NE average wholesale prices were 5.0 c/kWh for the past 5 years.
Gross operating profit = 4,730,400 x (50.00 – 29.22)/1000000 = $98.3 million/y.
Net profit depends on depreciation, interest, taxes, etc.
Plant service life = 40 y.
The plant would require about 5 acres of the VT Yankee site.
The grid system capacity, formerly used by Vermont Yankee, is in place.
The plant would provide about 100 steady, full-time jobs, with good pay and good benefits.
The plant would be profitable without subsidies.
The plant would be paying federal and state taxes on profits, unlike most RE systems.
Looks like a no brainer, instead of GMP’s futuristic, subsidized, pie in the sky.
Matt Dunne’s data center would take up little space and could be located near the CCGT plant