The 5th largest power source in New England, The Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, closed its doors after 42 years of service in December 2014. At the time of the closing, Vermont Yankee was producing 4% of total power generation for the overall region, and there was concern that the closing would mean the loss of inexpensive power and jobs. However, ISO New England, the regional grid operator, believed it could successfully operate with other sources of power.
The U.S. Energy Information Agency stated in their Outlook Report (February 2, 2015) that there are several options available to the grid operator, who will “most likely” take advantage of a combination of them.
- Bringing more electricity into the region through existing transmission links, such as from electric grids in New York and Canada. ISO New England already imports power from these links; in 2013 they were responsible for providing 14% of the region’s power needs.
- Pending approval of the $1.4 Northern Pass transmission proposal, Canadian State-owned Hydro-Quebec also could be another source of power for New England.
- Better energy efficiency and demand response programs could also compensate for retiring power plants. ISO New England has stated that energy efficiency programs have been successful in postponing the need for new regional transmission projects.
- Transmission capacity could also be increased. According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency, the Northern Maine Independent System Administrator, which currently has connections to Canada but not New England, is looking at a direct connection to the New England grid.
Peeples, Doug. “What Vermont Yankee nuclear plant closure could mean for New England.” Fierce Energy. Fierce Markets. February 2, 2015. Web. Fierce Energy
“New England Generation Fuel Mix Changes Likely as Vermont Yankee Nuclear Plant Retires.” EIA. U.S. Energy Information Administration. Web. February 2, 2015. February 10, 2015. EIA