Nuclear Plant Shutdown Could Impact Prices in New England

At the end of 2014, Entergy shut down its Vermont Yankee nuclear plant and began the process of decommissioning it, as reported by the Boston Globe. The plant provided 604 MW of capacity and nearly 5 million MWh of energy per year, which accounts for about 4 percent of total energy in New England, according to the Energy Information Administration.

The nuclear plant’s closure could lead to further reliance on an already constrained resource mix. In the short term, the region will have to fill the gap by relying on older, less efficient plants that cost more to operate. This will exacerbate the region’s supply issues.

New England has already seen rising energy prices in recent years as a result of constrained natural gas supplies. A January report from Synapse Energy showed that the region’s growing reliance on natural gas for both heat and electricity, coupled with limited transmission capacity to bring electricity from adjacent regions, has led to natural gas supply shortages and resulting price spikes. The Wall Street Journal reports that New England has increased its liquefied natural gas imports to help manage the issue.

We reported recently on price spikes in Massachusetts that have led to increased interest in retail power.

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