Opponents say premature closing of Millstone would cost Dominion $1B
Waterford — A group opposing Dominion Energy's efforts to sell nuclear power through a state-sponsored competitive bid process claims that Dominion would have to pay nearly as much money to prematurely close the Millstone Power Station as it did to purchase the power plant.
The Stop the Millstone Payout Coalition, a group of energy companies, issued a news release this week to call attention to a report from Energyzt Advisors, an energy research company, that states Dominion would have to pay $680 million in penalties, or nearly $1 billion "once other market obligations are factored in" to close Millstone today. The news release cites that Dominion bought Millstone in 2000 for $1.3 billion.
"There is simply no way that Dominion is going to unnecessarily fork over $1 billion to close the most profitable nuclear plant in the United States," Matt Fossen, a spokesman for Stop the Millstone Payout Coalition, said in a statement. "To put things in perspective, those penalties alone would cost nearly as much as Dominion paid for Millstone in the first place."
The group highlighted the analysis showing that if Millstone closed now, Dominion would have to pay nearly $1 billion to get out of its capacity obligation through 2021 and additional costs for not notifying ISO-NE that it is withdrawing from an auction for 2021-22.
In response to the report, Dominion spokesman Kenneth Holt said in an email that: "For months, the companies behind Stop The Millstone Payout have said that it would be impossible for Millstone to shutdown prior to 2022 because of obligations to ISO New England and the market. Now it appears that they agree with what Dominion Energy has maintained all along, that in fact Millstone can be shut down early and the obligations to ISO New England can be met by transferring them to another party or paying a penalty."
"Our focus is on working with the Connecticut Legislature to ensure that Millstone continues to operate, generating reliable, carbon-free electricity while preserving the 1,500 jobs it provides in Connecticut," Holt added.
Dominion, which is conducting a "strategic assessment" of its plans for Millstone, is seeking legislation that would enable the company to sell Millstone's nuclear power to utilities through a state-sponsored bid process.
Under an order from Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority are working to complete a study of Millstone's economic viability to deliver to the legislature and governor by Feb. 1, 2018.