Vermont Yankee: Aftermath
Vermont Yankee’s closing challenges Hydro-Québec, Green Mountain Power, Vermont Gas Systems and Gaz Métro, majority-owned by gouvernement du Québec, and international natural-gas supplier TransCanada of Calgary, Alberta (owner of most hydro dams and power plants on the Connecticut and Deerfield rivers).
The New England electric grid includes a 345,000-volt interstate highway for electricity that connects to Vermont at Vernon via a new $55 million switch yard not owned by Entergy and also connects to New York and New Brunswick, but not to Québec (ISO New England geographic transmission map).
The missing link is extending the Vernon-to-New Haven segment through Highgate into Québec via the existing lower-voltage transmission line’s right of way, avoiding obstacles that are thwarting the proposed Northern Pass transmission line through New Hampshire.
Until then, replacement electricity from New England, New York and New Brunswick, not from Hydro-Québec, will power much of Vermont via Vernon after Vermont Yankee closes.
What if (employee-owned?) Vermont Yankee were converted to spin its steam turbine by burning natural gas to boil the water? This would economically justify extending the Vermont Gas Systems pipeline to deliver TransCanada’s Alberta natural gas to southeastern Vermont with widespread economic benefits.
Required to host a derelict nuclear power plant and its lifetime nuclear fuel during many decades until the land can be reused, Vernon should receive an annual hosting fee equivalent to Vermont Yankee’s current annual property tax payments indexed for inflation.
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