1. I just finished writing a short paper briefly looking at the economic impact of using nuclear power on Puerto Rico. One of my main conclusions was that the territory needs to keep electricity prices as low as possible due to its economy’s reliance on manufacturing (ever hear of “Pharmaceutical Row?”). Puerto Rico is taking steps to reduce its dependence on oil, but it isn’t hard for anything other than renewables to be cheaper than #2 fuel oil. The effects of high electricity prices are clearly seen with the IBM plant and it’s very disturbing to see this happening for no other reason than nonexistent long-term planning.

    It’s an embarrassment that a whole region in the MAINLAND is INCREASING its use of oil-fired and natural gas generation which have proven to have storage problems in the winter.

  2. I’m surprised that other states and classes of out-of-state electric customers haven’t sued the state of Vermont for tortious interference for conspiring to shut down Vermont Yankee.

    Yes, the hurt would fall on the Vermont taxpayers, but they are the ones who elected Schumlin and the rest.

    1. @Engineer-Poet

      I’m also surprised that the plant owner did not introduce the argument that Vermont Yankee is a production facility engaging in interstate commerce that should not be required to seek a “certificate of public good” from a single state just because it happens to be located — just barely — inside that state’s borders. When the state government put pressure on Entergy to provide Vermont utilities electricity at a sharply discounted rate compared to the rates charged to everyone else, it was interring in interstate commerce.

      Our representatives signed a document in 1789 or in which we agreed that such arrangements would not be enforceable.

  3. Rod

    I am delighted to see Evan Twarog’s excellent post on this subject. A subject dear to my heart!

    Rod and Engineer-Poet, the Commerce Clause was indeed one of the legal arguments that Entergy made in its lawsuit against the state: that insisting “no Certificate unless Vermont utilities get a really good deal!” was against the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. The judges went back and forth on that one, finally ruling against the state on the narrower grounds that the state pre-empted NRC and federal prerogative on nuclear safety. As I remember (should look it up), Murtha ruled for Entergy on the Commerce Clause, which also meant that the state had violated Entergy’s Constitutional rights and had to pay Entergy’s legal bills. The appeals court ruled for Entergy also, but not so strongly on the commerce clause, so the state didn’t have to pay Entergy’s legal bills, because it was no longer a constitutional matter. This ruling was actually a strong incentive for the state to NOT take the case to the Supreme Court, since a yes-and-then-no ruling like that could easily go back to the original ruling. If it did the State would to pay the legal bills. I should really link to my blog post on this….oh well. Maybe later today.

    Right now, I need to link to this morning’s article in Vermont Digger about the January VY layoffs. Misery.



    Well, here are some of my posts on this. Looking at the first post almost brings me to tears. Law School Professor Cheryl Hanna has since committed suicide.




    1. Wow, I didn’t even realize that that was written by Evan until seeing you point it out, Meredith. The writing was of the same high quality as Rod provides, so I didn’t even note a difference. Good work, Evan (and decide to be a Mechanical Engineer)!

      Rod usually notes that a post is from a guest author.

      1. The Internet and search engines are a strong meritocratic force, bringing the best (regardless of age or paper qualifications) to the top.

        1. It is clearly marked, but I glanced right over it.

          I simply felt the need to point out that it is a credit to his writing skills as a 16 or 17 year old that nothing jumped out to me (as a 30 year old) to think it wasn’t good ‘ole atomicrod’s writing.

  4. Very well-researched article. New England is a microcosm of the entire nation, and the problems with electricity cost, distribution, and reliability are an “early warning signal” to other regions. A similar analysis can made for the west coast and other “energy poor” regions of the U.S.

  5. I am very grateful to live in the U.S. Southeast, where about 5,600 MW of 90+% capacity factor carbon emission-free power will be added to the grids between now and around 2018 or 2019.

  6. “The 2010 Connecticut power plant explosion occurred at the Kleen Energy Systems power station in Middletown, Connecticut, United States at 11:17 am EST on February 7, 2010. The plant had been under construction from February 2008,[2] and was scheduled to start supplying energy in June 2010.[3] The initial blast killed five and injured at least fifty; one of the injured later died in hospital, bringing the total death toll to six.[1][4]”

    Here is another reason the area is short of power generation. Natural gas is dangerous.

  7. One of the questions I have about the emissions data published by the EIA is, whether the gas consumed at the compressors is included. I had a very interesting revelation at the FERC, when my boss, an econometrician, had me working on a comparison of the economic benefits of three competing proposals for transporting Prudhoe Bay gas to the 48 contiguous United States. It turned out that the largest cost difference was the value of the gas burned in the compressors. Admittedly, that was a very long haul — comparable to the Keystone XL proposal.

  8. Any CHP projects under consideration? Seems like the situation you’re describing will present opportunities.

  9. I agree. Anti development, superficial knee-jerk approaches to environmental and climate concerns, and/or NIMBY have overridden reasonable and responsible energy policies. We are already seeing problems.

    Incidentally at least two regional electricity supply groups reported all time highest electricity demand for a November in this latest weather episode.

    PJM 121,987 megawatts (old record 114,699 MW)
    Texas ERCOT 50,677 megawatts (old record 46,954 MW)

    1. “Incidentally at least two regional electricity supply groups reported all time highest electricity demand for a November in this latest weather episode.”

      Does this mean that there will be upcoming transmission projects to bring the power to places where it is needed such as New England and other places where high demand is expected? With all the anticipated coal plant closures, the intermittent supply from wind energy and load growth, I could envision that possibility. What’s the expectation?

      1. I dont know what the plan is. Everyone seemed to be banking on low NG prices and this winter not being as bad as last. It doesn’t look like either is going to hold. Another cold episode is arriving around thanksgiving.

        1. Could the inclement weather prompt the powers at be to keep some plants open that are planned for closure? Those electric rate increases seem rather severe. They sort of remind me of Enron. I wonder if there is another smoking gun story to be told about them.

          It does look like a lot of substation work for years to come.

Comments are closed.

Recent Comments from our Readers

  1. Avatar
  2. Avatar
  3. Avatar
  4. Avatar
  5. Avatar

Similar Posts