Last summer, VPIRG issued a report Repowering Vermont, explaining how renewables will provide power after (they hope) Vermont Yankee is closed. I discussed this report to some extent in my recent post on the Legislative Consensus economic report.
The Group and The Evaluation
I belong to a group, Coalition for Energy Solutions. We are all local energy professionals: one physicist, one chemist (me), and four engineers. Some of us have active careers and companies, some are semi-retired. At any rate, we felt that this VPIRG report overstated the ease of replacing Vermont Yankee with renewables, and understated the costs. (Actually, they didn't state the costs.) We began doing research for a report on the costs and engineering feasibility of their recommendations.
It has been a long road, in which we evaluated the capacity factors of wind farms in Maine, called foresters to assess the sustainable yield of our northern forests, and tried to assess the costs and reliability of cow power. And of course, we argued with each other, and improved our estimates, and argued and improved some more. All six of us seem to be from Missouri...Show Me! We finally finished the report: well-documented, a little geeky, low on graphics, but we backed up every straight-forward number, and argued out every estimated factor. Let's put it this way: I think it's the best report out there on renewables for Vermont, and I'm not just saying that because I am one of the authors.
So, now it's Showtime! We are having a press conference at the Statehouse in Montpelier to launch the report tomorrow afternoon. We all chipped in for xeroxing and we will give a copy to every legislator in Vermont tomorrow. Patty O'Donnell, the representative from Vernon, reserved the room for us. We will be introduced by Representative O'Donnell and Senator Peg Flory, a Senator who voted for Vermont Yankee.
I include the press release below. A summary of the report is on our website, and the entire report can be downloaded from that page of the site. (You don't have to register.)
A Thank You
A huge thank-you to Rod Adams of Atomic Insights for his post about this press conference.
STATE HOUSE - Cedar Creek Room
1:30 -3:00 pm
Subject: Release of Vermont Electric Power In Transition (VEPIT), an Evaluation of the feasibility of the renewable proposals in the 2009 VPIRG report, Repowering Vermont.
The VEPIT Evaluation has been prepared by the Coalition for Energy Solutions, a group of six engineers and scientists from the Upper Valley, four of them Vermonters. They are: Meredith Angwin, Wilder; Steve Fox, South Pomfret; Willem Post, Woodstock; Peter Roth, Quechee; Robert Hargraves, Hanover, NH; and Howard Shaffer, Enfield, NH.
Our Evaluation makes the same assumptions about total electric demand, total purchases from the grid, and complete use of renewables (no extensive gas-fired back-up) as Repowering Vermont. Both Repowering Vermont and our Evaluation assume that Vermont Yankee power will not be available to Vermont. Both consider only the issue of where Vermont (not New Hampshire or Massachusetts) get their energy supply. Both consider solar, biomass, wind, cow power, hydro and landfill methane.
However, our Evaluation also considers the engineering realities of cost, location, and environmental impact. Our evaluation uses appropriate capacity factors for wind, solar, and biomass availability, and documents its sources. The Evaluation uses the best cost data it could find, and documents its sources. Repowering Vermont does not state its capacity factors, and its “economic evaluation” is not traceable.
Our Evaluation separates engineering from policy. It includes some policy recommendations in an Afterword. It finds that the proposed supplies could be built if sufficient funds were available. Building all those renewables will take far longer than estimated in Repowering Vermont, because of the impacts discussed.
Our Evaluation does not discuss Vermont Yankee issues. However, the conclusions of the Evaluation, and the general opinion of the Coalition members, favor extending VY’s license while building renewables at an achievable pace.
Our Evaluation, and more information about the Coalition and its members may be viewed at:http://www.coalitionforenergysolutions.org.
For more information contact Howard Shaffer or Meredith Angwin.