Two months ago, I noted that ISO-NE refused to let Vermont Yankee drop out of the 2013 power auction.
Since it is not clear that Vermont Yankee will be operating in 2013, I found this announcement strange. The grid operator (ISO-NE) won't let Vermont Yankee drop out of an auction? Huh? The news appeared and disappeared in local newspapers with the speed of a greased pig escaping its captors. Now you have it, now you don't. Where did it go?
Yesterday, ISO-NE explained the situation more clearly. "Melting transmission lines" is more understandable than the statement: "Vermont Yankee must stay in the forward power auction."
ISO-NE Talks About Reliability
As the Brattleboro Reformer reports:
The computer simulated assessment from the Independent System Operator (ISO) New England reports Vermont and New York could face overloads -- defined as more electricity flowing through the system's equipment than it can handle, which could lead to the lines heating up, sagging, possibly melting and eventually shutting down -- in the system if the nuclear facility goes out of service once its license expires in roughly 17 months.....
The head of VELCO, a Vermont transmission utility, doesn't see Vermont as having a problem, but he does see New Hampshire as possibly affected:
Chris Dutton, CEO of Vermont Electric Power Company, Inc. (VELCO), said problems within the state would likely revolve around low voltage issues -- such problems are likely resolvable with minor equipment modifications in different substations.
"In New Hampshire, however, it appears the situation is more acute and that there will actually be lines that overload if Vermont Yankee is not relicensed," he said.
Dutton then talks about N minus one reliability criteria a bit, but I didn't find the article particularly easy to follow on this point. Also, ISO says there will be a problem in Vermont, but Dutton thinks it will be a problem in New Hampshire, not Vermont. I think more clarity is still in order.
The Energy Education Project Presentation
In the first meeting of the Energy Education Project, I gave a presentation on grid reliability and electricity pricing. I include a short YouTube of the reliability section of the talk.
Despite the disagreement about what state will get creamed, the bottom line is very simple. Local grid reliability requires Vermont Yankee.