|Howard Shaffer III|
ANS Vermont Grassroots project
Operating Vermont Yankee is Vermont’s “Fair Share” of the Grid
Operating Vermont Yankee is in the Public Good because it is Vermont’s “Fair Share” of the New England grid. Vermont depends on the grid and also supports the grid. The grid is a shared resource and commitment, between all the members. For the overall good, all members must accept things that may not be optimum for them, or things that they don’t agree with, or like.
Vermont depends on the grid to supply its out of state power, and to buy its excess power.
Vermont Yankee (VY) is not currently selling its power to Vermont, but this is not all it contributes. VY provides capacity to the grid that does not emit CO2. Without VY, gas plants would run to provide the difference, in the short and medium term. The New England carbon footprint is more than it can be without VY. This diminished CO2 emission is part of Vermont’s contribution to the region.
Without VY the grid will be less robust than it is with the plant. The grid operator has said it will be adequate without VY, but with it the grid will be better, by having more capacity available for emergency situations.
The VY plant provides reactive power services to the grid at its location. Without the plant the compensation would have to be provided from other sources or equipment.
The items to be considered for the Public Good speak of out of state projects that benefit Vermont, but not the opposite situation. The items don’t seem to address the situation of a project in Vermont that does not sell power to the state, yet supports the whole grid, and provides other interstate benefits.
The concept of “Fair Share” may be illustrated by asking Vermonters if they still want gasoline for their vehicles. If they say “Yes” then ask them if they will accept a refinery in the state. If they oppose a refinery, yet still want gas, ask them how it is fair that some other location and people bear the burden of the refinery for them.
Howard Shaffer, PE, Vermont license 5419
Howard Shaffer was a startup engineer and a systems engineer at Vermont Yankee and several other power plants. He is a long-time member of the American Nuclear Society (ANS), and was an ANS Congressional Fellow in 2001. Read more about Shaffer's background in Monday Blue Ribbon, Howard Shaffer and Public Outreach.
Shaffer and I work together closely on energy education and pro-nuclear advocacy. We both received ANS Presidential Citations this year. Shaffer blogs each month at ANS Nuclear Cafe, and is a frequent guest blogger on this blog.
This is the third in a series of posts which share statements made in favor of Vermont Yankee at the Public Service Board hearing on November 7, 2012.