its third-quarter earnings and The Street published a transcript of its earnings-report conference call. The transcript is quite long. I decided to use some quotes from it as my blog post.
My conclusion: Vermont Yankee employees can be VERY proud of the operation of this plant!
In the quotes below, the speaker is Leo Denault, Chairman and CEO of Entergy. I have made some additions for clarity: additions are in parentheses. Material in bold was also added by the blogger.
Vermont Yankee running very well, breaker to breaker
At Entergy Wholesale Commodities operational performance was once again strong. As I noted earlier, our plants ran well. For example, the extended outage at FitzPatrick came in below the shorter end of our expectations and at VY our employees have kept the plant running for nearly 600 consecutive days now. Remarkably they are on their fourth breaker to breaker run.
But in fact all of our EWC plants play important roles in their respective regions and communities.....
About the plant closure
Let me now turn to Vermont Yankee since I know a lot of you will have questions about its closure. As you may know, in September the plant began its coast down to permanent shutdown which will occur at the end of the year. Last month, as we said we would, Entergy delivered a first of its kind site assessment study to the state of Vermont.....
Using conservative estimates about the growth of the (decommissioning) trust we think it will have enough money to begin such (major) activities in the next 25 to 35 years. At this point we don't expect to add funds into the trust to meet NRC financial assurance requirements.
A tough decision, but the economics were bad
The decision to close the plant was tough. It came with certain risks and challenges. But we planned to meet and manage these challenges thoughtfully which I think we have.
For example, we obtained an order from the Vermont Public Service Board authorizing VY to operate through the end of the fourth quarter. We targeted elimination of overhead associated with the plant and replaced the majority of Vermont Yankee employees wanting to stay with the company in new roles. It is worth reiterating that this was the right decision.
First, we now see an incremental benefit of shutdown versus continued operation of an additional $50 million through 2017. And second, despite the upturn in forward power prices in New England over the past year, economics for VY would still not be sustainable in the long run.
One reason why Pilgrim is different: Capacity Markets
Forward capacity market improvement, through the newly defined constrained zone that spans southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island, is improving the revenue outlook at Pilgrim and RISEC, but VY would not have benefited from this new capacity zone.