Saturday, November 10, 2012

Vermont's Fair Share of the Grid: Howard Shaffer Guest Post

Howard Shaffer III
Professional Engineer
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.

Respectfully submitted

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.


William H. Schulze said...

My testimony, from the PSB Hearing.
Members of the Public Service Board, good evening:
My name is William Schulze, I’m a employee of Entergy/Vermont Yankee.
Nearly 33 years ago, I decided that my future and the future of my family would be spent in the Green Mountain State and came to work for the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Corporation.
I’m one of those “650 good paying (Vermont Yankee) jobs” that you’ve heard tell about.
I started at an entry level position in the Operations Department, and after an intense training period, received my NRC Reactor Operator’s License then (after an even more intense period of training) my NRC Senior Reactor Operator’s License.
For the last 16 years, I’ve been training operators to obtain and then to maintain their own NRC licenses.
That’s where I’m coming from…
This Certificate of Public Good, as I understand it, it is a device that the state of Vermont uses in order to ensure that a business’s operation will be both beneficial to people of the state of Vermont and at the same time not detrimental ( a pretty reasonable method to look out for the continued welfare of the folks who live here).
Over the years, Vermont Yankee has petitioned for and received these certificates from the PSB for changes in the facility such things as power up-rate, and spent fuel storage.
Vermont Yankee is one of the main reasons why Vermont has the second-lowest per-capita carbon footprint of any state in the U.S. Since 1972, operating Vermont Yankee has prevented 50 million tons of carbon and other pollutants from being released into the environment.
Since 2002, Vermont Yankee has saved its New England customers approximately $330 million in electricity rate savings compared to the price of purchasing that same power from the electrical spot market.
In 2011, Entergy Vermont Yankee contributed approximately $435 thousand dollars to the community through Entergy open grants, the Entergy Charitable Foundation, site sponsorships, annual events.
Also, Vermont Yankee and its employees have provided millions of dollars in economic benefits to the Vermont economy, through payroll, state and local taxes, and the purchase of goods and services from local businesses.
From my perspective, looking at the all the environmental and economic positives that continued operation of the Vermont Yankee facility would present to both the New England region as well as the people of Vermont, it makes just plain good sense to issue Entergy Vermont Yankee a certificate of Public Good.
I urge you to approve and issue it.
Thank you for your kind consideration.

Meredith Angwin said...

Mr. Schulze

Thank you for sharing your testimony.

Did you speak at the meeting? I am trying to get some of the testimony as guest posts, particularly if the person spoke at the meeting and I can get a picture. Stephanie Thomson from VTEP took quite a few pictures, and so did Howard Shaffer.

I was in a carpool that had to leave around 9. I missed the last speakers.