Monday, December 22, 2014

The High-Cost Consequences of New England's Energy Choices

Collage from "Green Lemons into

Why Are My Electricity Bills Getting Higher?

Green Lemons into Lemonade is a Facebook Page of pro-nuclear art and satire.  I think you will like it if you like it (small pun).

The collage above shows the consequences of New England energy choices.  The woman on the left is Patricia Richardson, 78 and retired. She lives in Massachusetts,  has had energy audits on her house, and had insulation installed. Because electricity prices rising by 30 to 45% for the winter, her energy bills are still increasing. She wants to know why the prices are going up, and she doesn't feel she is getting a solid answer. She is quoted in  a New York Times article on the future of energy prices in New England:  Even Before Long Winter Begins, Energy Bills Send Shivers in New England.

Why are prices going up? Part of the answer is that Vermont Yankee (and coal plants) are going off line. The New England gas pipelines cannot carry enough fuel to make up for the electricity production of the shuttered base load plants.

But...besides pipelines....

Another  reason for the high prices is the actions of the women in the right-hand picture.  They are Vermont Yankee opponents, dressed for a fun anti-nuclear demonstration. One carries a sign saying: "Vermont Yankee is Killing Us All."

Decisions and Consequences

New England is closing coal plants and my favorite nuclear plant. Meanwhile, locals fight hard against expanded gas pipelines.  To understand New England energy decisions (and their consequences), I recommend James Conca's clear and well-referenced post at Forbes: Pipeline and Nuclear Shortages Send New England's Utility Bills Soaring.  As Conca writes:

Not sure why New Englanders are so surprised (at the price rises). It was their choice to throw all-in for natural gas and renewables in a land of harsh winters. But they’ve refused to build new gas pipelines. And they’re shutting a nuclear plant that has 20 years of cheap reliable cold-resistant energy left on it.

That pretty much sums up the New England energy scene.  Thank you, James Conca.


Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus said...

I am sorry for the workers at VY. I feel not one iota of pity for the remainder of New Englanders who wanted VY shutdown. Let them fill on on the full measure of the consequences of their foolishness. Sadly, however, them suffering nature's fury of cold this winter will be small consolation to the unemployed from VY.

Travelogue for the Universe said...

Thanks Meredith. I shared this widely. I am a Vermont Yankee proponent and I oppose the proposed Gas pipeline planned from Alberta to N.Y. state via my neighbors' garden in Monkton, Vermont under Lake Champlain to a paper mill. Canadians bought our power, gas companies. Now threatening landowners with eminent domain proceedings. For me, property rights and fairness in permitting is primary. When the power bill goes up, I will remember your words. Mary