Connecticut regulators revise zero-carbon RFP

02 August 2018

Dominion Energy has welcomed a decision by Connecticut regulators to redefine the "at risk" time period in its request for proposals (RFP) for zero-carbon resources, issued on 31 July. The company expects the Millstone nuclear power plant to be granted at risk status, allowing it to be valued for attributes other than price alone.

Millstone (Image: Dominion Energy)

Connecticut last year passed a law allowing nuclear power plants to bid into markets with other zero-carbon resources such as wind, solar and hydropower. However, the timescale applied to at risk plants in draft versions of the RFP issued by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) would have delayed the inclusion of Millstone - Connecticut's only operating nuclear power plant - until 2023.

Dominion, in comments on the RFP submitted to DEEP, said the proposed delay in Millstone's participation in the zero-carbon procurement programme would increase uncertainty over the plant’s future. Others, including the US Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI), Connecticut's Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA), and a group of Connecticut lawmakers, also wrote to DEEP to express their concern.

DEEP said on 31 July it had received about 70 comments on the draft, which it had "carefully reviewed" before making changes to the final RFP. In the final document, the at risk time period has been brought forward to 1 June 2022. "However, a bidder can rebut this presumption by providing evidence in the PURA 'at risk' proceeding and in its bid submission to DEEP that it should be considered at risk prior to 2022," the RFP says.

Dominion CEO Tom Farrell said the company was pleased DEEP had modified the at risk time period. Speaking at the company's Q2 earnings conference yesterday, he said DEEP had acknowledged that an existing resource determined to be at risk should have all of its attributes valued.

Farrell said the company had already on 1 May submitted a petition for at risk treatment with PURA, which included a "full accounting" of the plant's financials.

"We expect Millstone to be granted 'at risk' status, which means that bids will be judged on price and non-price attributes such as carbon, economic impact and fuel security," he said. RFP bids are due by 14 September and DEEP is expected to select winners by the end of the year, he added, after which winning bidders will execute contracts with local electricity distribution companies and receive final PURA approval early next year.

Millstone is the only operating nuclear power plant in the state of Connecticut. Its two pressurised water reactors have a combined capacity of 2088 MWe, and generate about 45% of the state's electricity.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News