Letters 2 – 2 – 2011

Look at the facts concerning closing Vermont Yankee

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Vermont needs electricity – safe, clean, affordable, and reliable electricity. If Vermont Yankee closes as some in Montpelier would have it close, Vermont’s single largest source of baseload, reliable, non-carbon electricity will disappear in 13 months. So let’s look at the alternatives:

Hydro Quebec – according to a WCAX report on the IBM testimony at the Statehouse, it can’t give us much more than it already has, due to transmission capacity being just about “maxed out”. Until someone strings more lines between northern Quebec and Vermont, we need not look north for a further large allotment of power.

Renewables and efficiency – a report issued by the Partnership last year (see on www.vtep.org) looked at all of the potential renewable power proposals and efficiency trends and determined that if everything works out well for them, they may provide another 90 or so megawatts in the next 5-10 years. It could be more, or less. Everything is fluid. But barring a major unforeseen sea change, that’s the most we’ll get out of that sector.

So for the next few years, anyway, that leaves two options: relicensing Vermont Yankee or dramatically increasing our dependence on southern New England fossil fuel power.

Fossil fuel plants in southern New England. On the plus side, the cost is cheap – for now, as we emerge from a recession and have an oversupply of fuels. The grid’s operator, ISO-New England, projects power reserves will decline in the coming decade (although there will still be some surplus). The economy appears poised to improve somewhat, at least we all hope so. Therefore – the cost of grid power will rise.

If Vermont Yankee closes, grid power will be reliable for Vermont only after the region’s transmission system has been reworked. You can’t just pluck a 620 MW generator out of the system and not expect significant changes in electricity “traffic patterns.” We don’t know how much it will cost; a report by ISO-New England is due out sometime this year. It is safe to say that Vermont will be on the hook for a little, or a lot.

And grid power is undeniably high in fossil-fuel pollution. The region’s five largest point sources of acid rain and smog emissions are electrical generation power plants (source: U.S. EPA). Almost half of the region’s worst 117 point sources for other air toxics are from electric generation (EPA). And of course it is high in carbon and nuclear is not.

And aside from serious issues with reliability and pollution, there is the terrible hit our economy will take when all of those jobs and taxes leave the State of Vermont. State policy pundit Eric Davis said this week on the Mark Johnson show that our utilities are seriously considering grid power as a major source of replacement power if Vermont Yankee closes.

It all gets back to looking at the facts, and what’s good for all Vermonters. A good power deal between utilities and Vermont Yankee and a resolution of decommissioning, etc. is well worth considering as a solution for Vermont’s safe, clean, affordable and reliable energy needs.

Guy Page

Vermont Energy Partnership

Legislature not listening to people on health care

I read roughly the Hsaio report which looked eerily like Medicare PPS system and other complicated messes. This has nothing to do with “health” or “care”. Instead it is all about the money.

I am disappointed the legislature wastes time ramming this down our throat when I had hoped they would address Property Taxes and that system out of control.

The report in particular had misleading comments like preventive health is free. It is not free. Also that a hospital stay might only cost you 5 percent…That could be $500 or $50,000. And wait until the waivers come in. You bet the teachers won’t be on this plan.

We nearly lost our house and 58 acres in 2009 to town tax policy after being 9 months late paying. Now they want to take my health care which are the main reasons I work:

Home and health care.

I am happy with my system along with many others. It is unfortunate that the legislature will not listen to me and the newspapers will not tell my story. So keep up your good work at giving a Vermonter’s viewpoint I share.


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