IER: New England natural gas use up since closure of Vermont nuclear plant

Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant
Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant | Courtesy of Entergy Corp.

The Institute for Energy Research (IER) said this week that since the closing of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant in Vernon, Vermont, at the end of 2014, natural gas usage has grown in the New England region.

THe IER said energy demand in the region remained consistent in 2014 and 2015. In 2014, 43.1 percent of the region’s energy was supplied via natural gas generation sources. In 2015, usage increased to 48.6 percent.

The IER said this is contrary to what elected officials and environmental groups had said regarding what would replace the plant’s generation capacity. Officials said solar and wind generation would replace the lost nuclear plant's energy output. WInd and solar made up 2.1 percent of New England’s energy in 2014 and 2.4 percent in 2015.

The Vermont Yankee facility was capable of producing 604 megawatts of electricity. Its owner, Entergy Corp., said the company’s decision to close the plant was primarily due to financial concerns and being unable to cover operational costs with service costs, which are regulated.

The IER said the increase in natural gas use is tied directly to the plant’s closure. The report also said several analysts predicted this outcome.

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Entergy Corp Institute for Energy Research

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