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Connecticut's Only Nuclear Plant May Be Allowed To Compete With Renewables

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A state report on Connecticut’s only nuclear plant says the Millstone Power station will be profitable through 2035, while also potentially opening up a new way for one of New England’s biggest generators to sell its power.

The state’s thinking basically boils down to this: under some conditions, Millstone should be allowed to sell its power alongside certain renewables -- like wind and solar.

It’s something called a procurement.

Dominion, owner of Millstone, said falling natural gas prices have cut into its profits and threatened the economic viability of the massive power plant.

In the draft procurement process laid out by the state Monday, Millstone could compete to sell energy alongside renewables -- if it’s in the interest of ratepayers.

Millstone would also need to prove the “financial need” to force such a pricing change, "which hasn’t happened yet,” said Rob Klee, Commissioner of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

Speaking on a conference call, Klee said any changes to how Dominion sells its energy would require it be a lot more forthcoming with its financials.

“This procurement that we’re announcing,” Klee said, “will create that process to actually have the audited financials. The filings under a protective order.”

Dominion failed to fully comply with data requests the state made last year.

Regulators said that means their report released Monday relies largely on “best available” public information.

The plan will now go to the governor and General Assembly for review.

Patrick Skahill is a reporter and digital editor at Connecticut Public. Prior to becoming a reporter, he was the founding producer of Connecticut Public Radio's The Colin McEnroe Show, which began in 2009. Patrick's reporting has appeared on NPR's Morning Edition, Here & Now, and All Things Considered. He has also reported for the Marketplace Morning Report. He can be reached by phone at 860-275-7297 or by email: pskahill@ctpublic.org.

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