When a nuclear plant that supplies 4% of the power to a region shuts down, something must replace it. In New England, natural gas will replace Vermont Yankee nuclear power. However, natural gas prices can spike much higher in the winter, as more people use it for heat.
The pending closure of a 41-year-old nuclear plant located in Vermont will likely affect both natural gas and electricity markets throughout New England. Entergy Corporation’s August 27 announcement of the closure of the Vermont Yankee plant cited economic challenges to continued operations at the 604-megawatt plant, which since 2007 has generated about 4% of New England’s total annual electricity supply. The shutdown is expected in fourth-quarter 2014.