October 11, 2017

CT Construction Digest Wednesday October 11, 2017

With no plan for replacing Millstone, what are CT’s options?

For the third time in less than a year-and-a-half, the Connecticut legislature has come close, but still hasn’t approved a plan to boost the finances of the Millstone Nuclear Power Station.
Millstone’s owner Dominion is arguing it needs help because cheap power produced from natural gas is forcing it to consider shutting Millstone down.
But even if legislation does finally pass, it won’t change some basic realities: One day Millstone will close, and Connecticut doesn’t have a plan for that.
With Millstone will go some 2,100 megawatts of carbon emissions-free electricity. The plant is the largest single power source in the New England grid and accounts for nearly one-third of the power in Connecticut. It is critical to getting the state anywhere near meeting its goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Many say the state should have been working on an after-Millstone plan at least since the issue of its closing first came up in early 2016 – but really long before that – a dozen years ago when the licenses for its Units 2 and 3 were extended to 2035 and 2045, respectively. (Unit 1 closed in 1995.)
The question of how to replace Millstone elicits all kinds of ideas. But parameters matter: Are we talking short-term, long-term, cleanly, at what cost to ratepayers? But in a world of changing energy and energy delivery technology, there’s also the idea that all of Millstone’s power doesn’t need to be replaced and that whatever you do, you need to modernize the electric grid too.
“The first thing you do is free yourself from the idea that you do actually have to replace it,” said Karl Rabago, executive director of the Pace Energy and Climate Center at Pace Law School in New York, who has an extensive background as an energy executive and regulator. He also has advised Connecticut legislators and activists on a host of clean-energy matters.
“It’s not a zero-sum game. There are a lot of other resources that can displace the capacity,” Rabago said.
Raw numbers provided by Synapse Energy Economics of Cambridge, Mass., show the loss of Millstone wouldn’t plunge the region off a power cliff. Natural gas units scheduled to come online in the region by 2020 would offset currently scheduled plant retirements. Those are mostly coal plants, though one of the closures is the 670-megawatt Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant in Massachusetts in May 2019.
This expected new capacity does not include plants now in the early planning stage or any of the renewable energy sources under construction or somewhere in the pipeline. Massachusetts alone is requiring the building of 1,600 megawatts of offshore wind and 1,600 megawatts of rooftop solar. Together that’s half-again Millstone’s capacity, even without other grid-scale clean power projects as well as additional rooftop solar.
According to a filing by the Independent System Operator that runs the New England grid (ISO-NE), an overview of power resources with and without Millstone showed that its loss right now would cut into the 16 percent reserve power ISO-NE maintains on the grid.
ISO-NE generally has 34,000 to 36,000 megawatts available. The highest demand ever on the grid was 28,130 megawatts on Aug. 2, 2006. CLICK TITLE TO CONTINUE

Homestead Ave. Repairs Done, Hartford Road Reopened

Homestead Avenue is reopened after workers filled a large void that was discovered under the road’s surface last month.
Metropolitan District Commission workers found the massive void on Sept. 28. Fearing a collapse, the city shut down a section of the heavily-traveled road and started emergency repairs. The road was shut down between Albany Avenue and Woodland Street.
The void was about 20 feet long and 14 feet deep.
The sewer repair and road restoration was finished about 11 p.m. Sunday night, said Kerry Martin, MDC spokeswoman.
Some cleanup work will be done at the work site on Monday, Martin said, and heavy equipment will be removed on Tuesday.
The 93-unit apartment building under construction on Broad Street is running more than 18 months behind schedule with a new target opening of summer 2018.Heavy rainstorms last year caused extensive water damage throughout the building. The cleanup, repair and rebuild will continue through the winter and spring.
Despite the delays, optimism about the influx of more than 100 new residents has soared. New restaurants and shops have opened recently and three engineering firms just moved about 200 employees into the city center.
Hajjar Management Co., which also owns the 12-story MiddleOak office tower next to the new apartment building, announced the project at the end of 2014. The six-floor building will have mostly one-bedroom units with a handful each of studio and two-bedroom units. About 2,500 square feet of commercial space is available on the ground level.
City officials have been anxiously touting the project as a turning point for Middletown. The new residents will be a block from the library and the movie theater and just a few minutes’ walk from every downtown restaurant.
Hajjar will be the first to enter an untested upscale residential market in the downtown area, and if the project is successful it could propel a new wave of business development, restaurant openings and more new housing, leaders say.
That confidence remains steady, but the developer still has a lot to do to meet its new estimate of a summer 2018 move-in for the future tenants.
“It’s like taking apart a jigsaw puzzle piece by piece,” said Hajjar Management Co. Chief Operating Officer Paul Mahoney. “We’re really excited about where this will be in the end, we just wish it could go faster.” CLCIK TITLE TO CONTINUE