4.10.17: Millstone Nuclear Plant Most Profitable in the U.S., According to New MIT Study

For Immediate Release: April 10, 2017



Hartford, CT -- The Millstone Nuclear Plant in Waterford is projected to be the most profitable nuclear plant in the United States between now and 2019, according to new research by the MIT Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research. MIT’s independent research is consistent with a litany of additionally recent data, including a study by Energyzt Advisors, LLC, an analysis by the non-for-profit New England States Committee on Electricity (NESCOE), and other findings by financial analysts – all of which show Millstone remains profitable and financially successful.

“The MIT study definitively concludes that Millstone is not only highly profitable, but that it will in fact be the most profitable nuclear plant in the entire country for the foreseeable future,” said Matt Fossen, spokesman for Stop the Millstone Payout. “We call on Millstone’s owner, Virginia-based Dominion Resources, to stop trying to pull the wool over Connecticut’s eyes. It is time to end this outrageous money grab and stop the Millstone payout.”

The study, titled Early Nuclear Retirements in Deregulated U.S. Markets: Causes, Implications and Policy Options, assesses the financial outlook of nuclear plants across the United States. According to the data, Millstone is the most profitable among the 61 commercially operating plants in the country, with a projected net profit of $14.80 per megawatt hour of energy produced, which translates to approximately $250 million per year.

“The facts are simple: Millstone is vying to get a special deal to pad its bottom line, in order to send that money to their Virginia-based corporate parent and enhance shareholder value,” added Fossen. “At a time when Connecticut faces some of the highest electric rates in the United States, we should be alarmed when an already-profitable plant is claiming it needs more money – courtesy of consumers – to stay afloat. Yet this is exactly what Millstone is doing. Fortunately we now have a huge body of evidence that shines a harsh light on Millstone’s disingenuous claims.”

The MIT findings come on the heels of another recent report, by Energyzt Advisors, LLC (Energyzt), which showed that the ratepayer subsidy proposed by S.B. 106 would cost Connecticut consumers up to $300 million each year. Energyzt’s findings also showed that Millstone has earned around $760 million in after-tax income during the last five years, is projected to earn $400 million in after-tax income over the next five years, and will also receive $800 million in ratepayer funded capacity payments through 2021. The plant is currently receiving $79 million from consumers in such payments, while Dominion Resources earned $2.1 billion in profits last year alone.

Another report, by Bloomberg Intelligence, showed that hoped-for nuclear subsidies throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast could cost consumers as much as $3.9 billion annually on their power bills.

The NESCOE study, performed by London Economics International (LEI), titled Renewable and Clean Energy Mechanisms 2.0 Study – Phase I: Scenario Analysis (Winter 2017), finds that “Under every hypothetical scenario,” New England’s nuclear units, including Millstone, will remain profitable through 2030.

Fossen noted, “The importance of the NESCOE study cannot be over-estimated. It was undertaken on behalf of – and in fact approved by – regional state energy officials, including Connecticut, and it was performed by a not-for-profit entity with assistance from a leading global energy economics consulting firm.”

NESCOE is governed by a board of managers appointed by the Governors of the six New England States and represents the collective perspective of the six New England states with respect to regional electricity matters. 

“We have an important, but fairly obvious choice to make,” concluded Fossen. “We can choose to either believe the consistent findings of leading academic and financial analysts and economic consultants, or we can allow ourselves to be persuaded by the self-serving and unsupported claims of Millstone, which are clearly more motivated by a corporate payout than the facts.”