In 1990, I was one of five legislators to introduce the first climate change legislation that became PA 90-219, An Act Considering Climate Change, the most popular bill of that session.
Back then I considered climate change a national security issue… and I still do. Much of this centers upon the need to decentralize the power grid. Decentralization entails using many smaller power plants located close to the points of end use rather than using large plants requiring extensive transmission facilities. The latter also creates more energy losses as well as making us more vulnerable. So, as we prepare as best we can for climate change mitigation and adaptation, decentralization of the electric grid is a must
It is the huge degree of centralization that is one major reason I oppose the construction of the Killingly plant. I also oppose it on environmental grounds since it also adds huge amounts of use of natural gas leading to more CO2, not less. These topics, which DEEP, PURA and the governor’s own advisors seem to have discounted, are near and dear to me. Having had a military background, I look at climate change issues through an energy security lens and the Killingly plant does not pass the muster for multiple reasons. These include but may not be limited to:
1) At 650 MW it further centralizes the electric grid requiring large amounts of vulnerable transmission and distribution
2) The power generated at long distances from the points of end use leading to more outages such as those we have experienced.
3) At that size it makes a great target for either physical and/or cyberattacks.
4) We need to decentralize the grid and this plant is the antithesis of this.
5) Funds that could otherwise go to decentralized renewables are diverted into this project.
I hope DEEP, PURA and the governor will seriously consider these points and the effects of climate change they only claim they are so concerned with. I think the environmental community would be more than pleased to discuss this with DEEP, PURA, and their advisors as well as directly with the governor and offer some well thought out alternatives.
Joel Gordes is an Environmental And Energy Security Consultant from West Hartford.