I read about Sen. Bernie Sanders’ presentation on global warming and the proposed carbon-reduction legislation in the March 14 Burlington Free Press (“Sanders, McKibben to highlight carbon conference Saturday”). While I support Sen. Sanders’ endeavor to maintain Vermont’s low-carbon leadership status, my question is simple: If we want to reduce Vermont’s carbon footprint, why is the state trying to shut down Vermont Yankee?
Not only does Vermont Yankee benefit the state economically, but it for all intents and purposes has zero carbon emissions. Also, the U.S. Energy Information Administration notes that in 2011 three-quarters of the electricity generated in Vermont came from Vermont Yankee.
If the state does succeed in its efforts to close Vermont Yankee, we will lose our largest electricity generator. At present the plant’s power is sold into the New England transmission grid, from which Vermont draws much of its electricity. Closing Vermont Yankee would just mean more activity from fuel-powered electric generators on the New England grid, creating additional carbon and other toxic airborne emissions.
Sen. Sanders’ goals are important for Vermont and New England, but they will be compromised without the clean energy from Vermont Yankee.
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