Vernon Supports Natural Gas Plant Near Former VY Reactor

Mar 1, 2016

The town of Vernon strongly supports a plan to build a natural gas power plant near the shuttered Vermont Yankee nuclear reactor.

Residents on Town Meeting Day overwhelmingly backed a non-binding vote that was held to give developers an idea of support for the project.

The Vernon Planning Commission has been meeting with developers for about a year, but the town planners said the project wouldn't move forward without support from the town.

On Town Meeting Day Vernon voted 677-153 to back the plan.

Don Campbell is an energy advisor who's been working on the project.

"I think what it says is that this town understands energy,” Campbell says. “And that it sends a message that a development of this scale is something that's possible in Vermont."

Kinder Morgan wants to build a natural gas pipeline that will run within seven miles of Vernon.

And with the Velco switchyard outside of Yankee, Campbell says Vernon is primed to host the 600-megawatt power plant.

Campbell says he has investors who are ready to put up the $10 million to $12 million that'll be needed just to do preliminary planning work on the $750 million project.

And he says if the natural gas pipeline is extended into Vernon it could help the entire region.

"Vernon's support was always a gating item, and until we'd established that this was something that was consistent with the community's goals and objectives," Campbell says. "We didn't want to go beyond this and talk about the implications for Windham County, the southern Vermont region and the state."

The Town Meeting Day vote sends a clear sign that Vernon is ready to take the next step, and Campbell says he's eager to contact his investors and move the project forward.