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Texas Solar Project Sold to CIP

LCG, July 31, 2020—An affiliate of Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners has completed purchase of a 350 MW solar photovoltaic project near the Houston metro area from Solar Plus Development Inc. and Avondale Solar.

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PG&E and Tesla Commence Construction on the Moss Landing Battery Energy Storage System

LCG, July 30, 2020--PG&E and Tesla have commenced construction of the 182.5-MW lithium-ion battery energy storage system (BESS) at PG&E's electric substation in Moss Landing in Monterey County, California.

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Industry News

San Diego Gas & Electric Bills Skyrocket

LCG, July 11, 2000--Electricity customers large and small in the southwest corner of California have seen their electric bills nearly double in the past two months. The typical residential customer can expect to pay more than $100 in July, against about $55 in May.

The utility blames "price spikes" in the cost of wholesale power it purchases to serve its customers for the higher bills, and it blames hot weather for the price spikes. Southern Californias summer hasnt even begun to get warm, so customers wonder what their bills will be like in late August.

When Californias electric restructuring law was enacted in 1996, residential electric rates were frozen until 2004 or until a utility paid off its stranded costs, whichever happened first. SDG&E paid off its stranded costs when it sold its power plants for a lot more than they were worth on the companys books.

Last Friday, SDG&E called for a "summit" meeting on the problem, and will host such a conference tomorrow at the Hilton San Diego Resort, a pleasant air-conditioned venue on Mission Bay. Participants will include officials of the California Independent System Operator, the California Power Exchange, Pacific Gas & Electric Co., Southern California Edison Co., energy service providers and the new owners of the utilitys generating facilities, who are now merchant power producers.

What will come of the meeting remains to be seen, but some observers would not be surprised in the rate freeze were reapplied for SDG&E customers.

State Sen. Steve Peace, a Southern California Democrat who shepherded the restructuring measure through the legislature four years ago, said "Theyre either going to come up with some creative market-based solutions, or theres going to be a shooting war." He agreed that renewal of the rate freeze could be a topic, and said it would have support if no other solutions were offered tomorrow.

One benefit consumers were supposed to get when SDG&E paid off its stranded costs is a cut of the profit the utility made on its power plants. The company plans to return $390 million to its residential and small commercial customers in August.

Sempra Energy Inc., the parent holding company for SDG&E, recently said it expects its profits to exceed analysts estimates for the second quarter. It attributed the good news to increased earnings from its wholesale power business.

The "unbundling" of the electric utility business seems to have made it possible for one unit of an energy company to make good money on wholesale power while another has to raise prices to its retail customers.

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