Offshore Wind Projects Receive Boost from Massachusetts and Biden Administration

LCG, March 31, 2021--The Governor of Massachusetts signed legislation last Friday that authorizes the state to direct utilities to purchase an additional 2,400 MW of offshore wind energy by 2027.

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NV Energy's Greenlink Nevada Transmission Project Approved by PUCN

LCG, March 25, 2021--The Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUCN) on Monday approved proceeding with NV Energy's Greenlink Nevada transmission and renewable energy initiative. NV Energy's planned investment in Greenlink is over $2.5 billion.

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Industry News

State Continues to Stagger Through Heat Wave It is Not as Bad as the Rest of the Country Thinks

LCG, Aug. 4, 2000--The headline in yesterdays New York Times said "California Electrical System Is on the Verge of Failure." While that may be part of "All the news thats fit to print," its also a bit wide of the mark.

The paper went on to say that "California is at the brink of a breakdown in its power supply." Well, power supply in the state is tight, and there was something of a breakdown yesterday when a 400 megawatt power plant tripped off-line, but still....

This morning, the Akron Beacon-Journal informed its readers "Ohio keeps eye on California utility deregulation, which doubles electric bills and threatens blackouts." Ohio recently passed electric deregulation legislation and now one of its newspapers is saying electric deregulation "doubles electric bills and threatens blackouts."

Let it be shown that there have been no blackouts in California during the recent five-day heat wave, nor have there been brownouts. Those are things more common to the Northeast and Midwest.

As to the doubling of electric bills, that has happened to customers of San Diego Gas & Electric Co. The average householders bill was running about $55 a month through May of this year, but now its more than $100. By the end of summer, that householder will be out about $200.

Also, by the end of September, that householder will have received around $300 from the utility as his share of the profits made by SDG&E when it sold its power plants and as his share of the "competitive transition charge" that ceased when SDG&E paid off its stranded costs.

From this small observatory, it looks like the average householder is going to be something like one C-note ahead at the end of summer, and it is to be hoped he spends that $100 wisely.

Yesterday was just like Wednesday, Tuesday and Monday in California. The California Independent System Operators declared a Stage 2 power emergency, meaning some electricity customers with interruptible contracts went without power. By choosing an interruptible contract, a large customer can save a lot of money on power, but he has to be prepared to curtail operations when power supplies run short.

The federal government doesnt sign interruptible service contracts -- it goes first cabin all the time, for bureaucrats cannot function unless the air-conditioning is set precisely at 70 F. Nonetheless, President Clinton yesterday ordered federal agencies in California to cut their power use by five percent to help out the state.

One of the big causes of power shortages everywhere in the U.S. is the lack of new generation built in the last 10 years. The utilities are getting a lot of heat for that, and they shouldnt be.

Congress discouraged the building of power plants by investor-owned utilities when is passed the Public Utility regulatory Policies Act, the much-despised PURPA. That law was aimed at promoting development of power plants by non-utility companies. It did that, and it also promoted the non-building of power plants by utility companies.

On top of that, the first whiffs of electric deregulation were sniffed in the early 1990s, and with regulatory uncertainty facing them, the investor-owned utilities decided it would be prudent to see what was happening before spending a billion or so dollars of borrowed money on 1,000 megawatts of new generation.

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