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 to Probe PG&E Load Shedding Policy

LCG, Aug. 14, 2000--Pacific Gas & Electric Co. is dusting off a long-standing but unused load shedding policy that would give some large industrial and commercial customers immunity from random blackouts when the lights blink out at other locations in their neighborhoods.

According to a report published yesterday in the Sacramento (Calif.) Bee, PG&E account managers are "quietly" getting the word out to big power users that if the agree to reduce power consumption on demand, the utility will keep the power flowing. The paper pointed out that small commercial and residential customers are excluded from the program.

Loretta Lynch, president of the California Public Utilities Commission, has promised to investigate the program. "To get an absolute right not to be blacked out is a bit much," she said. The PUC, the state attorney general and a special panel set up by Gov. Gray Davis are investigating Californias deregulated electric industry, which has been blamed for soaring residential electric bills in San Diego.

Recent high temperatures -- another siege of heat is forecast for this week -- has kept the California Independent System Operator at the point of ordering a "Stage 3 Alert," which would trigger rolling blackouts. Only recently have officials become concerned whether the risk of being blacked out is evenly distributed.

On June 14, 97,000 San Francisco Bay Area electric customers in all classes had their power cut for about an hour when there wasnt enough electricity to go around. The outages were blamed on a heat wave, but the real reason was an insufficiency of generation in the region. That resulted in a low-voltage indication at PG&Es Hayward substation, and that in turn triggered the outages.

Californias booming high-tech economy has not only created a huge demand for electricity, it is churning out products that themselves require more electricity. At the same time, regulatory uncertainty throughout the 1990s dampened utilities enthusiasm for investing in new power plants. Add to that federal encouragement of non-utility investment in power plants through the Public Utility Regulatory Policy Act -- the hated PURPA which required utilities to buy power from independent "qualifying facilities" -- and you have a predictable power shortage.

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