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New York Poised to Close Last Coal-fire Power Plant

LCG, December 4, 2019--The last operating coal-fired power plant in New York is moving toward closure shortly. Last month, Somerset Operating Company, a subsidiary of Riesling Power LLC, submitted a request to the New York State Public Service Commission (NYSPSC) to waive the state's required, 180-day notice to close the Somerset Station, allowing the facility to be retired on February 15, 2020. Closure is contingent on approvals by both NYSPSC and the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO), which will evaluate if it will cause an adverse effect on grid reliability.

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Construction Commences on Enel’s Aurora Wind Farm in North Dakota

Enel Green Power North America, Inc. (“EGPNA”), the US renewable energy company of the Enel Group, has started construction of the 299-MW Aurora Wind Farm in North Dakota.

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Industry News

Silicon Valley Vulnerable to Power Problems

LCG, Sept. 12, 2000San Jose, Calif., which bills itself as the "capital of Silicon Valley," is the Northern California city most likely to experience a major electric power failure in the next five years, the San Jose Mercury News said this morning, citing the state's Independent system Operator.

The question came up because of a 600 megawatt power plant proposed by Calpine Corp. which would be built on the south edge of town. The company announced the plant in February 1999 and had hoped to have all necessary approvals for the Metcalf Energy Center secured by now, but there is some local opposition.

Cal-ISO supported the Metcalf plant, which would be built off Monterey Road near a Pacific Gas & Electric Co. substation in a recent letter, but the paper found residents in the mostly industrial neighborhood who were willing to say "not in my back yard."

One of them, Issa Ajlouny, told the paper the power plant "doesn't belong in the neighborhood, especially when no power is needed." Ajlouny must not have heard that electric bills in San Diego have almost tripled during the summer because power demand exceeds supply in California.

If Silicon Valley is vulnerable to power shortages, it can be said the problems is largely of its own making. The Wall Street Journal noted last Thursday that the electric load of some high tech firms in the area is that of a steel mill or a small town.

Sun Microsystems presents the electric generation sector with a 26 megawatt demand, the Wall Street noted, and Oracle has a load of 13 megawatts. Intel, Apple, Hewlett-Packard, Memorex, Xerox, IBM and scores of other large companies weren't even mentioned.

None of those companies was there when the last power plant was built in the area. Nor were the people who work for the companies, and go home to houses with a dozen or more electrical necessities such as big-screen television, computers and air-conditioning.

Pacific Gas & Electric Co. spokesman Ron Low told the Mercury News "What you heard from the ISO is accurate," and PG&E should know. It has been serving the area for a hundred years and recently conducted an exhaustive study of its power infrastructure, looking into things that could go wrong.

The utility found that 20 worst-case contingencies could occur in San Jose. San Francisco was runner-up with seven.

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