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

California Capsule: Government as Power Producer?

LCG, Feb. 21, 2001The California state Senate passed a measure that would create a government power authority to buy, build and operate power plants. The bill passed 24-14 on partisan lines with Republicans claiming the legislation would create yet another ineffective bureaucracy. The state Assembly, also controlled by Democrats, will now consider the plan.

State Sen. Steve Peace, the Southern California Democrat who co-authored the 1996 law that created California's power problems, was behind this one, too. He blames Texas companies that purchased some of the power plants sold by California utilities for the state's mess. He urged fellow senators to "either vote for it or you move a resolution to raise the Lone Star flag to the top of the capitol and give up the ghost."

The legislation would allow the state to issue up to $5 billion in bonds to finance the power authorities activities. This would be on top of the $10 billion in bonds that will be issued to finance state power purchases. The taxpayers are going to pay for the mess, which is reasonable because they are also the electric customers who use the power. In November of next year they will be voters.

In other news from the once-Golden State:

  • Customers of the so-far immune Sacramento Municipal Utility District could see an average rate increase of 16 percent in May, just in time for peak usage season. The rate hike proposed yesterday by SMUD would hit farmers and small commercial users hardest with a boost of 25 percent in their bills. The 10 percent of residential customers who use the most power would face increases of 16 percent while the 70 percent of householders who use the least would get no increase at all.

  • Qualifying facilities, those small power producers created by federal legislation as a result of the oil crisis of the 1970s, want their money from Pacific Gas & Electric Co. and Southern California Edison Co. CalEnergy Operating Co., a subsidiary of billionaire investor Warren Buffet's MidAmerican Energy Inc., said yesterday it has sued SoCal Edison in an effort to collect $45 million. At the same time, Ridgewood Power has sued PG&E for an undisclosed amount. There are hundreds of qualifying facilities in California, so look for more lawsuits.

  • In a rare bright spot that could dim in a hurry, Edison International Inc. said yesterday that it and its SoCal Edison subsidiary had been granted additional "forbearance" by bank lenders, granting them more time to clear up defaults under their respective 364-day credit lines. The length of the forbearance was not disclosed, but PG&E said it had been granted a similar extension until March 6.

  • Capstone Turbine Corp., a Southern California-based maker of very small power plants suitable for installation at industrial and large commercial facilities that want to generate their own power, said yesterday it has opened a California sales office. Capstone pointed out that its units, unlike conventional "backup" generators, can be operated around the clock, every day of the year.

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