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

California Capsule: New Power Contracts Not Enough

LCG, March 6, 2001California Gov. Gray Davis said yesterday that the state has signed 40 long-term contracts with 20 energy producers and marketers for 7,000 megawatts of electric power. That's about one-sixth of what the part of the state he's buying power for needs on a warm summer day.

"These agreements are the bedrock of our long-term energy policy," the governor said. "Yes, we have more to do, particularly to get through this summer. But our energy future looks a lot brighter now that we have reliable power locked down at reasonable rates."

For the first five years, the reasonable rate and this is wholesale, now will average $79 per megawatt-hour. A little less than a year ago, Duke Energy Corp. offered the state, or any utility in it, 2,000 megawatts of capacity for $50 per megawatt-hour, but had no takers. The utilities were prevented by law from dealing directly with Duke and the state wasn't interested.

Nevertheless, Davis said "These transactions will keep (prices) within the rate base."

The money to pay for the power will come from a $10 billion issue of revenue bonds. The California Department of Water and Power, which will act as purchasing agent, has already spent more than $3 billion of the state's general fund money to pay for recent purchases.

And there was more news from the most populous state.

  • When some self-appointed consumer watchdogs complained that the state was locking itself in to high power prices, blunt-spoken S. David Freeman, head of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and Davis' lead advisor on the power purchase negotiations, said "I don't know what the price is going to be eight years from now. But all those yahoos who are so certain that the price is going to be below (what we're agreeing to) don't know either. There's at least as much of a chance that the prices will be higher."

  • Jan Smutny-Jones, executive director of the Independent Energy Providers, said his trade group was all for the governor's long-term contracts but noted "Many of our companies were offering long-term contracts to the utilities last summer that would have dramatically reduced the cost of power and helped the current crisis."

  • The California energy crisis has breathed new life into the corpse of the Auburn Dam Project, a huge project once proposed for the American River. The project was authorized in 1965 and would have created a 20-mile impoundment on the middle fork of the American, with flood control and water storage as its main purpose. Although $300 million in federal money has been spent on the proposed dam, the project ran into so many stumbling blocks it was an easy target for environmentalists and was killed in 1996. Now, with electric power the problem, California state Sen. Rico Oller has introduced legislation calling for a statewide vote on issuing revenue bonds to finish the dam.

  • With natural gas prices easing nationwide, things were looking up for electric power generators in California until yesterday. Transwestern Pipeline Co., a unit of Enron Corp., said it would need to cut off two thirds of the flow on its system in the Southwest for a day's maintenance. That sent gas prices at the Southern california Border delivery point back into the low-$30 range, a jump of about 20 percent.

  • In its lead editorial yesterday, the Wall Street Journal said Gov. Davis' handling of the electric mess in his state "has given new meaning to the term no-brainer."

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