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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: Regulators Okay Electric Rate Hike

LCG, March 27, 2001The California Public Utility Commission yesterday disclosed plans to raise retail electric rates substantially, with the biggest increases hitting business customers who will then pass them along to their customers.

"It's time to pay the power bills for California," said PUC President Loretta Lynch. "We have unfortunately come to the conclusion that a rate increase is needed."

It was a conclusion not shared by the man who appointed Lynch to her office, Gov. Gray Davis. Steve Maviglio, the governor's press secretary, insisted that Davis had nothing to do with the rate hike. "He has not signed off on this," Maviglio said. "The PUC is an independent body (and) does what it wants."

That may preserve Davis' stance as unwilling to impose measures not "within the existing rate structure" but Lynch could emerge as the only Democrat in California with the strength to take unpopular action that will solve the state's energy crisis.

The immediate increase, according to Lynch, must be equivalent to 3 cents per kilowatt-hour. That could mean an initial rate hike of about 30 percent for retail customers and comes on top of an earlier 10 percent increase. The PUC president said she didn't envision further rate increases this year but wouldn't rule them out.

Lynch pointed to a great many things bearing on future rates, including the need for the state to be repaid for power purchases already made and the governor's many "initiatives," such as state ownership of the utilities' transmission systems and a $10 billion (going on $23 billion) bond issue to pay for future long-term power purchase contracts.

Another thing that could affect future power prices is the future cost of power. Southern California Edison Co. said in a statement that it hoped the PUC would structure its rate increases in such a way as to meet unknown future shifts in the costs of generation.

There was more California news than you really wanted.

  • In Washington, D.C., a group of Republican Congressmen under the leadership of Texas Rep. Joe Barton, chairman of the House Commerce Subcommittee on Energy, sent to the White House a 17-step recommendation for emergency measure to ease the power crisis in the West. Among the suggestions was one which would have the U.S. Navy berth a few nuclear-powered ships in California ports and hook their reactors up to the state transmission grid. The Navy, which has only half the ships it did during the Reagan presidency, wasn't consulted.
    A major recommendation by the lawmakers was for new construction to relieve a major bottleneck in the north-south California transmission system. The so-called "Path 15" line would be expanded as rapidly as possible using both federal funds and federal clout. The Western Area Power Administration would be told to "get it done."
    Other recommendations include making federal and Indian lands available for building new power plants, operation of portable generators on military bases, relaxation of some environmental rules and allowing states to adjust Daylight Savings Time.

  • In the California state Assembly, Republicans sacked their leader and replaced him with Assemblyman Dave Cox, who is expected to be more effective in the energy crisis because he is a former board member of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District and generally familiar with power issues. Cox is also seen as both more competitive and more moderate than soft-spoken conservative Bill Campbell. Republicans hold only 29 of the Assembly's 80 seats.

  • Shares of PG&E Corp., owner of Pacific Gas & Electric Co. and SoCal Edison's parent Edison International Inc. surged in late trading yesterday after news of the proposed rate increase broke. PG&E closed on the new York Stock Exchange at $13.75, up $3.10, and Edison rose $3.35 to close at $14.55. The stock of Sempra Energy Corp., owner of San Diego Gas & Electric Co., also rose on the news, gaining $1.93 to $23.00.

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