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Federal Government uses UPLAN model to examine price volatility in ERCOT

LCG, October 11, 2022--The U.S. Energy Information Administration, or EIA, released its latest supplement to the Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) in the Texas market, assessing various possible scenarios using LCG’s UPLAN NPM model, with a special focus on the effects on wholesale power prices and market conditions.

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Michigan Governor Supports Reopening Palisades Nuclear Facility

LCG, September 16, 2022--The Governor of Michigan last week sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in support of Holtec International’s application for a federal grant under the Civil Nuclear Credit (CNC) program to save the Palisades Nuclear Facility in Southwest Michigan. The federal grant could result in restarting the baseload, carbon-free, nuclear power plant.

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Industry News

California Capsule: State Assembly Approves Power Authority

LCG, April 27, 2001The California state Assembly yesterday approved a bill that would create a new state power authority that could finance, buy, build and operate electric power plants and would have the power to issue up to $5 billion in revenue bonds to pay for the projects.

The new California Consumer Power and Conservation Financing Authority would "ensure this kind of crisis never happens again," said Assembly Speaker Robert Hertzberg, without explaining how. The Van Nuys Democrat said the authority would provide no more than 15 percent of California's power needs.

Assembly Minority Leader Dave Cox, a Rancho Cordova Republican, said members of his party refused to support the bill, which was approved by a 47-28 vote. He called it "socializing the system."

The measure was returned to the state Senate which will vote on amendments added in the Assembly.

In the state Senate, legislation that would speed up the approval of new power plants stalled when Republicans objected to amendments added by Democrats after a consensus had been reached on the measure. The measure, offered by state Sen. Byron Sher, a Palo Alto Democrat, would expedite the approval process for a new or remodeled power plant by the California Energy Commission and would also limit the amount of time local governments have to offer comments.

The bill was to go to a floor vote as legislation dealing only with approval of new or reconditioned power plants, leaders of both parties agreed. But Assembly Democrats added amendments that would allow workers to collect unemployment insurance if they were forced to leave work because of blackouts.

"This is the time for deals to be kept," said Senate Republican leader Jim Brulte of Rancho Cucamonga.

There was even more clarity elsewhere in the Golden State.

  • Actions taken by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Wednesday to put a cap on wholesale power prices in California had at least one string attached. The state must file a plan for a "regional transmission organization," something it thinks it already has in the form of the California Independent System Operator.
    FERC had required the various segments of the national transmission grid to file such plans in January, but California ignored the deadline. The federal agency is known to be dissatisfied with the state's "stand-alone" ISO and would like to see a regional organization involving other Western States. Such a regional organization would also give FERC greater authority over the electric system in the West.
    FERC Chairman Curt Hbert said "We understand that it's a regional market. Understanding that, we've got to have some type of independent regional transmission entity up and running." But Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham is urging him to go slow on including California, "given fears that California's problems will be imported to a Westwide RTO."

  • The meeting of FERC commissioners Wednesday evening that produced the decision to cap California's wholesale electricity prices was bizarre in itself. Time was short and work was to be done, but if the three commissioners sat down together in a room to hash out the problems the public would have to be invited under open meeting laws.
    So the three sat in their offices, talked to one another with e-mail, and sent clerks up and down halls carrying messages. "It was a little like shuttle diplomacy," said Commissioner Linda Breathitt. "Our offices are all in a line and we were communicating heavily into the evening.
    Breathitt, a Democrat, voted along with Hbert in favor of the price caps, with William Massey, a Democrat, holding out for more activist intervention. Breathitt said Hbert showed the most flexibility, and it "was very hard" for him. "He working in an administration that thinks price caps are part of the witches' brew," she said. "Look at what he voted for: He voted for price caps all the way down to Stage 1. I'm sure he didn't like doing that."

  • California Gov. Gray Davis inched closer yesterday to his prediction that he would personally have 5,000 megawatts of hitherto-unthought-of electric generation on line by July 1 he up to about 55 megawatts so far. The California Energy Commission staff recommended approval yesterday of a 50 megawatt simple-cycle peaking plant to be built in King City. The recommendation was not, however, a final decision. The full five-member commission will vote on the plant on May 2.

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