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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

California Capsule: Davis Unveils Power Rescue Plan

LCG, May 1, 2001California Gov. Gray Davis more or less acceded yesterday to long-standing demands by Republican state legislators that he must divulge details about the state's power purchases before he can expect support for any of his initiatives.

Some of the governor's plans need Republican support, even in the heavily Democratic state legislature. A bill authorizing sale of $12.5 billion in state bonds to finance power purchases, for example, requires a two-thirds majority, and that means Republican votes.

Yesterday, Davis sent his top lobbyists around with an inch-thick compendium of tables, bar charts, projections and assumptions. But lawmakers looking for the details on power purchase contracts entered into by the California Department of Water Resources were unable to find them.

The governor's cabinet secretary, Susan Kennedy, warned the legislators that an "Armageddon scenario" would take place this summer if they didn't buy the package and, in San Francisco, Davis told a high-tech business group "We are going to have to set the Guinness Book of Records in this state in order to avoid disruptions this summer."

Unable to find meaning in either statement, lawmakers turned their attention to assumption upon which the governor's 67-page presentation was based: Californians will respond to calls for conservation by sharply cutting back on their power use this summer. The water agency will be able to purchase power this summer for $195 per megawatt-hour on the spot market. Nine-tenths of the state's alternative generators will be back on line by June. The deal for purchase of transmission assets from Southern California Edison Co. will be completed as planned. More.

"The administration's plan makes some assumptions, as any plan must," said state Treasurer Phil Angelides. "The question is, are they reasonable assumptions, and what do we need to do collectively to make this plan succeed?"

"Their assumptions are nothing more than educated guesses," grumped Republican Assemblyman Tony Strickland of Thousand Oaks. "And the educated guess of the legislature was that we wouldn't be in the power buying business in the first place."

"Many of the assumption are questionable and there is no answer as to what will happen if the assumption prove incorrect," echoed Sun Valley Assemblyman Keith Richman, also a Republican.

The governor hopes that Californians will cut back electricity use 10 percent, all by themselves. But last summer, even in the face of electric bills that more than double from May to July, San Diegans failed to reduce their need for the power that ran their air conditioners and diversions.

The idea that the water agency will find spot power available during the heat of summer for only $195 per megawatt-hour is even more ludicrous, considering that is 40 percent less than it is paying today during a period of benign weather that has seen no power emergencies declared. Try $500 per megawatt-hour in July, and you'll be close.

The forecast that 90 percent of the small, independent power plants that provide a fourth of the state's power will be back on line next month also drew skepticism. "That is complete lunacy at this point," said Jerry Bloom of the California Cogeneration Council. "The assumption simply does not reflect the reality of the market. It shows once again that the governor is not listening."

But the governor is listening to that inner voice that keeps tallying votes in future elections.

And there is more mourning news from California.

  • Davis is trying to convince a Pacific Gas & Electric Co. creditors' committee that the best way for them to get some of their money back is to support his plan to by the utility's transmission assets. The governor hopes that the committee, which will play an important part in any reorganization plan that is ultimately worked out in Judge Dennis Montali's U.S. Bankruptcy Court, can somehow get the transmission assets for the state. SoCal Ed has agreed to sell it's transmission system to the state for $2.76 billion, but that is far from a done deal. PG&E and San Diego Gas & Electric Co. have spurned the governor's offer of what he calls a "bailout" for the utilities.

  • A measure that would impose an excess profits tax on California power producers cleared the state Senate Appropriation Committee yesterday on a 7-3 vote. The bill would force generators to return to the state 100 percent of the money collected above what the California Public Utilities Commission decided in its wisdom were "reasonable" prices. The bill is aimed at AES Corp., Duke Energy Corp., Dynegy Inc., Mirant Corp. and Reliant Energy Inc.
    State Sen. Nell Soto, a Pomona Democrat, thinks a "reasonable" wholesale price for electricity would be $80 per megawatt-hour.

  • The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission yesterday suggested a surcharge on wholesale electricity sales in California to pay generating companies for the past due bills run up by the state's investor-owned utilities. While not a formal notice of proposed rulemaking, and in fact carrying very little weight at all, the idea aroused a storm of protest from the usual sources.
    "Under the pretense of helping California, (FERC) is proposing to steal additional money from California ratepayers to pad the pockets of the greedy energy companies," said the governor. "FERC does not care one whit about the ratepayer. Their plan is a total capitulation to the energy companies."
    The surcharge would "ensure that power companies get fully paid for their price gouging," whined Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat. "That is outrageous and will further alienate Californians."
    FERC asked for comments on whether the surcharge "would help to increase production by creating a greater assurance that generators will be paid."

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