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ERCOT 2019 Summer Quarter Outlook

LCG, May 29, 2019-- LCG released a new summer (June – September 2019) report that looks at how the ERCOT grid copes with strained network conditions. Resource adequacy analysis for the region is especially important during extreme summer loading conditions. This summer the network is under particular scrutiny as the reserves have tightened because of recent retirements.

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South Field Energy Breaks Ground for 1,182-MW Power Plant

LCG, May 16, 2019--South Field Energy LLC announced yesterday its groundbreaking for an 1,182-MW, combined-cycle electric generating facility in Columbiana County, Ohio. The natural gas-fired facility is scheduled to commence operations in mid-2021 and represents a $1.3 billion investment.

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Industry News

Salmon are Losers in Bonneville's Hydro Plans

LCG, July 2, 2001The Bonneville Power Administration said Friday that what with this year's Columbia River flows perilously close to the lowest year on record it has decided it cannot provide summer spill for migrating salmon.

The big taxpayer-owned utility said it had reached its decision "in consultation with other federal agencies."

A "spill" is diversion of water through channels that permit fish to traverse a dam without being turned into fish meal by the hydroelectric turbines. In the summer, juvenile fish migrate from their birthplaces to the ocean, returning later to spawn.

"Summer spill would reduce power system reliability to an unacceptably low level," said Bonneville's Steve Wright. "With the Columbia Generating Station nuclear plant still down for maintenance and the July early-bird forecast down to a near record-low level, we simply cannot take that risk."

According to the operations plan for 2001 released by the federal agencies on April 13, Columbia River runoff needs to be at least 55 to 56 million acre-feet to be able provide spill for fish and meet system reliability criteria, but the June mid-month forecast shows only 53.9 million at The Dalles, a slim 0.1 million acre-feet above the all-time record low of 53.8 million set in 1977.

The most recent analysis by the Northwest Power Planning Council shows about a 12 percent probability of power deficits next winter, even if additional water is stored at Grand Coulee and other Columbia Basin reservoirs before winter, Bonneville said. Skipping the summer spill will make storage of this additional water possible.

"We regret having to limit our fish operations this year, but we need to assure power reliability for the summer, fall and winter," Wright said. "Where we can, we will take steps other than spill to help the fish survive in this critical year. This includes adopting a recommendation from the Council to fund about $20 million in emergency projects to partially offset the impact of reduced spring spill on fish."

Several salmon and steelhead species migrate to the ocean in the summer, but only one of thosespecies -- Snake River fall chinook -- is listed as endangered. None are as abundant as they once were.

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