AWEA Issues Fourth Quarter 2019 Market Report

LCG, February 7, 2020--The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) recently released its new U.S. Wind Industry Fourth Quarter 2019 Market Report. AWEA reports new wind turbine installations have added 5,476 MW of electric generating capacity during the fourth quarter, which results in 2019 installations totaling 9,143 MW. The total installations represent an increase over 2018, but the total for 2019 falls short of total annual installations for 2015 and 2016. In addition to new capacity additions, developers completed 2,500 MW of turbine repowerings for the year.

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Duke Energy Florida Announces New Solar Power Projects

LCG, January 29, 2020--Duke Energy Florida (DEF) Monday announced the locations of its two newest solar power plants that will provide a combined installed capacity of nearly 150 MW. DEF is investing an estimated $1 billion to construct or acquire a total of 700 MW of cost-effective solar power facilities from 2018 through 2022 in Florida, and planning for another 1,500 MW of solar generation through 2028.

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Industry News

California Capsule: Freeman SaysNew Power Rate Hike Not Needed

LCG, July 16, 2001S. David Freeman, the senior electric power adviser to California Gov. Gray Davis, said yesterday "We have no need for a rate increase at this time," and threw in the next 12 months for good measure.

Freeman's remarks come on the even of a review by the California Public Utilities Commission to determine whether a 43 percent rate increase that took effect last month will be enough to keep the lights on in the state.

The California Department of Water Resources, the state's energy purchasing agent, said in a telephone news conference yesterday that the June rate hike, designed to raise an extra $5 billion a year from the customers of Pacific Gas & Electric Co. and Southern California Edison Co., ought to be enough.

B. B. Blevins, the water agency's assistant director for energy, pointed out that the electricity situation is changing, as federal price controls, new power plants, conservation, mild weather and the agency's long-term contracts have all contributed to a lowering of wholesale prices.

Freeman was ready to declare the state a victor in its effort to get power prices under control. We have "wiped out the spot market," he crowed.

Assembly Schedules Hearings on SoCal Ed Measure
Democrat lawmakers in the California Assembly said Friday that they will hold hearings this week on a new version of Davis' plan to purchase the transmission system of SoCal Ed for $2.76 billion. When the governor negotiated his deal with the utility in April, the company said the details did were not open to tinkering.

The new plan calls for SoCal Ed to get about a third of a billion dollars less than it had agreed to take for its wires and does not include a total figure of how much of its revenues the company could use to retire the massive debt it piled up subsidizing low rates for its customers.

"That's very disturbing to us," said Brian Bennett, vice president for external affairs with parent company Edison International. Looking on the bright side, he added "But at least we have a bill."

The Assembly plan would also require power producers to take a 30 percent haircut on the money owed them by SoCal Ed, something those companies were unwilling to do during two weeks of fruitless refund negotiations in Washington.

The measure, according to Assembly Speaker Robert Hertzberg, D-Sherman Oaks, "holds accountable those who have taken advantage of us, and it promises consumers that they will see rates go down rather than up."

Another feature of the bill would allow large users to negotiate bilateral electricity supply contracts with suppliers, but they would have to pay an unspecified exit fee to SoCal Ed.

A separate bill in the Senate, offered by Sen. Byron Sher, D-Palo Alto, would also require generators to forgive about a third of what they are owed for past power purchases. It would, however, dedicate $2 billion from customers' monthly payments toward Edison's debts and would require Edison International to contribute $1.2 billion to its utility.

That would just about cover the estimated $3.5 billion debt SoCal Ed incurred paying high wholesale prices for power and selling the same electricity at state-mandated low-low rates.

Davis had set an August 15 deadline for the state legislature to produce legislation authorizing his deal with SoCal Ed and said he was "heartened to see a flurry of activity." He had threatened to keep the legislature in session through its planned month-long vacation which is set to begin at the end of this week.

Montali Deals Setback to PG&E Creditors
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Dennis Montali on Friday rejected a request by the creditors' committee in the PG&E bankruptcy case to hire a high-priced public relations firm and have the bill sent to the utility.

The creditors wanted to formalize an arrangement with Rogers and Associates of Los Angeles with the utility footing the bill. Montali took a look at what the PR firm could charge and put hiss foot down, saying their rates "look like lawyers."

The judge also voiced concern about the accuracy of a news release presumably paid for by the committee out of its own resources.

In another setback for the creditors, Montali said he probably wouldn't protect energy traders who sit on the committee from potential conflict-of-interest charges because doing so might not "play right on the front page of the paper."
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