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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

Edison May Avoid Bankruptcy on its Own

LCG, July 20, 2001For the first time in more than a year, Southern California Edison Co. expects this month to collect more money than it will spend on electricity, giving rise to hopes that it could claw its way out of insolvency without the help of "bailout" plans by the state.

The utility accumulated around $3.5 billion in debt as it was forced to pay high wholesale prices for electricity and sell it to its customers at low rates fixed by California's failed electric deregulation law.

Wholesale power prices in California have dropped dramatically in recent weeks, partly as a result of controls established by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission but mostly because of mild weather, the commissioning of new power plants and good performance of existing plants, lower natural gas prices and increased energy conservation by Californians facing higher electric rates.

Recently approved rate increases have enabled the utility to take in more than it is paying out, allowing it to boost its retail rates from about 7 cents per kilowatt-hour to 10.27 cents. SoCal Ed officials said that if those conditions continue a big "if" as a prolonged heat wave could drive power prices up the utility could make payments on a proposed bond offering to pay down the $3.5 billion debt.

The company is far from out of the woods, an executive cautioned. Brian Bennett, a SoCal Ed vice president, said "While we might be able to cover our costs going forward, it is equally important that we have a way to pay off that $3.5-billion debt."

Continued good news could obviate the need for the now-stalled plan by California Gov. Gray Davis to "rescue" the utility by having the state purchase its transmission assets for $2.76 billion. Three bills to make that plan possible are working their way through the state legislature but none appear likely to be approved before lawmakers begin a month-long vacation today.

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