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Construction Begins on Ørsted's 420-MW Solar Plus Battery Storage Project in Texas

LCG, November 14, 2019--Ørsted announced yesterday that, following the final investment decision from its Board of Directors, the company has begun construction on its first utility-scale solar plus battery storage project, the Permian Energy Center.

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PSEG Announces Plans to Invest in Offshore Wind

LCG, October 31, 2019--Ørsted and Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG) announced Tuesday plans to enter into exclusive negotiations for PSEG to potentially become an equity investor in one of Ørsted's offshore wind projects and acquire 25 percent of the Ocean Wind project.

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Industry News

California Axes Five Consultants with Interest Conflicts

LCG, July 30, 2001The office of California Gov. Gray Davis, burned by newspaper accounts of state power purchasers owning stock in the companies from which they were buying electricity, admitted late Friday that five of them had been fired and a sixth quit.

Newspaper stories about the conflicts of interest grew out of a demand by California Secretary of State Bill Jones, a Republican, that the Securities and Exchange Commission investigate stock purchases by consultants working for the California Department of Water Resources, the state agency that is purchasing power on behalf of the state's cash-strapped utilities.

In addition to the six departures, the chief lawyers for the water agency was removed from her position because of perceived mishandling of the conflicts.

The governor's office claimed that the potential conflict came to light only last week, after the consultants were asked to file economic disclosure statements. Davis had earlier insisted that such statements were not required because the consultants are beyond the reach of the state's political reform laws.

Four of the water agency energy traders were dismissed for owning shares in Calpine Corp., a San Jose-based power generator that has landed the largest share of the $43 billion in long-term state power contracts.

Among them was Richard Ferreira, who was being paid $200 per hour on a $500,000 contract to negotiate contracts, according to state records. The other traders were identified as William F. Mead, Herman Leung, Constantine Louie and Peggy Cheng.

All had become consultants after the breakup of their former employer, the now-defunct California Power Exchange. They had been engaged by the state in February and March under contracts calling for payments of between $15,000 and $23,000 per month, including expenses.

The sixth trader, Elaine Griffin, also a former Cal-PX employee, abruptly quit the water agency on July 14, three days after filing her financial disclosure statement. The statement reports that she purchased between $10,000 and $100,000 worth of Calpine stock on February 1, during the last week she worked at Cal-PX.

Shortly thereafter, records show, Calpine announced a $4.6 billion, 10-year contract to sell power to the California Department of Water Resources. On February 20, Griffin joined the water agency as a consultant, which was negotiating another $8.3 billion batch of contracts with Calpine. A 20-year contract was signed on February 27.

Calpine wasn't the only power producer the consultants own stock in. Two reported owning shares of Enron, two more in SoCal Ed and another in Reliant Energy Inc.

Media sources contributed to this story.

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