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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

Bonneville Transmission Line Proposal Draws Fire

LCG, Oct. 4, 2001--A proposal by the federal Bonneville Power Administration to build a 5-mile, 500 kilovolt transmission line through Seattle's Cedar River watershed has drawn opposition from critics who charge that the power line could contaminate drinking water for more than 800,000 in the Seattle area.

The Cedar River watershed is protected by a habitat-conservation plan adopted by the Seattle just last year and supported by environmentalists. It is intended to maintain the purity of the city's water supply and protect threatened salmon and a species of trout.

Bonneville want to build the line to fulfill its end of a treaty with Canada and to boost reliability and avoid power failures particularly in the wintertime, when demand for heating puts added burden on the system. Building the line would require the agency to log 150 acres in the watershed and, according to Bonneville's own environmental impact statement, wetlands and streams would also be affected along the proposed route, and in some cases destroyed.

Environmentalists don't want to see any chain saws or axes in the watershed. "We want to keep it a pristine watershed that is in the process of being restored to all it's glory. We are really concerned," said Michael Closson, executive director of the Pacific Crest Biodiversity Project in Seattle.

Now, here is a problem for both sides: Cedar River flows from the Snoqualmie Pass in the Wenatchee Mountains, through a national forest, and empties into Lake Washington, which borders Seattle on the east. Just before reaching the lake, it passes through the heart of the city of Renton.

Renton is home to Microsoft Corp., which makes the operating systems of 95 percent of the world's computers and has a huge staff, many of whom are environmentalists. Microsoft also consumes vast quantities of electric power in its operations.

Thrown into the equation are jobs, electric reliability and environmental sentiments.

"We recognize there is a need for additional transmission capacity. We don't want it going through the watershed, period," said Ray Hoffman, an adviser to Seattle Mayor Paul Schell told the Seattle Times. "We are exploring all avenues, including other routes, or litigation. All options are open."

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