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

Power Bond Delay Could Cut California Budget Favorites

LCG, Oct. 5, 2001--Because California Gov. Gray Davis, the state Public Utilities Commission and state lawmakers cannot agree on how the largest municipal bond issue in history is to be repaid, programs with wide voter appeal are endangered, officials said.

One thing they agree on is, if the $12.5 billion in bonds are not issued the state faces a budget deficit of $9.3 billion, which would likely result in cutting programs such as education, health care and law enforcement -- all vote getters.

The proceeds of the bond issue are needed to repay the state's general fund for money taken earlier this year by the California Department of Water Resources to purchase about $6.1 billion worth of wholesale power on behalf of the state's cash-strapped investor-owned utilities.

Sandy Harrison, a spokesman for the state Department of Finance, said if the money isn't repaid by June of next year -- the end of the current fiscal year -- the $6.1 billion will have to be cut from other parts of the state budget.

State Treasurer Phil Angelides said "That's cutting the bone out of the state budget - not just the fat but the bone"

Davis first intended for the bonds to be brought to market in May, but legislative inaction made that impossible and a new deadline was set for October 31. In order for the bonds to be issued, the CPUC must develop a formula on how revenues from the three utilities' customers are to be applied to their repayment and to service their interest.

The commission, three of whose five members were appointed by Davis, has repeatedly failed to produce such a formula, and it now looks like it never will.

Some officials fear that the impasse has developed into a test of wills among the governor's office, the legislature and the regulators.

"There may be a game of chicken going on, and all of us who are caught in the middle are like deer in the headlights," said Scott Plotkin, executive director of the California School Board Association producing a vivid, if mixed, metaphor.

State Controller Kathleen Connell said lower energy costs make it likely the state will have to borrow only about half the $12.5 billion it originally sought, but she appeared to forget that the bonds must also provide funding for $43 billion in long-term power purchase agreements entered into by the water agency to cover much of the state's power needs over the next two decades.

Davis has ordered state department heads to submit budgets incorporating cuts ranging from 3 percent to 10 percent. "That's looking like a serious approach at this point, that we're going to have to do something along those lines," Harrison said.

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