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Tampa Electric Plans to $800 Million Investment in New Solar Power Generation

LCG, February 24, 2020--Tampa Electric recently announced plans to expand its use of solar power to meet customer needs in Florida. The company plans to invest approximately $800 million to add 600 MW of solar electric generating capacity by the end of 2023, when the total solar capacity would exceed 1,250 MW. Solar power will then account for about 14 percent of the utility's energy.

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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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Industry News

FERC Judge: No Gas Price Manipulation by El Paso,But Standards of Conduct were 'Clearly . Violated'

LCG, Oct. 10, 2001--The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's top judge ruled yesterday that El Paso Corp. did not manipulate gas prices on its pipelines into California last year, but found the company guilty of affiliate abuse.

At issue was whether El Paso Corp. had conspired with its affiliates, El Paso Merchant and Mojave Pipeline, to drive up natural gas prices in California. The California Public Utility Commission, Pacific Gas & Electric Co., and Southern California Edison Co., claimed El Paso withheld capacity on its pipelines into the state from March through November of last year.

They claimed that the action inflated prices, costing the state $3.7 billion more than would have otherwise been paid for gas.

Administrative Law Judge Curtis Wagner did not find evidence of such manipulation. "While El Paso Pipeline and El Paso Merchant had the ability to exercise market power, there was not a clear showing that they had in fact done so," he said.

But Wagner said transcripts of telephone conversations in February of last year showed clear violation of FERC standards of conduct, which say a pipeline operator must share natural gas transmission information with all shippers and not just its own marketing affiliates.

The standards also require that a pipeline company and its marketing affiliate must maintain "arm's length" separation.

"These telephone transcripts demonstrate blatant collusion on the part of El Paso Merchant and Mojave-El Paso Pipeline to keep secret a discount for service on the downstream Mojave system until the open season ended, giving El Paso Merchant an advantage in making its bid for the total 1,220 million cubic feet per day," Wagner wrote.

The judge said the violation was somewhat mitigated by changing conditions.

"While there are clear violations of the current standards of conduct in this case, those rules were promulgated many years ago and the gas industry has undergone tremendous changes since then with merger after merger creating large holding companies, such as the El Paso Corp., and very different methods of doing business than in bygone years," he wrote.

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