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 Pans Pacific Northwest Utility Decisions

LCG, June 23, 2001--A Federal Energy Regulatory Commission administrative law judge has concluded that the high price of electricity in the Pacific Northwest was not the work of nefarious power producers but the result of bad weather and bad decisions by the utilities that paid the high prices.

Seattle City Light, Tacoma Power, the Port of Seattle, the Eugene (Ore.) Water and Electric Board and the North Wasco People's Utility District, blamed the need for the increases on bad weather and market manipulation in the California energy market, and had asked FERC to order refunds.

FERC Judge Carmen Cintron said the utilities could have done much to protect themselves and their customers from the effects of a drought which severely cut back hydroelectric production, but failed to do so.

Instead, she said, they bet unsuccessfully that power prices would be cheaper in the spot market than under long-term contracts they feared would lock them in to higher prices. At the time, spot market prices were lower than those charged by the Bonneville Power Administration under long-term deals.

Seattle City Light dumped 100 megawatts of Bonneville contracts and sold its 80 megawatt interest in the Centralia (Wash.) coal-fired power plant, a decision which left the municipal utility with a projected reserve of just 22 megawatts, or about 1 percent of peak demand. That reserve evaporated when hydroelectric generation in the region dropped by as much as half.

The utilities should be forced to suffer the consequences of decisions like that, Cintron said.

Cintron wrote "if the position of the refund claimants is accepted, they would be relieved of the consequences of their conscious economic decisions at the expense of a functioning competitive markets in which a vast majority of the purchasers during this period accepted responsibility for the choices they made."

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