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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

Virginia Unsure about Utility Generation Spin-off

LCG, Oct. 29, 2001--Nine days of hearings pitting the staff of the Virginia State Corporation Commission against officials of Dominion Resources Inc. ended Friday and now it is up to three Commission judges to decide how Dominion subsidiary Virginia Electric & Power Co. will reorganize itself to prepare for competition, which is coming to the state's electricity markets beginning January 1.

At issue is whether Dominion should be allowed to set up a separate company and place Virginia power's generating assets in that new firm, or be required to keep the power plants within a division of Virginia Power, where regulators can continue to exert control over them.

Critics of Dominion's plan say regulatory oversight is needed in case something goes wrong with the state's electric restructuring program, as happened in California.

Virginia Power says that transferring ownership of the plants, valued at $6.8 billion, to a legally separate subsidiary is necessary for the success of electricity competition in Virginia and for Dominion's success as a competitive supplier.

The Commission staff, backed by the Virginia attorney general's office, residential and industrial consumer groups and some of Dominion's potential competitors, argue that keeping plants in a separate Virginia Power division would best serve the public interest.

The 1999 Virginia electric deregulation law requires that utilities "unbundle" their operations into distinct generation, transmission and distribution operations. Generation, the only one of the three that is actually being deregulated, would have to belong to a separate entity.

Though the law says the separation scheme must be in place by January 1, it won't be. Because Virginia Power also serves customers in North Carolina, utility regulators in that state must also agree to its reorganization plan. The utility now says it won't be ready to reorganize the company until next September and possibly not until 2003.

Even though the hearings have ended, the arguments will continue. The Commission judges have asked Virginia Power and other parties in the reorganization case to file briefs with them by the end of next week.

Similar hearings begin today on the reorganization plan proposed by American Electric Power Co. Inc., Virginia's second-largest electric utility.

Whether these reorganization plans are approved or not, competition for retail electricity customers will begin in Virginia on this coming New Year's Day.

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