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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Duke Energy Florida Announces New Solar Power Projects

LCG, January 29, 2020--Duke Energy Florida (DEF) Monday announced the locations of its two newest solar power plants that will provide a combined installed capacity of nearly 150 MW. DEF is investing an estimated $1 billion to construct or acquire a total of 700 MW of cost-effective solar power facilities from 2018 through 2022 in Florida, and planning for another 1,500 MW of solar generation through 2028.

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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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