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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

Frisco Votes Today on Forming Municipal Utility

LCG, Nov. 6, 2001--Voters in San Francisco will decide today whether to form a municipal utility, a move that would involve leaving the pacific Gas & Electric Co. system and taking the utility's distribution network through eminent domain.

Two measures on today's ballot have the backing of Democrats and other liberals -- and there is hardly anything else in San Francisco. One initiative is confined to the city of San Francisco while the other includes the small town of Brisbane, on its southern border.

Angela Alioto, a Democrat, daughter of a former San Francisco mayor and a former San Francisco supervisor herself, is legal counsel for the Municipal Utility District campaign. "There is no question that public power gives the consumer a lower utility bill," she says.

PG&E Corp., parent company of the utility, is fighting the measures, and points out that seizing the distribution system wouldn't provide the power to send through the wires. "You're taking on a huge responsibility without any benefit because buying the system doesn't give you any more power, it just changes the ownership," said Jon Kaufman, a spokesman.

Opposition by PG&E is just one more reason to vote for one or both of the measures, say backers who contend that it is "unconscionable" for the utility, which is mired in bankruptcy proceedings, to spend money owed to its creditors on fighting the initiatives.

PG&E spokeswoman Jennifer Ramp counters "It's only prudent for any company to fight measures that seek a hostile takeover of (its) assets."

San Francisco already owns substantial electricity generation assets -- the city's Hetch Hetchy Water & Power system has three dams in the Sierra Nevada Mountains that have a combined capacity 334.5 megawatts, about a third of the combined needs of San Francisco and Brisbane.

Hetch Hetchy power, however, has been sold under long-term contracts that would have to be abrogated if the electricity was to be used by San Francisco.

No matter what the voters decide today, nothing much is likely to happen for a long time -- PG&E is an old hand at fighting municipalization. It took the city of Sacramento more than 20 years of court battles to finally break away from the utility.

"If these measure pass, nothing's going to change overnight," Kaufman said.

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