New York PSC Approves Ravenswood Energy Storage Project

LCG, October 18, 2019--The New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) yesterday approved construction of the largest battery storage facility in New York State history. The 316-MW Ravenswood Energy Storage Project will be built in Long Island City, Queens, New York and scheduled to be partially operational by March 2021.

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Xcel Energy, EVRAZ North America and Lightsource BP Announce 250-MW Solar Project in Colorado

LCG, October 1, 2019--Xcel Energy, EVRAZ North America and Lightsource BP announced Friday that they have reached a long-term agreement to develop a 240-MW solar facility in Colorado. Lightsource BP will finance, build, own and operate the Bighorn Solar project and sell all the electricity it generates to Xcel Energy under a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA). The project will be built on EVRAZ Rocky Mountain Steel property in Pueblo, making it the largest on-site solar facility dedicated to a single customer in the country.

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Industry News

Virginia First in 'Old South' to Move on Dereg

LCG, Nov. 14, 2001--The Old Dominion state of Virginia, bordered on the north by Mid-Atlantic states that have deregulated their electric industries and surrounded otherwise by states of the old south that have made the move, is getting ready to begin retail power competition on January 1.

"Virginia is really at the crossroads between the upper Mid-Atlantic or Northeast states -- many of which have moved to competitive markets -- and states to our south who are doing nothing," Ken Shrad, spokesman for the Virginia State Corporation Commission, told Reuters news agency.

Other southern states have held back, feeling they have nothing to gain because their electricity prices are already among the lowest in the nation. Moreover, they have been deterred by the debacle in California, which was planned to lower power prices but actually resulted in rolling blackouts and a huge electricity rate increase.

Higher power prices in New York, which occurred after that state restructured its electric industry, have also made the deep South wary of change.

Tom Kazas, a spokesman for Virginia Electric & Power Co., a subsidiary of Dominion Resources Inc., said "We have some things in place that are going to help avoid the kinds of problems that they had in California," and Shrad noted that California "was the first state to try all of this, and every state that follows is trying to avoid whatever led to California's particular situation."

Under Virginia's plan, retail electric prices will be capped through 2007, though the controls could be phased out earlier if competition develops. "If a competitor can beat that capped-rate price, the price to compare, then (the customers) are going to save money," Shrad said.

The Corporation Commission has not yet determined what the price cap will be for next year, and observers are concerned that it may be too low to allow alternative electricity suppliers to compete.

"Virginia is one of the states that is at or below the national average (power price), so whether or not competitive suppliers can come in with a better rate is still to be seen," Shrad said. "During the transition period rates are capped and consumers might stay with their incumbent utility."

The key will be whether wholesale power prices will be allowed to move freely. If competitive power suppliers fail to enter the market, customers will stay with their local utilities. If those utilities are forced to pay high wholesale prices for electricity, and then sell it for less at the capped retail prices, it could be California all over again.

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