SRP Expands Plans for New Solar Energy to 1,000 MW by 2025

LCG, November 20, 2018--Salt River Project (SRP) recently announced plans to add 1,000 MW of new utility-scale solar energy to its system by the end of fiscal year 2025. The new plan will accelerate the pace and increase the total capacity of SRP's solar energy resource plans by 700 MW relative to the current resource plans during the same timeframe. The new plan is driven by decreasing costs for solar power and customer's growing interest in solar energy.

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New York Issues Offshore Wind Solicitation

LCG, November 9, 2018--The Governor of New York yesterday announced a solicitation for 800 MW or more of new offshore wind projects to supply renewable energy to New York to combat climate change. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) issued the Request for Proposals (RFP), which is the first key step in New York's plan to install 2,400 MW of offshore wind projects by 2030.

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Industry News

High Runoff A Mixed Blessing in Washington State

LCG, June 13, 2002--Washington utilities are selling abundant hydropower at prices not experienced since the mid-1990's, meaning revenues from surplus power sales may not meet budget projections.

At the beginning of the month, peak-hour prices went as low as $4 per megawatt-hour, whereas the normal range is between $25 and $35. Mountain runoff which fills hydropower dams is 10 to 20 percent above normal levels.

Due to lower-than-expected revenues from wholesale power, Seattle City Light is on a credit watch, although it now earns an A+ rating from Standard & Poor's. The utility's finance director, Carol Everson, told the Seattle Times that low prices would have to persist until after runoff had stopped before she would be seriously worried. The utility is counting on earning 18 percent of its revenue in the form of surplus wholesale power sales, having borrowed $1.7 billion because of the power crisis that hit the Western states in 2000 and 2001.

Tacoma Power's George Whitener said that 15 percent of Tacoma Power's revenue is supposed to come from wholesale power, but sales have come up $700,000 short for June thus far. "Our projections of the market were higher than what we're currently seeing, so it will definitely have an impact on our ability to meet those projections used to set rates," he said. Retail customers are already paying more than they did in the '90's due to fallout from the power crisis.

Several utilities were hoping to pay back large debts they incurred last year through earnings from high power prices, but some, like Snohomish Public Utility District, are instead stuck paying high prices for power through long-term contracts.

The distance over which traders are willing to arrange power sales may have shrunk, some say, following the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's investigations into market manipulation. If so, this could also contribute to the slump in prices.
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