Missouri PSC Approves Grain Belt Express HVDC Transmission Project

LCG, March 22, 2019--The Missouri Public Service Commission (PSC) approved a request filed by Grain Belt Express Clean Line LLC for a certificate of convenience and necessity (CCN) to construct, own, operate, control, manage and maintain a high-voltage, direct-current (HVDC) transmission line to move power east from wind farms in western Kansas to load centers in Missouri, Illinois and Indiana.

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FPL Targets 1,490 MW of Solar Capacity for New Community Solar Program

LCG, March 15, 2019--Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) Wednesday filed a proposal with the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) for a new community solar program, FPL SolarTogether. Pending PSC approval, FPL plans to install 1,490-MW of capacity at 20 new solar power plants across FPL's service territory to meet anticipated customer enrollment in the program.

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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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