Offshore Wind Projects Receive Boost from Massachusetts and Biden Administration

LCG, March 31, 2021--The Governor of Massachusetts signed legislation last Friday that authorizes the state to direct utilities to purchase an additional 2,400 MW of offshore wind energy by 2027.

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NV Energy's Greenlink Nevada Transmission Project Approved by PUCN

LCG, March 25, 2021--The Public Utilities Commission of Nevada (PUCN) on Monday approved proceeding with NV Energy's Greenlink Nevada transmission and renewable energy initiative. NV Energy's planned investment in Greenlink is over $2.5 billion.

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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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