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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

Shell Valuation of Power Agreements Too Optimistic, Former Manager Says

LCG, July 18, 2002--A former manager at the energy trading unit of Royal Dutch Shell ("Shell") in Houston who was dismissed in August 2001 told the Financial Times and Reuters that the company's valuation of options it held on power purchases relied on overly optimistic assessments of future power prices.

Shell's agreements with independent power producers require it to make capacity payments of $7.4 billion over 20 years. The power producers run plants using natural gas from Shell, which may exercise options to sell power from the plants should power prices rise. The agreements were sealed three years ago, when power prices in the U.S. were about 50% higher than they are currently. The manager, George Namur, claimed that "We knew what our capacity payments would be and then had to use highly optimistic power price forecasts and other creative items to exceed the 15 per cent return rate." The forecasts used in valuation of such options are potentially wide-ranging.

A statement by Shell indicated that "rigorous due diligence and evaluation processes" were undertaken prior to the company's completing the deals, which are not uncommon in the energy industry. Shell stated that 2001 accounting recognized profits from the deals as the agreements progressed. Most payments for the "tolling" agreements will be due in 2007.
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