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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

California Renewable Requirement Leaves Municipals Exempt

LCG, Oct. 14, 2002--A bill signed into law by California Gov. Davis that requires power suppliers and marketers to sell an increasing amount of power sourced from renewables does not include municipal utilities.

The California law is much the same as similar laws in states such as Texas and Connecticut. A federal rule now being considered has elicited strong lobbying efforts by municipal utilities to exclude them from a national renewables standard. The reason many such utilities cite for their opposition is the need to keep prices low to customers, who are also owners.

"It frustrates me when environmental groups and the Green Party just sort of blindly support public power and assume it's going to be cleaner," Julia Levin, California policy coordinator with the Union of Concerned Scientists, told the Sacramento Bee. Some supporters of green power believe the inconsistency may contribute to more volatile power prices in the future, as non-municipal suppliers increase their purchases of renewable power by 1 percent of sales annually. The recently signed bill calls for a 20 percent minimum requirement.

There is wide variation among California municipal systems in the proportion of renewable generation sold, with Santa Clara's utility Silicon Valley Power ranking among the highest due to use of geothermal generation. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) relies very little on renewable sources (2%), and imports power from coal-fired plants in neighboring states. The LADWP says it may set renewable goals for itself next year.

David S. Freeman, who has headed both the Tennessee Valley Authority and the LADWP, said the focus of municipal systems on cost reduction and opposition to state-imposed requirements, "Is their attitude on this stuff smart? No. Is it right? No, but it's inbred."
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