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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

CA Utility's Deregulation Suit Tentatively Dismissed

LCG, January 9, 2003-Pacific Gas & Electric Company's suit against California regarding price regulation has been tentatively dismissed.

PG&E, the utility and unit of PG&E Corporation, claims that electricity from its nuclear and hydroelectric generating facilities was unfairly subject to regulation by the California Public Utilities Commission in the beginning of 2001.

According to PG&E, California allowed the company's generators to sell electricity at market prices by the passing of AB 1890. During the energy crisis, the state passed AB 6X, which kept the nuclear and hydro power under state price regulation.

PG&E claims that AB 6X is the equivalent of breach of contract, as the company believes AB 1890 functions as a contract. The company asserts it lost $4.1 billion as a result of state controlled prices.

Superior Court Judge Joe Gray found that the initial law did not constitute a contract, although his ruling is only tentative.

The case comes at a time when California is trying to find the source of the spiking electricity prices of 2000 and 2001. Energy suppliers have insisted that limited generating capacity and the high price of natural gas, which fuels many generators in California, forced up the price of electricity that they produced. Therefore, market price for electricity in general was very high. As PG&E's production costs for hydro and nuclear generation were not dependent on the price of natural gas, it could have earned higher returns from the market.

PG&E is slated to emerge from its bankruptcy some time this year, although its legal route to recovery is still being argued in court.

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