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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

Transmission Access to Continue to Favor Utilities

LCG, Nov. 4, 2003--Legislators in Congress who are concerned about the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's plan for large regional electricity markets have effectively prevented the agency from doing away with utilities' preferential access to transmission lines.

Sen. Pete Domenici has reportedly been told by Senators from the South that their vote on an energy bill would depend on utilities having the ability to secure transmission access before other entities, such as merchant energy suppliers. Utilities such as Southern Co., which serves customers in the Southeast, want to bear the cost of transmission expansion only to the extent that it is necessary to serve their customers, not for the benefit of other energy suppliers. As electricity flows cannot be strictly controlled, determining who derives benefits from transmission lines is a complicated exercise.

Domenici, who has made his skeptical view of FERC's Standard Market Design clear for some time, intends to block its implementation until 2007. FERC believes that greater centralization of authority for grid operation and investment decisions is necessary to cut through the institutional friction inherent in many local entities overseeing small parts of a larger system.

In the Northwest, the Bonneville Power Administration, which was created by the federal government to be a low-cost supplier of electricity, also is wary of a greater role for FERC in administering its market. It wants to avoid rate increases in its region caused by higher prices in California, or wherever power demand puts pressure on supplies. Pat Wood III, the chairman of FERC, says that the regionally concentrated opposition shows that these utilities believe their strategic positions are at stake. The agency has revised upward the number of regional transmission organizations, which coordinate operations in a given market area, it might be willing to accept.
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