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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

New Jersey Coal Plant to Repower with Natural Gas

LCG, June 22, 2012--The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced yesterday that the coal-fired, B.L. England Generating Station will close one coal unit and switch two other units to natural gas to reduce air emissions, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) said in a release Thursday.

The owner of the 450-MW facility, RC Cape May Holdings, LLC, will, under the terms of an Administrative Consent Order with the DEP, repower a coal-burning unit to a combined-cycle facility fueled by natural gas. A third, oil-burning unit will be converted to use natural gas. A Senior Vice President for RC Cape May Holdings LLC stated the that, with the combined-cycle plant, the overall station capacity of the plant could increase to about 570 MW.

"The Christie administration is committed to improving the quality of air in New Jersey, taking a tough stance on holding in-state and out-of-state power plants accountable for reducing air pollution in New Jersey," Commissioner Martin said. "This agreement will bring one of the oldest plants here in New Jersey into the 21st century, and keep it there for a long time to come with extremely low emissions."

RC Cape May acquired the plant in 2007. The agreement with the DEP resolves alleged violations of the federal Clean Air Act that occurred when the plant was under the ownership of Atlantic Electric, Conectiv and Pepco Holdings Co. The agreement calls for the cessation of operation of coal-fired Unit 1 by fall 2013. Unit 2, a coal-fired unit, and Unit 3, an oil-fired, peaking unit, are to be converted to natural gas by May 2016. Unit 2 is scheduled to close by May 2015 to allow for the conversion. Furthermore, RC Cape May must make interim operational changes, including limiting operations, to reduce pollution during the period leading up to the conversion shutdown.

The conversion from coal to natural gas is a consideration for asset owners of many electric generating stations. Late last month, South Carolina Electric & Gas (SCE&G) released its Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) that included plans to retire up to six coal-fired electric generating units at three sites by the end of 2018. Prior to retirement, SCE&G plans to convert the units from coal to natural gas (without installing any new, combined cycle facilities). Thus the converted units would only operate on natural gas for roughly five years. These retirements are a response primarily to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and new regulations.

The fuel conversion is driven by the opportunity to use low-priced natural gas and the cost to comply with the EPA's new regulations, such as the utility Mercury and Air Toxics Standard (MATS) Rule, Clean Water Act (CWA) 316(b), Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) regulation on Coal Combustion Residuals (CCRs), and the updated National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) recently released a public brief that includes results that, due to the EPA's new and pending regulations, approximately 60 GW of coal capacity may be either retired or refueled with natural gas, depending on a number of market-specific factors.
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