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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

Court of Appeals Vacates EPA's CSAPR

LCG, August 23, 2012--The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, in a 2-1 decision, overturned on Tuesday the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR), which targets emission reductions. The court's action provides some level of regulatory relief with respect to sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions for owners of coal-fired power plants located in 28 states.

CSAPR would have replaced a rule promulgated by the EPA in 2005, the Clean Air Interstate Rule ("CAIR"). The court opinion stated that the CSAPR exceeded the EPA's statutory authority which only requires upwind states to reduce "significant contributions" to a downwind state's pollution levels. In addition, the court found that the rule did not allow the states an opportunity
to establish their own State Implementation Plans (SIPs) to reduce emissions, as provided for in the Clean Air Act (CAA).

Attorneys general from mostly Southern and Midwestern states brought the legal action against CSAPR, and interveners include a number of utilities that own coal-fired power plants.

CSAPR "had potentially far-reaching reliability impacts for a grid in which electric use is growing far more rapidly than new generation resources are being built to serve that need," said the chief executive of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which oversees power delivery for most of Texas.

The EPA is reviewing the decision to determine whether or not it will appeal the ruling. CAIR will remain in place while the EPA is directed to promulgate a new rule complying with the Court's decision and the Clean Air Act.

Owners of coal-fired plants will need to continue to address regulatory pressures from the EPA's Mercury Air Toxics Standard (MATS), together with evolving water and coal combustion residue (CCR) regulations. Setting aside regulatory challenges, low natural gas prices provide a competitive challenge for coal plants as well.
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