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NRC Issues Subsequent License Renewals for First Time to Nuclear Reactors in Florida

LCG, December 11, 2019--The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff recently approved Florida Power & Light's (FPL's) application for an additional 20 years of operation for Turkey Point Nuclear Generating Units 3 and 4. This is the first time the NRC has issued renewed licenses authorizing reactor operation from 60 to 80 years. The subsequent (or second) license renewals (SLRs) for Turkey Point Unit 3 and Unit 4 now expire on July 19, 2052 and April 10, 2053, respectively.

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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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Industry News

PNM Files Modified Agreement for San Juan Coal Plant

LCG, August 19, 2015-PNM Resources' New Mexico utility, Public Service Co. of New Mexico (PNM), filed on August 13 with the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (NMPRC) a settlement agreement (Agreement) regarding the plan to retire two coal-fired units at San Juan Generating Station (SJGS). The Agreement modifies the original Stipulation filed in October 2014 and requires approval by the NMPRC.

Other parties signing the Agreement are: the Utility Division Staff of the NMPRC, the New Mexico Attorney General, Western Resource Advocates and the New Mexico Coalition for Clean Affordable Energy. In addition, the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority has indicated it will withdraw its opposition to the Stipulation.

PNM Resources' chairman, president and CEO stated, "It's important to remember that we were originally faced with having to implement a costly federal plan to reduce regional haze, but with the leadership of Governor Susana Martinez and the support of the Navajo Nation we were able to work with EPA and the state to find a less costly way forward that would provide broader environmental benefits."

The Agreement is based on (i) closure of two of the four coal-fired units at SJGS by the end of 2017, and (ii) installation of emissions control technology (Selective Non-Catalytic Reduction, or SNCR) on the remaining units to address compliance with federal visibility regulations under the Clean Air Act. The modified Agreement better enables New Mexico to comply with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Clean Power Plan (CPP), which is designed to reduce carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants.

The new Agreement now includes: (i) a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CCN) for 132 MW in SJGS Unit 4 with an initial book value of zero plus additional capital investment (including SNCR equipment), allowing for the continued operation of Units 1 and 4 and implementation of a beneficial new coal supply agreement; (ii) a CCN for 134 MW of the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station (PVNGS) Unit 3 to be used as replacement power is granted with an initial rate base value equal to the book value as of December 31, 2017 (estimated to be ~$1,100/kW); (iii) accelerated recovery of SNCRs on SJGS Units 1 and 4 so they are fully depreciated by July 1, 2022; (iv) allow for the acquisition of 65 MW of SJGS Unit 4 as excluded utility plant by PNM, as opposed to acquisition by PNMR Development and Management Corporation, providing more flexibility in the management of this capacity; (v) beginning in January 2020, PNM will acquire and retire one megawatt-hour (MWH) of Emission Rate Credits or Allowances or Renewable Energy Certificates for every MWH produced by 197 MW of PNM's share of SJGS Units 1 and 4, which will help New Mexico achieve compliance with the EPA's Clean Power Plan; (vi) PNM will make a filing in 2018, before entering into a contract for post-2022 coal supply, to demonstrate the on-going economic viability of SJGS beyond 2022 through an NMPRC case that all parties will support being decided within six months; and (vii) PNM will contribute an additional $250,000 this year to the company's Good Neighbor Fund, which helps low income customers cover electric bills in emergency financial situations.

The Agreement provides that other parties to the case may join the Agreement at a later date.

PNM Resources' chairman, president and CEO stated, "This is a win for customers, the environment, and for jobs. I appreciate the willingness of the parties to collaborate to reach a fair settlement that incorporates the best interests of electric customers, addresses federal environmental regulations, and protects the economy of the Four Corners region and the state. It includes key elements of the original Stipulation, which collectively provide significant value for our customers and for shareholders."
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