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AWEA Reports Near Record Fourth Quarter Finish for U.S. Wind Projects in 2016

LCG, February 17, 2017--The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) released its U.S. Wind Industry Fourth Quarter 2016 Market Report. The U.S. wind industry achieved its second strongest quarter on record, with 6,478 MW of wind capacity installed during the fourth quarter.

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Owners Plan to Keep Navajo Generating Station Open through 2019

LCG, February 16, 2017--The utility owners of Navajo Generating Station (NGS) voted yesterday to extend operations of the coal-fired power plant to the December 2019 end of its lease if an agreement can be reached with the Navajo Nation. The four utility owners of NGS include: Salt River Project (SRP), Arizona Public Service Co., NV Energy and Tucson Electric Power. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is the fifth owner.

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Industry News

Southwest Power Pool Sets Wind Penetration Record of 52.1 Percent

LCG, February 15, 2017--Southwest Power Pool (SPP) announced earlier this week that it achieved a wind-penetration record of 52.1 percent at 4:30 a.m., February 12, when it became the first regional transmission organization (RTO) in North America to serve over 50 percent of its electric demand at a given time with wind energy. SPP set the previous RTO record of 49.2 percent on April 24, 2016.

The installed wind farm capacity and wind power generation in the SPP region has grown dramatically. Since the turn of the century, SPP's installed wind capacity has grown from a few hundred MW's to becoming the third most-prevalent fuel source in the SPP region. Wind capacity provided approximately 15 percent of SPP's generating capacity in 2016, exceeded only by natural gas and coal. Installed wind capacity increased in 2016 by 4,000 MW - from 12,000 MW to over 16,000 MW, and SPP's maximum simultaneous wind generation peak rose from 9,948 MW in 2015 to 12,336 MW in early 2016.

In concert with the installation of new wind farms, SPP has approved the construction of over 10 billion dollars in high-voltage transmission infrastructure over the last decade, with much of the construction designed to connect rural, isolated Midwestern wind farms to population centers hundreds of miles away.

SPP's Vice President of Operations stated, "Ten years ago, we thought hitting even a 25 percent wind-penetration level would be extremely challenging, and any more than that would pose serious threats to reliability. Since then, we've gained experience and implemented new policies and procedures. Now we have the ability to reliably manage greater than 50 percent wind penetration. It's not even our ceiling. We continue to study even higher levels of renewable, variable generation as part of our plans to maintain a reliable and economic grid of the future."

SPP's President and CEO said, "It's exciting to see the evolution of our efforts to maintain a reliable power grid. It allows for very different generation patterns than we've historically experienced. But for new day-ahead unit commitment procedures and market processes for managing congestion across a single balancing authority in fourteen states, these new records would not be possible."
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