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First Solar Starts Operations of the 250-MW Moapa Southern Paiute Solar Project

LCG, March 22, 2017--First Solar, Inc. Friday held the commissioning ceremony for the Moapa Southern Paiute Solar Project, located approximately 30 miles north of Las Vegas on the Moapa River Indian Reservation. The power generated by the 250-MW solar photovoltaic (PV) project will be purchased under a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power(LADWP).

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Mortenson to Construct Xcel Energy's 600-MW Rush Creek Wind Project in Colorado

LCG, March 9, 2017--Mortenson announced yesterday that it has been selected to construct the 600-MW Rush Creek Wind Project in eastern Colorado. Xcel Energy will own and operate the project, which has a target in-service date of October 2018 and an estimated cost of over $1 billion.

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Industry News

ERCOT Releases SARA Reports for Spring and Summer

LCG, March 2, 2017--ERCOT yesterday released its final Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy (SARA) for spring (March-May) and a preliminary outlook for summer (June-September). ERCOT anticipates there will be sufficient generation to meet projected peak demand during the upcoming spring and summer seasons.

ERCOT's Senior Director of System Planning stated, "In preparing our seasonal forecasts, we studied multiple scenarios to test the ERCOT system. Under the most extreme scenarios considered, there were adequate generation reserves to maintain reliability."

The new report identifies more than 82,000 MW of generation resources available to serve the expected spring peak demand of approximately 58,000 MW, which is based on average spring weather conditions from 2002 through 2015. This year's spring peak is most likely to occur in late May, following the completion of most seasonal power plant maintenance outages that occur in preparation for summer demand.

ERCOT's Senior Meteorologist said, "We are expecting warmer-than-normal temperatures to continue in the ERCOT region this spring. The rain forecast will be normal to above-normal for most of Texas, and drought is not expected to be a concern for the vast majority of the ERCOT region through the spring season."

The preliminary summer SARA report shows a peak load forecast of nearly 73,000 MW based on normal summer weather conditions during ERCOT's peak demand periods. The summer peak is 2.6 percent higher than ERCOT's all-time peak demand record of 71,110 MW, which occurred last August.

Installed wind power capacity continues to grow and impact ERCOT's generation mix. According to the American Wind Energy Associate (AWEA), in 2016 Texas continued to lead the nation in wind power capacity additions, with 2,611 MW of new capacity. At the end of 2016, the total installed wind power in Texas totaled 20,321 MW, plus 5,401 MW of wind power capacity under construction.

With wind playing a larger role in ERCOT's generation resource mix, the SARA summer report reflects a scenario that combines the forecast peak load with extremely low wind output that represents only 3.8 percent of the total installed wind capacity. In contrast, the historical average contribution is 19.4 percent of installed capacity during summer peak load hours.

The final summer SARA report will be released in early May 2017.
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