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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

EIA Reports U.S. Nuclear Fleet Set New Annual Generation Record in 2018

LCG, March 28, 2019--The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) recently issued a report that carbon-free, electric generation from U.S. nuclear power plants totaled 807.1 million MWh in 2018, topping the previous peak of 807.0 million MWh in 2010, based on preliminary annual data.

The new U.S. nuclear record electric generation with zero carbon emissions was achieved in spite of the closure of seven plants with a combined capacity of approximately 5,300 MW since 2013. Key drivers that led to the new nuclear generation record are: (i) added capacity through uprates, (ii) shorter refueling and maintenance cycles, and (iii) the addition of one new 1,200 MW nuclear power reactor, Tennessee Valley Authority's (TVA) Watts Bar Unit 2 in the fall of 2016.

The combination of uprates, shorter outage durations, and efficiency improvements led the nuclear power fleet in 2018 to see its highest capacity factor on record, at 92.6 percent. The EIA recorded 2,000 MW of thermal power uprates between 2010 and 2018. However, the EIA foresees current market conditions - the combination of relatively low wholesale electricity prices and flat demand growth - do not provide the financial incentives plant owners require to invest in future improvements that would increase output from the existing fleet.

The EIA expects that the 2018 peak level of U.S. nuclear generation is not likely to be surpassed. Based on project information reported to EIA, only two new nuclear reactors are scheduled to come online in the near future. Georgia's Vogtle Units 3 and 4, which are planning to come online in 2021 and 2022, respectively, would provide 2.2 GW of additional power. This new capacity will be more than offset by the capacity that is expected to retire in the next seven years, based on announced retirements. Two reactors (Pilgrim and Three Mile Island) will retire later this year, three more (Duane Arnold, Davis-Besse, and Indian Point 2) in 2020, four more (Indian Point 3, Perry, and Beaver Valley 1 and 2) in 2021, one (Palisades) in 2022, one (Diablo 1) in 2024, and one (Diablo Canyon 2) in 2025. By 2025, U.S. nuclear capacity will fall by 10.5 GW from the closings of twelve reactors.

As more nuclear plants close, EIA projects that net electricity generation from U.S. nuclear power reactors will fall by 17 percent by 2025 in the Annual Energy Outlook 2019 Reference case.
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