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EIA Publishes Regional Electricity Supply and Pricing Forecasts Using UPLAN Model

LCG, August 13, 2019--The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) announced that it is revising the presentation and modeling of its forecasts for electricity supply and market hub pricing to better reflect current electricity markets and system operations in the U.S. Beginning with the August 2019 Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), the new forecasting approach models electricity markets using the UPLAN production cost optimization software developed by LCG Consulting. EIA uses the solution results provided by this proprietary model to develop the STEO forecasts of monthly electricity generation, fuel consumption, and wholesale prices.

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Dominion Energy Virginia Pursues 500 MW of Renewable Projects

LCG, August 8, 2019--Dominion Energy Virginia announced Monday that it is seeking bids for up to 500 MW of renewable capacity in both 2021 and 2022 to increase its clean energy resources. Dominion Energy stated that it is committed to having 3,000 MW of solar and wind in operation or under development in Virginia by 2022. This near-term step is part of an ultimate company commitment to reduce carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050 across the 18 states it serves.

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Industry News

Xcel Energy Submits IRP to Provide Path to Achieve 100 Percent Carbon-free Energy by 2050

LCG, July 9, 2019--Northern States Power Company, doing business as Xcel Energy, submitted its 2020-2034 Upper Midwest Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission on July 1. Xcel Energy (Xcel) states that the IRP "charts the path toward achieving some of the most ambitious carbon reduction goals of any utility in the U.S. Specifically - we aim to reduce carbon emissions 80 percent by 2030, and provide 100 percent carbon-free energy by 2050."

Xcel's Preferred Plan energy mix starts in 2020 with 40 percent fossil (coal and natural gas) resources, 25 percent nuclear and 35 percent renewable resources. In 2034, fossil declines to 25 percent (all natural gas), nuclear slips to 18 percent, and renewable resources grow and approach 60 percent of the generation. Over this period, customer energy needs decline more than 5 percent, after accounting for energy efficiency (EE).

With respect to existing coal-fired resources, Xcel plans to retire its last units early: King in 2028 (nine years early) and Sherco 3 in 2030 (ten years early). Furthermore, Xcel will continue with plans to retire Sherco 1 and 2 in 2026 and 2023, respectively, and commit to offering Sherco Unit 2 into Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) on a seasonal basis until its retirement. In total, Xcel plans to retire approximately 2,400 MW of coal-fired generation in the next decade.

Regarding existing nuclear assets, Xcel proposes to continue to operate the Monticello unit through 2040 (10 years longer than its current license) and to operate both Prairie Island units through the end of their current licenses (PI Unit 1 to 2033 and PI Unit 2 to 2034).

With respect to gas-fired, combined cycle resources, Xcel plans to acquire and operate an existing 760-MW combined cycle facility (MEC). In addition, Xcel plans to build, own and operate the 800 MW Sherco combined cycle plant in the mid-2020s to satisfy significant capacity and operational need created by coal closures.

Xcel proposes to add 4,000 MW of cumulative utility scale solar resources by 2034 (the first being in 2025) and approximately 1,200 MW of cumulative wind resources by 2034 to replace wind that is set to retire during that period. In total, Xcel plans to design a system that delivers nearly 60 percent renewable energy, although the balance between wind and solar may vary.

To address the transition to a portfolio that primarily consists of intermittent renewables, Xcel plans to add approximately 1,700 MW of cumulative firm dispatchable, load-supporting resources from 2031-2034. Xcel anticipates these resources will be utility-scale storage.

The Xcel IRP Reference Case customer energy forecast is for declining annual energy needs of approximately 0.4 percent over the 2020-2034 planning period, after accounting for EE. Xcel did include Light Duty Electric Vehicle Adoption in its forecast by adjusting residential energy and peak demand forecasts to account for increasing use of plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) charging.
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