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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

California Capsule: Lawmakers Massage Edison Wires Deal

LCG, May 14, 2001California legislators, apparently unwilling to ratify Gov. Gray Davis' $2.76 billion deal for the state to buy the transmission facilities of Southern California Edison Co., are coming up with ideas of their own.

SoCal Ed has said the arrangements with Davis are not amenable to much modification and lawmakers are saying that the plan will be rejected as is. The governor had expected state Sen. Don Perata, an Oakland Democrat, to carry legislation that would authorize his deal but Perata demurred. Richard Polanco, a Democrat from Los Angeles has agreed to place the Davis plan before lawmakers.

But legislators are cooking up their own plans. One, being pushed by state Senate President Pro Tem John Burton, a San Francisco Democrat, would restructure the original deal so that SoCal Ed's shareholders receive no benefit from the $2.76 billion purchase of facilities they own. He claims it would save the state money.<>P>
In a plan put together by Democrat Assemblymen John Dutra of Fremont and Joe Nation of San Rafael, the state would get a five-year option to buy the transmission facilities for $1.2 billion and set aside a portion of the transmission rates to pay off some of the $3.5 billion in debt the utility has run up. The arrangement would also provide for future collaboration between the state and the company on power plant development.

Another plan in the Assembly would ignore the transmission lines issue and create a way for investor-owned utilities to refinance their debts. Special tax districts would be created to issue the bonds, which would be repaid from future utility bills.

A fourth brainstorm would also avoid purchasing the transmission facilities, but the state would acquire the entire company if SoCal Ed files for bankruptcy.

  • Citizens of Livermore, a community east of the Oakland Hills and home of the Department of Energy's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, will be paying more for a lot of things because, city officials say, of the high cost of electricity. Water rates will go up about 26 percent, sewer fees by some 10 percent and hangar rentals and airplane parking at the airport by 8.6 percent.

  • Swimming pools and spas in California will have to get people out of the water during blackouts. Officials say that state law requires public pool filtration and chlorination systems to be working when a pool is open and those things will shut off when the power goes off. Blackouts are most likely to occur during the hottest periods of the hottest days, when the most people are in the pools.

  • Flower growers on California's coast are feeling the pinch of higher electricity costs. While a lot of cut flowers you see in a florist's are grown in open fields, many are greenhouse-grown where heating and ventilating systems consume a lot of energy, and all require irrigation which means electric pumps. Natural gas is another problem, because many greenhouses use boiler systems. One flower grower on the coast, just south of San Francisco, reported that his January gas bill was five times as high this year as last.

  • The San Jose Mercury-News reported yesterday that sales of hot tubs have suffered because of the California power problems. That is bad news in the most sybaritic of states, and hot tub people say they are getting a bum rap when people say hot tubs are a frivolous use of electricity. One company told the paper that a typical installation used six days a week would use only 154 kilowatt-hours of electricity a month. Of course, that's almost a third of the power required by a typical non-hot tub householder.

  • Three months ago, Democrat pundits were talking of Gray Davis in terms of presidential ambitions. Today they are talking in terms of potential opponents to the governor in next year's Democrat primary for the office he now holds. Critical comments about the governor's handling of the state's energy crisis, and particularly the financial aspects of it, by Democrat state Controller Kathleen Connell and state Treasurer Phil Angelides, also a Democrat, have fueled speculation that either or both could oppose Davis in next year's primary.
    Angelides has been on the attack against the governor's secrecy in negotiations with power producers for long-term power purchases made by the California Department of Water Resources and has been critical of Davis' stance on other aspects of the energy problem. Connell also has been critical of the governor and has warned that the huge amounts of money he has diverted to electricity are not only damaging to the state but will be insufficient.

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