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NRC Issues Subsequent License Renewals for First Time to Nuclear Reactors in Florida

LCG, December 11, 2019--The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) staff recently approved Florida Power & Light's (FPL's) application for an additional 20 years of operation for Turkey Point Nuclear Generating Units 3 and 4. This is the first time the NRC has issued renewed licenses authorizing reactor operation from 60 to 80 years. The subsequent (or second) license renewals (SLRs) for Turkey Point Unit 3 and Unit 4 now expire on July 19, 2052 and April 10, 2053, respectively.

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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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Industry News

California Capsule: Secrecy Built into Power Deals, State Now Says

LCG, May 31, 2001California Gov. Gray Davis has for months refused to release the details of contracts entered into to purchase long-term power, saying that revealing the terms of the deals would jeopardize the state's bargaining position.

When one excuse wears thin, think up a new one.

Yesterday, state energy czar S. David Freeman said the contracts contain a non-disclosure clause at the insistance of the power producers. The sellers, in short, have veto power over releasing the information, according to the latest twist or spin on the controversy.

"Our hope would be to release these contracts, but we can't release them, at least until our lawyers tell us, without consent of the parties," Freeman said, broaching the confidentiality clausesfor the first time.

The spending of taxpayers' money on power at the rate of $70 million a day has been a major concern and almost everybody outside of Davis' inner circle has been demanding to know where the cash is going. The state's newspapers and broadcasters have joined in a suit to get terms of the long-term contracts released.

Most groups were taken aback at the latest version of why the state is keeping mum.

"There's no such thing as a non-disclosure agreement with regards to taxpayer money," said Doug Heller of the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, a self-appointed consumer watchdog.

These contracts have been out there for a couple of months and this is an excuse I've never heard before," complained Mindy Spatt of TURN, also a watchdog. "It makes me wonder whether they've really got a good reason or something they're trying to hide."

At least one company that has signed a long-term power supply contract with the state wouldn't mind having the details of its deals released. Calpine Corp. has, in fact, signed two 10-year contracts and said it has already released the terms on its own. Spokesman Bill Highlander said his company "came in at a very attractive price that we think is good for California and good for us."

The lawsuit by the news agencies will be heard tomorrow. They claim there's no evidence that disclosure would jeopardize the state's bargaining position and that secrecy serves the governor's political interests more than the public's.

Davis Won't Sue FERC for 30 Days
Gov. Davis said yesterday that he would hold off for at least 30 days before taking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to court in an effort to win massive electricity refunds and price controls on wholesale power in the state.

Davis told reporters he wanted to give federal regulators plenty of time to consider the state's filings before pressing his suit, noting judges are "reluctant to tell agencies what to do until agencies review the matter."

But a lawsuit is likely, the governor said. "I'm sure (FERC) won't do as much as they need to do."

FERC ruled earlier this year that some power sellers in the state had been guilty of overcharging to electricity, and ordered $124 million in refunds. State power officials, however, say the real figure is more like $6 billion.

Building on that, Davis believes the state is entitled to massive refunds from the power producers as well as price caps to limit what they could sell power for in the future.

"We are getting picked apart by excessively greedy energy companies who are selling us energy at literally 600 or 700 percent more than we paid for it in 1999," Davis told a meeting of the California Small Business Association.

Mirant Gets Okay to Add 530 Megawatts
Mirant Corp., 21 months after announcing it wanted to add 530 megawatts of generating capacity to an existing power plant in Northern California, finally got approval from the California Energy Commission yesterday, and Davis took full credit, bragging that his administration had now approved 10,403 megawatts of new generation to the state.

Mirant purchased the seven-unit Contra Costa Steam Plant in Antioch, near the mouth of the Sacramento River in the east San Francisco Bay Area, from Pacific Gas & Electric Co. and decided it wanted to add to the 1,260 megawatt capacity of the facility by building a 530 megawatt eighth unit.

Despite the proposal being for an addition to an existing plant, the commission wanted to make sure about such things as visual impact, effect on traffic and other socio-political considerations, and took nearly two years to decide that the original 1,260 megawatts had done all the damage that was likely to be done.

Mirant said that now that it has the go-ahead in its pocket it could build the new unit in about 21 months. The $300 million addition is expected to begin commercial operation in early 2003.

San Jose Mayor Caves In on Calpine Plant
San Jose Mayor Ron Gonzales, who had led a unanimous City Council in opposition to a proposed 600 megawatt power plant on the south edge of town, told a crowded news conference in his office yesterday that he had won enough in concessions from the plant's builders to drop his opposition.

The Metcalf Energy Center, which would be built by Calpine Corp. and Bechtel Enterprises Inc., had already been endorsed by every major environmental organization including the Sierra Club, Santa Clara County supervisors, the most significant Silicon Valley business group, and state regulators, but Gonzales sided with his city's largest employer, Cicso Systems, in opposing the plant.

The Metcalf Energy Center will be built in Coyote Valley, a rural area. Cisco has planned a $1.3 billion "campus" for a portion of the same area, and has opposed the plant on aesthetic grounds. A group of residents of a section more than a mile from the proposed plant also opposed it.

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