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

Another Seattle Electric Rate Increase - More to Come

LCG, May 31, 2001Customers of Seattle City Light, the Washington city's municipal utility, will begin paying 9.3 percent more for electricity in July. The rate hike, the third so far this year, won't be the last, according to the Seattle Times, and also won't be the stiffest.

The paper said yesterday that this latest increase, like previous increases of 10 percent in January and 18 percent in March, is considered a temporary surcharge, expected to be removed in 2002 or 2003.

The rate increase is needed to pay for power at ever-increasing rates and to repay $250 million the utility has borrowed to pay higher than expected prices for power already purchased. City Light typically purchases between 10 percent and 15 percent of its power on the wholesale market, where a persistent drought in the hydroelectric-dependent Pacific Northwest has caused prices to increase 10- to 20-fold.

Even with the current rate increase, a residential customer in Seattle pays only 6 cents per kilowatt-hour for electricity, but he's used to paying a lot less because of all the federal hydroelectric dams that dot the Columbia and Snake Rivers. The water flow this year is expected to be about 58 percent of normal, which means there will be only 58 percent of the usual amount of power.

Most of those dams are operated by the Bonneville Power Administration, a federal agency. Next month, City Light expects to learn how much the agency will charge for a new power contract.

According to Gary Zarker, City Light customers could face a 22 percent rate increase in October, and that's under a best-case scenario. If Bonneville fails to get its municipal utility customers to rein in power usage, and get several aluminum companies to halt production, the rate increase to Seattle customers could be much higher than 22 percent, he said.

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