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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

Re-regulation of Energy Derivatives Encounters Opposition

LCG, Mar. 21, 2002--A measure in a bill sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., that would bring energy derivatives back under regulatory supervision is being opposed by Sen. Phil Gramm, R-Tex. and other Republican senators.

Oversight of over-the-counter swaps and trading on electronic exchanges, such as Enron Online, ended with passage of the Commodities Futures Modernization Act of 2000. Gramm, supported in his opposition by Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, said that a connection between lack of oversight and the collapse of Enron was false. Swaps, often used to substitute fixed price purchases for floating price purchases, are typically used to manage and hedge risk. Trading in derivatives was a highly profitable activity for Enron.

Feinstein said in a Senate floor speech, "there is no transparency, no record-keeping and no oversight of trades...We do not know the price of terms for 90 per cent of the energy transactions that take place." She alleged that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission lacks oversight necessary to investigate fully what role derivatives trading might have played during the California power crisis.

A letter to Gramm from Greenspan and O'Neill said that reviving oversight of derivatives "could re-introduce legal uncertainties into off-exchange derivatives markets and other markets." They said that derivatives' contribution to risk-management would be harmed by regulation.

The Commodities Futures Modernization Act of 2000 was passed with strong assistance from Gramm, the former banking committee chairman. He and his wife, Wendy Gramm, had strong relationships with Enron officials. Mrs. Gramm served on the company audit committee.
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