Tampa Electric Plans to $800 Million Investment in New Solar Power Generation

LCG, February 24, 2020--Tampa Electric recently announced plans to expand its use of solar power to meet customer needs in Florida. The company plans to invest approximately $800 million to add 600 MW of solar electric generating capacity by the end of 2023, when the total solar capacity would exceed 1,250 MW. Solar power will then account for about 14 percent of the utility's energy.

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AWEA Issues Fourth Quarter 2019 Market Report

LCG, February 7, 2020--The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) recently released its new U.S. Wind Industry Fourth Quarter 2019 Market Report. AWEA reports new wind turbine installations have added 5,476 MW of electric generating capacity during the fourth quarter, which results in 2019 installations totaling 9,143 MW. The total installations represent an increase over 2018, but the total for 2019 falls short of total annual installations for 2015 and 2016. In addition to new capacity additions, developers completed 2,500 MW of turbine repowerings for the year.

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Industry News

FERC and California Prepare for Long-term Contract Hearing

LCG, Dec. 12, 2002--The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and attorneys for California have different views of how strong California's case is for overturning long-term contracts the state signed during the energy crisis.

A brief developed and filed by FERC staff in preparation for hearings into $43 billion worth of contracts found that the state needs to prove that the long-term contracts were affected by prices in the soaring short-term market. California contends that spillover between the two existed. According to the Commission's brief, "CDWR [California Department of Water Resources] in fact renegotiated letters of intent it had entered into and rejected other higher cost contracts," thereby indicating to FERC that the California agency did not lack bargaining power.

The hearings, which are due to end with a ruling by FERC Judge Bobbie McCartney by mid-February, are meant to resolve California's assertion that the contracts were signed under circumstances in which the state had little choice but to purchase electricity at unjust rates. The FERC staff wrote that in order for the contracts to be overturned, they must be shown to be contrary to the public interest, according to the "Mobile-Sierra" doctrine set forth by the Supreme Court in the 1950's. The FERC's brief raises the argument that the power market would be adversely affected if the contracts are not upheld.

Some energy sellers to California, such as Calpine Corp. and Williams Cos., have thus far reached agreements with the state on revised contract terms. Others that have not proceeded to settlements include Allegheny Energy, Dynegy Inc., Sempra Energy, and Coral Energy, a unit of Royal Dutch/Shell. If a ruling were to be issued in California's favor, a related action by western U.S. utilities could gain momentum.
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