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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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Duke Energy Florida Announces New Solar Power Projects

LCG, January 29, 2020--Duke Energy Florida (DEF) Monday announced the locations of its two newest solar power plants that will provide a combined installed capacity of nearly 150 MW. DEF is investing an estimated $1 billion to construct or acquire a total of 700 MW of cost-effective solar power facilities from 2018 through 2022 in Florida, and planning for another 1,500 MW of solar generation through 2028.

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Industry News

Enron's Short-term Trading Carried Outsized Risk

LCG, Dec. 12, 2002--During 2000 and 2001, the risks and rewards of Enron's energy trading operations grew quickly, well beyond what any comparable trading operation might have expected, according to internal records and interviews with former executives obtained by the New York Times.

According to profit-and-loss statements within the company, Enron's traders made bets that resulted in over $100 million in profits being realized on at least 17 single days. The company's communications with analysts tended to downplay the degree of speculation inherent in bets on the direction of natural gas and electric power prices. Much of the trading was conducted by Enron with affiliates such as Portland General Electric, in what may have been an effort to boost price levels.

Approximately $1.3 billion in net trading profits were realized in 2001 from gas and power trading on the West Coast. Kenneth Lay said in an interview in March of 2001, "We're basically making markets, buying and selling, arranging supplies, deliveries. We do not, in fact, speculate on where markets are headed."

Following a profit of $485 million recorded for Dec. 4, 2000, a loss of $550 million took place on Dec. 12, after natural gas prices fell. Losses of $1 billion accumulated over that and two other days that month. Moody's Investors Service grew concerned at the size of that particular loss, which exceeded the company's risk limits, and as such, had to be reported to the board. The rating agency did not downgrade the company's debt, following a presentation by Richard Buy, the chief risk officer.

Traders reportedly convinced board members that the risk being assumed was worth the potential profit. Enron's value-at-risk limits, representing the amount of loss considered tolerable within a single day, were raised from $80 million to $140 million towards the end of 2000. Currently, the company's former top trader, Timothy Belden, is cooperating with federal investigators, and has pleaded guilty to wire fraud for manipulating Western energy prices.

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