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

Exorbitant Natural Gas Prices Keep New Plants Off Line

LCG, April 8, 2003Recent unusually high natural gas prices are keeping newly built power plants from starting up.

Plant owners and operators say that they cannot profitably operate plants in current economic conditions and may have to wait until the summer, when demand increases.

Current gas prices are roughly $5 per million Btu, and over this past winter prices reached record levels.

Most new plants built over the last few years have been natural gas-fired, a popular choice because of efficiency, local production of fuel, and cleaner emissions. Several natural gas-fired plants are also currently under construction, and roughly 300,000 MW of natural gas-fired capacity has been projected to come on line between 1998 and 2007. Deregulation efforts in many states encouraged the new construction, and many companies assumed that natural gas prices would remain stable when they initially planned the plants' construction.

According to some in industry, the cost of operating a plant is currently higher than simply buying power.

While many new plants are gas-fired, gas and oil plants comprise only a fifth of U.S. capacity. Coal and nuclear plants still dominate, generating some 70 percent of total capacity. Hydroelectric, wind, solar, biomass and others make up just 10 percent.

Companies like Williams Cos. and PPL Corp. have either kept new plants off line or even requested to take plants off line. Other companies have delayed or halted construction of new plants in order to wait for better market conditions.

Some U.S. companies are looking into liquified natural gas, an investment previously thought by some to be unnecessarily costly.

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