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

Southern's Kemper County IGCC Project Now Targets Completion in Second Quarter of 2016

LCG, September 30, 2015--Southern Company subsidiary Mississippi Power yesterday filed its monthly Kemper County energy facility project status report for August with the Mississippi Public Service Commission. After reviewing remaining start-up, commissioning and operational readiness activities, Mississippi Power now expects the entire project to be placed in service in the second quarter of next year.

The Kemper County project is designed as a integrated gasification combined-cycle (IGCC) facility intended to showcase new technologies for gasifying coal, together with carbon capture capabilities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Like a traditional combined-cycle facility, the plant combines two combustion turbines with one steam turbine - three engines that turn generators to produce electric power. The project has been operating since August of last year fueled by natural gas, as the coal gasifiers are not ready to be placed into service. Once the facility's two lignite gasifiers begin operation, the combustion turbines will use syngas derived from gasified lignite, a low-rank coal found abundantly throughout East Mississippi.

Mississippi Power has also revised its cost estimate subject to the cost cap for the Kemper project to include approximately $15 million in cost increases primarily related to additional resources in support of startup and commissioning activities, as well as operational readiness, and the company states that customers will not pay for this increase. The company's current cost estimate for the Kemper project includes costs through March 31, 2016. As previously disclosed, any extension of the projected in-service date past March is estimated to result in approximately $25-$30 million per month above the project's cost cap. Again, customers will not pay for costs above the cost cap.

In addition, Mississippi Power estimates approximately $13 million per month in financing costs and $7 million per month for items such as operating expenses and carrying costs are expected to be incurred, and these costs are not capped and are eligible for rate recovery, if approved by the Public Service Commission (PSC).

Mississippi Power's President and CEO stated, "The power plant portion of the project is already in service and has been providing safe, reliable electricity for our customers for more than a year. Our November rate hearing before the PSC is only asking for cost recovery for this portion. As we've said many times before, the review of the project's schedule and cost estimates will be ongoing. Customers will not pay a penny more for the cost of the project than what is approved by the PSC."

Regarding the project schedule, the entire project is anticipated to be placed into service after April 19. However, an in-service date beyond April 19 would require the company to return to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) approximately $234 million of Phase II investment tax credits which were received for the Kemper project. Southern Company is expected to support Mississippi Power's cash needs in returning the funds to the IRS. Specific updates to the projected in-service date and related cost estimates are expected to be included in next month's PSC report to be filed by the end of October.
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