Thursday, January 19, 2017

Company Briefs

Manitoba Hydro Braces for Rising Debt, Freezes Wages

Manitoba Hydro will freeze wages this year for more than half of its employees amid warnings by its executives that debt could increase in the next few years to $25 billion, from its present $13 billion, as the Keeyask generating station and the Bipole III transmission line are completed.

Last October, the utility’s executives hinted to a legislative committee that they will seek a significant rate hike.

Three of the four unions that represent some 2,100 workers negotiated new contracts recently that include no wage increases this year and increases of 1%, 1.25% and 1.5% in the remaining three years.

More: The Canadian Press

PG&E Announces Layoffs, Spending Reductions

Pacific Gas and Electric last week announced it would lay off almost 400 staff members, renegotiate contracts and reduce discretionary spending in a bid to save about $300 million a year.

Among the layoffs are eight corporate officers: three senior vice presidents and five vice presidents. The company will also not fill 500 open positions it has deemed noncritical. “None of these decisions were made lightly,” said incoming CEO Geisha Williams, who will officially take over March 1.

PG&E added 3,000 employees over the last four years, largely to bolster its safety operations after the deadly explosion of a natural gas pipeline in 2010.

More: San Francisco Chronicle

Arizona Public Service Unveils $90M Solar Plant

Arizona Public Service has unveiled its $90 million Red Rock Power Plant, which will supply power to PayPal and Arizona State University.

PayPal and ASU will pay a premium for the renewable energy credits from the 40-MW solar plant, which is located near Tucson.

More: The Arizona Republic

Thomas O’Neill Promoted to Exelon Sr. VP and General Counsel

Exelon has promoted Thomas S. O’Neill to senior vice president and general counsel, effective Jan. 1. He replaces Darryl Bradford, who retired at the end of 2016 after 13 years with the company.

O’Neill will serve as top legal adviser to Exelon’s senior management and oversee the company’s legal and corporate governance departments.

Previously, he served as senior vice president of energy and regulatory policy and general counsel at Commonwealth Edison.

More: Exelon

Great River to Purchase 300 MW of Wind Power from NextEra

Minnesota electric cooperative Great River Energy has signed a power purchase agreement with an affiliate of NextEra Energy Resources for a 300-MW wind project to be constructed in south-central North Dakota in 2019.

The Emmons-Logan wind project will include 133 turbines. With it, Great River will have a wind capacity of more than 700 MW. It purchases 51 MW from NextEra’s Ashtabula II Wind Energy Center in eastern North Dakota and 100 MW from its Endeavor I Energy Center in northwest Iowa.

More: Great River Energy

Tempers Flare over SDG&E Plan to Pay for 2007 Fire

San Diego Gas & Electric customers unleashed their anger Monday at a public meeting hosted by the California Public Utilities Commission regarding the utility’s proposal to increase rates by $379 million to recoup costs associated with a series of deadly wildfires in 2007 in San Diego County.

The purpose of the meeting was to allow two administrative law judges to get input for a recommendation they will make to the commission at large. The CPUC has scheduled an evidentiary hearing later this month.

“SDG&E should not be compensated on the backs of ratepayers for its poor behavior leading up to and after the 2007 fires,” said Diane Conklin, spokesperson for the Mussey Grade Road Alliance.

More: The San Diego Union-Tribune

NRG’s Clean Coal Facility Begins Operations

NRG Energy’s Petra Nova Project ― the first large-scale U.S. clean coal facility ― was declared operational Tuesday after delivering 100,000 tons of carbon dioxide captured at its Houston plant to an oil field where it was used to force additional oil from the ground.

The $1 billion project was done in partnership with JX Nippon Oil & Gas Exploration Corp., and the companies said the plant can capture more than 90% of the carbon dioxide released from the equivalent of a 240-MW coal unit. That amounts to 5,000 tons of carbon dioxide per day, or more than 1 million tons per year.

More: The Washington Post

Southern Co. Acquires Texas Wind Farm

Southern Co. subsidiary Southern Power has acquired the 276-MW Bethel Wind Energy Center in Texas from Invenergy Services, the company announced Monday.

The center will utilize 120 wind turbines, with final commissioning expected to be completed this month. Invenergy will operate and maintain the center upon completion, and Google Energy will sell the majority of its electricity and renewable energy credits under a long-term agreement.

Since 2012, Southern Co. has added or announced 6,500 MW of renewable energy generation.

More: Southern Co.


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