Monday, August 20, 2018

Company Briefs

Xcel, EVRAZ Agree on Power Contract for Colorado Steel Mill

Xcel Energy and EVRAZ said Aug. 16 they have agreed on a long-term contract that guarantees EVRAZ price certainty on power for its Pueblo, Colo., steel mill for the next 22 years.

Among other things, the contract calls for Xcel to build a 240-MW solar farm on EVRAZ’s property.

EVRAZ said Aug. 17 it will keep its mill in Pueblo for the next 50 years if the contract is approved by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission. The company is Xcel’s largest customer in the state.

More: The Pueblo Chieftain; The Pueblo Chieftain

FERC OKs Allegheny Reactive Power Settlement

Allegheny Energy Supply’s Pleasants plant will receive $1.6 million annually for providing reactive power under an uncontested settlement approved by FERC last week. The company had sought a revenue requirement of $2.2 million, a reduction of $1.9 million from its previous revenue requirement.

More: ER17-1220-001

Wood Mackenzie Combines GTM Research, MAKE into New Unit

Wood Mackenzie has combined five of its research teams to form Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables.

The new unit comprises Wood Mackenzie’s power team; MAKE’s team of wind analysts; and the solar, energy storage, and grid edge teams from GTM Research.

Wood Mackenzie acquired Greentech Media, GTM Research’s parent, in July 2016. Verisk Analytics, which bought Wood Mackenzie in May 2015, bought MAKE in May 2017 and made it part of Wood Mackenzie.

Caithness Sues PSEG for Derailing Long Island Power Plant

Caithness Long Island Energy and its parent, Caithness Energy, have filed an antitrust lawsuit against Public Service Enterprise Group, claiming the company and its Long Island subsidiary conspired to “exclude competition” by preventing Caithness from building a second natural gas-fired power plant on the island.

Caithness said PSEG’s efforts over the past four years “derailed” its plan to open Caithness Long Island II, a 750-MW combined cycle plant, next to the 350-MW Caithness Long Island Energy Center, which it opened in 2009.

PSEG last year advised the Long Island Power Authority to reject Caithness’ plan for the plant because it was unnecessary. LIPA expects renewable energy from sources that include wind farms off Long Island’s South Shore to displace energy from traditional power plants over time.

More: Newsday

FES Files Decommissioning Plans for 3 Nukes

FirstEnergy Solutions on Aug. 15 made a filing with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission as part of the decommissioning process for the three nuclear power plants it plans to shut in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

The bankrupt FirstEnergy subsidiary filed paperwork detailing a training program for the professionals who will supervise the part of the plants’ shutdown process involving the on-site storage of their used fuel.

Despite the filing, the company said it intends to work with Ohio and Pennsylvania officials to try to keep the plants open.

More: Akron Beacon Journal

Attorneys for SCE&G Customers Ask for Nuclear Project Refund

In a motion filed Aug. 15, attorneys for South Carolina Electric & Gas customers say the company should have to refund the entire $452 million it collected from its customers for its failed nuclear project over the past year.

The attorneys argued that the South Carolina law that allows the SCANA subsidiary to charge its customers for the project only permits it to do so while the project is under construction or in service.

The two reactors that SCE&G and Santee Cooper tried to add to the V.C. Summer Nuclear Generating Station are neither, as the companies gave up trying to build them last summer after spending $9 billion on them.

More: The Post and Courier

Urban Grid Sells Two Virginia Solar Projects to Dominion

Urban Grid said Aug. 14 it has sold two solar projects with a total capacity of 240 MW to Dominion Energy for an undisclosed sum.

The company said that when the projects are completed they will comprise the largest contiguous solar project in Virginia.

Urban Grid said the 142-MW Colonial Trail West Solar is scheduled to begin commercial operation in December of next year and the 98-MW Spring Grove Solar is scheduled to start commercial operation in October 2020.

More: Urban Grid

Central Maine Power Launches Apology Ad Campaign

Central Maine Power has launched a TV ad campaign to help repair its image, which has been damaged by perceptions that its restoration efforts after a wind storm last fall were inadequate and customer anger over high bills that have led to a state investigation and a class-action lawsuit.

The campaign consists of commercials of 30 and 60 seconds that began airing Aug. 13. In them, CMP President and CEO Doug Herling tells customers that when they raised concerns about its new customer care system, “we didn’t respond as well as we should have and we are very sorry about that.”

More: Portland Press Herald

Wind Forces Pilgrim Nuclear Plant to Lower Output

Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station | Entergy

The Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station has had to lower its power output because wind conditions heating its intake water, according to a spokesman for Entergy, which owns the plant.

The wind has been pushing warm water released from the plant’s reactor into the area from which the plant takes in water used to cool its reactor and turbine. That has forced the plant to lower its power output to about 90%.

Entergy was planning to reduce the plant’s output to about 50% on Aug. 14 to perform a planned flushing of algae and other marine matter from its condenser, said Entergy spokesman Patrick O’Brien.

More: Cape Cod Times

Colstrip Units Still Offline from Emissions Problems

puget sound energy, talen, colstrip

Colstrip Power Plant | Talen Energy

Colstrip Power Plant’s Units 3 and 4 are still failing emissions tests, according to Montana’s Department of Environmental Quality, and remain shut down except for the tests.

The units, which account for 70% of the Colstrip, Mont., coal-fired plant’s power, have been offline since they failed emissions tests on June 28. Talen Energy, which runs Colstrip, hasn’t said how much repairing them will cost or when they could return to service.

“We are working diligently to resolve the issue and bring the units back on line as soon as possible to meet the needs of the market and our customers,” Todd Martin, Talen communications manager, said in an Aug. 9 email to the Billings Gazette.

More: Billings Gazette

PG&E Names Franke VP of Safety and Health

Pacific Gas and Electric said Aug. 13 it has named Jon Franke vice president of safety and health, effective Sept. 1.

Franke is currently PG&E’s vice president of power generation. He joined the company in 2017 and has more than 30 years of nuclear and energy industry experience.

More: PG&E Corp.

Riverkeeper Files Court Challenge to FERC’s PennEast Approval

In an Aug. 13 filing with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, the Delaware Riverkeeper Network challenged FERC’s Aug. 10 approval of the PennEast pipeline.

The environmental group said in its filing that FERC violated the Natural Gas Act and the National Environmental Policy Act in approving the pipeline.

New Jersey Sierra Club said it also will challenge FERC’s approval of the natural gas pipeline in court.

More: Delaware Riverkeeper Network; State Impact Pennsylvania

SEIA Names General Counsel, VP of Business Development

Smirnow

The Solar Energy Industries Association said Aug. 13 that John Smirnow will rejoin it as general counsel and vice president of market strategy and Tony Chen will become its vice president of business development, a newly created position.

Smirnow previously was SEIA’s vice president of international trade. Chen has more than a decade of experience in business development in the solar industry, including as vice president of sales and business development at Cool Earth Solar, and as a project development manager at SolarCity.

More: Solar Energy Industries Association

Vogtle Nuclear Expansion Cost Rising $1.1 Billion, Georgia Power Says

Georgia Power said completing the twin nuclear units at Plant Vogtle will cost $1.1 billion more than it had anticipated.

Georgia Power said Aug. 8 that its sister company, Southern Nuclear, now estimates that completing the units will cost $8.4 billion, up from $7.3 billion.

Georgia Power said it, not its customers, will bear the additional cost.

More: The Atlanta-Journal Constitution

Sempra Energy Names Sagara SDG&E Chairman, CEO

Sempra Energy said Kevin Sagara will become the chairman and CEO of San Diego Gas & Electric on Aug. 25.

Sagara has served as president of Sempra Renewables since 2014 and been with Sempra in a variety of leadership positions for 22 years.

Scott Drury, who has been SDG&E’s president since the beginning of 2017, will continue in that role and report to Sagara.

More: Sempra Energy

Northern Pass Appeals Denial to NH Supreme Court

Northern Pass Transmission on Aug. 10 filed an appeal with the New Hampshire Supreme Court challenging the state Site Evaluation Committee’s recent decision denying it a permit for its proposed transmission project.

The Eversource Energy subsidiary said proponents of the project think a favorable ruling by the court will enable it to return to the SEC next year for additional evaluation.

More: Northern Pass

SCE&G Asks 4th Circuit to Halt Rate Cut

South Carolina Electric and Gas on Aug. 8 asked the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for an emergency order to stop a temporary 15% cut to its electric rates that went into effect Aug. 7, pending its appeal of a lower court’s ruling against it.

The court said the motion by the SCANA subsidiary will be assigned to a three-judge panel and responses to it are due Aug. 15.

The rate cut is the result of a law passed by the South Carolina General Assembly aimed at stopping SCE&G from charging customers for its share of the failed $9 billion attempt by it and Santee Cooper to expand the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station.

More: The Charlotte Observer

Sempra Forms NA Infrastructure Group

Sacristán

Sempra Energy announced Aug. 7 that it has formed a new operating group to oversee all its North American infrastructure businesses.

The company named Carlos Ruiz Sacristan as the group’s CEO. Sacristan was CEO of Sempra subsidiary Infraestructura Energetica Nova, which will be a part of the group along with Sempra LNG & Midstream.

“This new streamlined organizational structure will better align our non-utility operations to serve our global customers, and develop and execute projects even more effectively,” CEO Jeffrey W. Martin said.

More: Sempra

FERC Reinstates Invenergy Solar Farm to PJM Queue

FERC on Aug. 7 restored a proposed Ohio solar facility’s position in PJM’s interconnection queue, granting the developer a waiver for an accounting error that caused it to miss a milestone payment.

Invenergy Solar Development North America requested the waiver after PJM notified the company June 21 that it had removed the 170-MW facility in Hardin County from the queue because of its failure to make an $85,000 system impact study deposit. Invenergy said it wired PJM the money the day it was notified and that it had otherwise met all its obligations in the interconnection process.

The commission’s order approving the waiver, which reinstated Invenergy in queue position AD1-130, noted that PJM “sees no potential adverse impacts” from the reinstatement.

More: ER18-1985

PJM Signs New Deal with Monitoring Analytics

The PJM Board of Managers has approved a new market monitoring contract with Monitoring Analytics, PJM CEO Andy Ott announced Aug. 8. The new contract, which must be approved by FERC, extends a pact signed in 2013 that expires in December 2019.

PJM said it would provide stakeholders with details on the agreement at the Aug. 23 Markets and Reliability Committee meeting.

Monitoring Analytics President Joe Bowring has served as PJM’s Market Monitor since 1999. He formed the independent company after leaving PJM’s staff following a 2007 dispute, when he accused then-PJM President Phil Harris of attempting to muzzle him and cutting his budget.

More: PJM, Monitoring Analytics Sign New Contract

SC Senate Sues McMaster over Utility Board

McMaster

The South Carolina Senate sued Gov. Henry McMaster on Aug. 7, challenging his unilateral appointment of former Attorney General Charlie Condon as chairman of state-owned utility Santee Cooper’s board of directors.

The Senate failed to confirm Condon, nominated by McMaster in March, before the legislative session ended in June. The governor said the position can’t remain vacant, though William Finn currently serves as acting chairman.

The lawsuit asks the state Supreme Court to take the case directly and settle it as quickly as possible.

More: The Post & Courier; The State

Dominion: SCANA Merger to Close in December

A Dominion Energy spokesperson Aug. 6 said the company expects its proposed merger with SCANA to close by the end of the year.

The South Carolina Public Service Commission will begin hearings on the deal in November, and the North Carolina Utilities Commission will begin reviewing it sometime in fall, Dominion said. The companies have already received approvals from the Georgia Public Service Commission, FERC and the Federal Trade Commission.

Also on Aug. 6, SCANA subsidiary South Carolina Electric and Gas announced that customers would see a 15% rate decrease in their bills beginning Aug. 7.

More: Journal Scene

Murray Funding Oppo to Freshwater Wind Farm

Murray Energy has been funding opposition to the Icebreaker Wind project, a wind farm in Lake Erie off Ohio that if built would be the first freshwater offshore wind project in North America.

Documents show that developer Lake Erie Energy Development Corp. presented evidence to the Ohio Power Siting Board, which is considering the project, that Murray paid a consultant to produce a report about the economic viability of the project, as well as the legal fees for two residents of the lakeside village of Bratenahl who are challenging the project before the board.

LEEDCo did not allege Murray broke any laws. A Murray spokesperson confirmed the company’s activities to The Plain Dealer.

More: Greentech Media; The Plain Dealer

Evergy to Close Fossil Units Earlier than Expected

The newly merged company Evergy will close units at three of its fossil fuel-fired plants in Kansas in the next four months, years earlier than originally expected.

Evergy will close the two units at the coal-fired Tecumseh Energy Center; two of the Gordon Evans Energy Center’s gas-fired units; and two gas-fired units at the Murray Gill Energy Center.

The merger of Westar Energy and Great Plains Energy “gave us the opportunity to move the retirement up a little bit sooner than we had originally planned,” an Evergy spokesperson said.

More: Topeka Capital-Journal

EDP Wind Farm to Power Facebook Data Center

EDP Renewables North America announced Aug. 2 that it will build a 50-turbine wind facility in Randolph County, Ind., for $300 million.

Facebook has already signed a 15-year power purchase agreement for 139 of the Headwaters II Wind Farm’s 200 MW to power its planned 970,000-square-foot data center in New Albany, Ohio.

Work on Headwaters II is expected to begin in fall 2019, according to EDP. The company also operates the 200-MW Headwaters I in the county, which is rural Eastern Indiana, close to the Ohio border.

More: Richmond Palladium-Item

Central Hudson Board Appoints New CEO

Central Hudson Gas & Electric’s board of directors Aug. 3 appointed Charles A. Freni as president and CEO, effective Sept. 15.

Freni has been with the company for more than 30 years and current serves as senior vice president of customer services, transmission and distribution. He has also served as vice president of engineering and environmental affairs.

He replaces Michael Mosher, who has been appointed CEO of fellow sister utility FortisAlberta.

More: Central Hudson Gas & Electric

Avangrid Launches ‘Green’ Balancing Authority in WECC

Avangrid Renewables said Aug. 1 it has launched its “Green” Balancing Authority in the Western Interconnection.

The Avangrid unit said the BA’s 1,300 MW of renewable generation facilities makes it the largest renewable generation resource-only BA in Western Electricity Coordinating Council.

The BA will use a combination of owned and contracted resources, hour-ahead capacity purchases and intra-hour energy purchases, Avangrid said.

More: Avangrid Renewables

Westinghouse Electric Completes Sale, Emerges from Bankruptcy

Westinghouse Electric said Aug. 1 it has completed its sale to Brookfield Business Partners and re-emergence from Chapter 11 as a reorganized company.

The provider of nuclear technology, fuels and service had been a unit of Toshiba. It was forced to seek bankruptcy protection after its role in two attempts to expand U.S. nuclear power plants, one of which has been halted.

More: Westinghouse Electric

Alliant Energy Says No Coal, 80% Carbon Cut by 2050

Alliant Energy plans to remove coal from its generation mix and reduce its carbon emissions 80% by 2050, the company said in its corporate sustainability report, which it released Thursday.

The company also said it plans to increase renewables’ share of its power generation to 33% by 2030 from 16% now. Coal currently provides 33% of Alliant’s power. The company plans to cut that to 23% by 2024.

More: Wisconsin State Journal

Entergy Completes Moving Spent Vermont Yankee Fuel

Entergy said Aug. 2 it has completed placing the spent fuel from its closed Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant into sealed casks.

The completion of the $143 million project allows Entergy to drastically reduce the size of the protected area on the plant’s grounds, which the Nuclear Regulatory Commission gave it permission to do on Aug. 2.

The completion of the project also clears the way for the potential sale of the plant site to NorthStar Group Services, which has proposed an accelerated cleanup for it.

More: VTDigger

PG&E Lobbying Expenses Total $1.7M in Second Quarter

Pacific Gas and Electric spent $1.7 million on lobbying, including $1.1 million on advocacy related to proposed legislation dealing with its wildfire liabilities, in the second quarter, according to filings the utility made with the state.

That was more than the amount PG&E spent on lobbying all last year and was more than the $900,000 spent by Southern California Edison and the $502,000 by Sempra Energy in the quarter. It brought the total spent in the first half of the year by PG&E to $2.2 million.

More: The Sacramento Bee

FERC OKs Reduced Reactive Power Payments for Minn. Wind Farm

FERC on Wednesday approved an uncontested settlement reducing annual reactive power payments to the 200-MW Red Pine wind farm to $967,000, down from the company’s proposed revenue requirement of $1.3 million. The facility, in Lincoln County, Minn., is interconnected Northern States Power’s transmission system in MISO.

More: ER18-563-001

Average SC Customer Paying $6,200 for VC Summer

The average residential customer of Santee Cooper will have to pay about $6,200 through 2056 to pay off the South Carolina-owned utility’s share of the failed attempt to expand the V.C. Summer nuclear power plant, according to its interim CEO Jim Brogdon.

Santee Cooper customers now pay only $5/month toward the cost of the failed project, but that will more than double over the next five years, with the charge varying based on how much debt from the project is coming due.

Santee Cooper’s partner on the failed project, South Carolina Electric & Gas, expects its typical residential customers would only have to pay $2,800 if its parent, SCANA, is bought by Dominion Energy.

More: The Post and Courier

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