Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Company Briefs

Westinghouse Exec Files Whistleblower Complaints

Steve Hamilton, a senior vice president with Westinghouse Electric, has filed whistleblower complaints with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and U.S. Labor Department, according to Nuclear Intelligence Weekly.

Hamilton reportedly was directed by Toshiba, Westinghouse’s parent company, to investigate the company’s purchase of Stone & Webster, its construction subsidiary that worked on the failed V.C. Summer nuclear project. His findings were buried, according to Nuclear Intelligence Weekly, which didn’t specify what was in the report.

Westinghouse said in a press release last May that Hamilton had accepted a special assignment to “build the company’s commercial and operational footprint in Canada.”

More: The Post and Courier

Entergy Louisiana Breaks Ground on Power Plant

Entergy Louisiana has broken ground on its 994-MW, $872 million, combined cycle natural gas-fired Lake Charles Power Plant in Westlake, La.

The plant is scheduled to begin operating in 2020.

More: KATC

Avangrid to Supply Power to Nike in Texas

Avangrid Renewables said Thursday that Nike has signed a power purchase agreement for 86 MW of the 286-MW Karankawa Wind Farm just east of Mathis, Texas.

Austin Energy, Austin’s municipal utility, had already signed a PPA for 200 MW from the wind farm.

More: Avangrid Renewables

Phoebe Wood Elected to PPL Board

PPL said Jan. 18 that Phoebe Wood, the principal of investment firm CompaniesWood, has been elected to its board of directors.

Wood is “an executive with three decades of international, financial and operational management experience,” PPL said.

Wood was the chief financial officer of Brown-Forman from 2001 to 2008, as well as an executive vice president from 2001 to 2006 and a vice chairman from 2006 to 2008.

More: PPL

Work on Biggest Solar Array in Texas Begins

Hanwha Energy’s 174 Power Global subsidiary said Jan. 18 it has begun constructing a 236-MW solar project in Pecos County that will be the largest in Texas when it’s completed.

The company plans to own and operate the Midway Solar project for 25 years. It will sell all its power to Austin Energy, Austin’s municipal utility.

174 Power Global said Midway Solar will cost $260 million to build.

More: Solar Power World

Dominion Putting 9 Generating Units into Cold Reserve

Dominion Energy said Wednesday it plans to place nine generating units at five Virginia power plants into “cold reserve” status.

The units, which account for less than 1% of Dominion’s generation capacity, won’t run but can be restarted if necessary. All but one burn coal; the other was converted from coal to gas.

Dominion said it will maintain the necessary environmental permits for the units and continue paying local taxes on them.

More: The Washington Post

FERC Approves Hydro One, Avista Deal

FERC on Tuesday approved Ontario-owned Hydro One’s $5.3 billion acquisition of Avista, the companies announced.

The companies said FERC’s order noted the commitment by Hydro One to insulate Avista’s transmission customers from costs associated with the deal.

It still must be approved by utility regulators in Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Montana and Alaska, as well as the Federal Communications Commission and the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. It also must pass antitrust muster.

More: Hydro One, Avista

Siemens Gamesa to Supply 95 Wind Turbines to Two Wind Farms

Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy said Thursday it has signed contracts to supply 95 of its G132-3.465 MW wind turbines to two wind farms being built in the U.S.

The company will supply 47 of the turbines to the Midway Wind project in San Patricio County, Texas, which is scheduled to be completed late this year.

The remainder of the turbines will go to a customer Siemens is not disclosing for a project scheduled to come online next year.

More: Siemens Gamesa

Dominion not Interested in Buying Santee Cooper, CEO Says

Farrell | UVA

Dominion Energy CEO Thomas Farrell II on Jan. 16 told a panel of South Carolina state senators that his company is not interested in buying Santee Cooper, at least not “in whole.”

Farrell was before the panel to testify about Dominion’s agreement to buy SCANA, which paired with the state-owned Santee Cooper in a failed attempt to build two additional nuclear reactors at the V.C. Summer power plant.

Dominion has agreed to buy SCANA for $14.6 billion and has said that if the deal goes through it will cut the electric rates of SCANA’s South Carolina Electric & Gas subsidiary by $7/month and immediately refund $1.3 billion to SCG&E customers, who have paid $1.8 billion for construction of the reactors that were never completed. Dominion still plans to charge SCG&E customers another $2.8 billion over 20 years for work performed on the reactors. South Carolina lawmakers are unhappy about that, but Dominion has said it won’t buy SCANA if it’s not permitted to do that.

More: Post and Courier; The State

TEP to Issue Wind Power RFP

Tucson Electric Power said it plans to issue this week a request for proposals for 100-150 MW of new wind energy resources that connect with its system or provide power through a third-party firm transmission service.

TEP said it expects to contract with the successful bidder this year and begin getting wind power from it in 2021.

The company wants proposed projects to have at least 100 MW of capacity.

More: Tucson Electric Power

Shell to Buy Nearly 44% of Nashville Solar Firm

Shell has agreed to buy nearly 44% of Silicon Ranch, a Nashville, Tenn.-based company founded by former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen that is developing, owns, or operates 100 solar energy facilities in 14 states.

The oil-and-gas company is purchasing the stake in Silicon Ranch from Partners Group, a Swiss investment manager, in a deal that could be worth up to $217 million.

How much of Silicon Ranch Shell ultimately buys will be based on Silicon Ranch’s performance. Shell can increase its stake in the company after 2021.

More: Tennessean

Operators Replace Valve While Pilgrim Offline

Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station | NRC

Operators at the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth, Mass., replaced a leaking pilot safety relief valve while the plant was offline for six days after being shut down on Jan. 4 during a winter storm.

The valve had nothing to do with the shutdown, but malfunctioning pilot safety relief valves have plagued the plant in the past, contributing to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission downgrading it to Column 4, one step away from mandatory shutdown, in 2015.

Operators manually shut down the plant’s reactor after one of two 345-kV lines stopped delivering power to the facility.

More: Cape Cod Times; Cape Cod Times

Berkshire Hathaway Energy Names Fehrman CEO

Fehrman | AWEA

Berkshire Hathaway Energy on Jan. 11 named William Fehrman as CEO, replacing Greg Abel, who was promoted to head of Berkshire Hathaway’s non-insurance businesses.

Fehrman was CEO of MidAmerican Energy and BHE Renewables. He has been a senior executive with Berkshire Hathaway since 2006.

More: MT Newswires

SPP RE Trustee Gerry Burrows Dies

Industry veteran Gerry Burrows, a trustee for SPP’s Regional Entity, died Jan. 9 after a battle with cancer. Burrows, of Grain Valley, Mo., was re-elected to the RE’s Board of Trustees in October. He had been a trustee since 2007, shortly after his retirement from Kansas City Power & Light.

A professional engineer, Burrows began his career in 1971 with KCP&L. Burrows served on several SPP stakeholder groups, and represented the RTO and the Edison Electric Institute on the NERC Operating Committee. He was also a member of NERC’s Functional Model Working Group and Reliability Assessment Committee, and was a standards drafting team leader.

“Gerry always represented his company, KCP&L, his regional association, SPP, and finally his position as a Regional Entity trustee with thoughtful and well-balanced inputs,” said SPP RE President Ron Ciesiel, whose paths crossed with Burrows’ for more than 25 years. “He was a friend to the SPP RE staff and we will miss him going into the future.”

SCANA Seeks Dismissal of Lawsuits over Failed Nuclear Project

SCANA on Jan. 7 asked a South Carolina Circuit Court judge to dismiss five class-action lawsuits filed against it over its handling of the failed nuclear project at the V.C. Summer station.

The utility’s attorneys argued that the lawsuits should be decided by the South Carolina Public Service Commission, which along with South Carolina’s legislature are scheduled to deliberate who should pay for the $9 billion failure.

More: The Post and Courier

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