Nineteen Cities and Counties Pledge to Incorporate EVs Into Fleets
Nineteen cities and counties on Sept. 11 committed themselves to an initiative to incorporate electric vehicles into their fleets.
The city and county of Los Angeles, Phoenix, Houston, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Fayetteville, N.C., and Cuyahoga County in Ohio were among those that made the commitment as part of the Global Climate Action summit in San Francisco.
The cities and counties committed to buying 376 vehicles in the first year of the initiative, with the expectation that they will go from buying light-duty sedans to also purchasing electric buses, trucks and other heavy-duty vehicles.
State Official Questioned AG About Ballot Measure Language
An official with the secretary of state’s office said language that the attorney general’s office put in the explanation of a ballot measure on boosting the state’s renewable energy portfolio was “eyebrow raising,” according to an email exchange obtained by The Arizona Republic.
The language, which deals with the measure’s potential costs to consumers, has become a prominent part of the campaign backed by the parent company of Arizona Public Service to defeat the measure.
The measure would change the state constitution to require regulated electric companies to get half their power from renewable sources by 2030. Supporters of the measure say the added language make it less likely to pass.
More: The Arizona Republic
Regulators Approve New Solar Rates, Displeasing Solar Advocates
The Corporation Commission voted 3-2 on Sept. 11 to approve new solar rates for Tucson Electric Power and UNS Electric.
The rates, which were proposed by an administrative law judge in April, will reduce how much the utilities pay new solar generation customers for energy they ship back to the grid and increase the monthly meter fees for those customers.
Advocates say the ruling will make solar uneconomical for many customers and could cause the industry to collapse in the state.
More: Arizona Daily Star
Salt River Project Contributing to Clean Energy Ballot Measure Fight
Salt River Project’s board of directors decided Sept. 10 to contribute $50,000 toward the effort to get voters to oppose the state’s regulated electric utilities getting half their power from renewables by 2030.
The public utility’s board promised that the money won’t go to organizations affiliated with Arizona Public Service, which has been leading the fight against the increased renewables requirement.
SRP wouldn’t be directly affected if Proposition 127 passes, but one of the company’s objectives is to take the lead in state energy policy, and some of the board members wanted their opposition to the ballot question to be noted.
More: Arizona Republic
UNS Energy to Fight Renewable Ballot Measure
UNS Energy has formed two political action committees to convince citizens to vote against a proposition that would require the state’s utilities to get 50% of their power from renewable sources by 2030.
The company says Proposition 127 would dramatically increase the cost of electricity and force its Tucson Electric Power subsidiary to close its Springerville Generating Station.
UNS had not actively opposed the proposition previously, unlike Arizona Public Service, which filed a lawsuit to keep it off the ballot.
More: Arizona Daily Star
APS Seeks Rate Hike to Cover Environmental Equipment
Arizona Public Service is asking the Corporation Commission for a $67.1 million rate increase to cover the cost of environmental equipment added earlier this year to the Four Corners Power Plant near Farmington, N.M.
The company’s request for an increase comes as the Corporation Commission considers requests to reopen a rate case from last year in which it granted APS a rate increase. That increase didn’t include the cost of the Four Corners equipment because it was still being installed.
APS owns 63% of the two units still operating at the Four Corners plant.
More: Arizona Republic
Supreme Court Ruling Likely Puts Renewable Power Measure on Ballot
The Supreme Court has denied an appeal to a Maricopa County Superior Court decision in favor of the supporters of a voter initiative to require the state’s utilities to get half their power from renewable sources by 2030, meaning it likely will be on the November ballot.
Opponents of the measure had challenged the signatures on the petitions to get it on the ballot and the description of it given to people who signed the petitions. The Maricopa court ruled against them on Aug. 27, and the Supreme Court upheld that decision on Aug. 29.
The group supporting the measure is backed by California billionaire Tom Steyer, who has pushed similar measures in other states.
More: Arizona Republic
Judge Rules Renewable Initiative Qualifies for November Ballot
Maricopa County Superior Judge Daniel Kiley has ruled the initiative to get half the power sold in the state to come from renewable sources by 2030 can be on the ballot in November.
Arizonans for Affordable Energy, a group set up by Arizona Public Service and its parent, Pinnacle West Capital, to keep the measure off the ballot, said it will appeal the judge’s ruling.
The group had argued NextGen Climate Action, the organization backed by California billionaire Tom Steyer that is trying to get the initiative on the ballot, tricked voters into signing petitions and submitted petitions with many signatures it knew were invalid in the hope of overwhelming the officials charged with validating the signatures.
More: Capitol Media Services
Mesa, Gilbert Mayors Join Lawsuit Challenging Renewable Ballot Initiative
Mesa Mayor John Giles and Gilbert Mayor Jenn Daniels have signed on as plaintiffs in the lawsuit that challenges the effort to get an initiative to boost the state’s renewable portfolio standard to 50% by 2030 on the November ballot.
The effort is being challenged by Arizonans for Affordable Energy, a group funded by Arizona Public Service’s parent, Pinnacle West Capital. It’s being undertaken by Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona, which is funded by billionaire Tom Steyer.
The trial began Aug. 20.
More: East Valley Tribune
RCEA Submits Application for Floating Offshore Wind Farm
The Redwood Coast Energy Authority said Sept. 12 it has submitted a lease application to the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Management to advance the development of a floating offshore wind farm with a capacity of 100 to 150 MW.
RCEA is working with a consortium of private companies, including Principle Power, EDPR Offshore North America and Aker Solutions, to develop the wind farm more than 20 miles off the coast of Eureka.
Southern California Edison Proposes Spending $582 Million on Wildfire Safety
Among other things, the utility wants to replace nearly 600 miles of overhead power lines in high fire-risk areas with insulated wire by the end of 2020. SCE said more than half the fire ignitions associated with distribution lines in its service territory are the result of objects such as metallic balloons, tree limbs and palm fronds contacting the lines, and insulated wires can significantly reduce the potential for those types of ignitions.
SCE wants to replace about 3,400 miles of overhead lines with insulated wire between 2021 and 2025. It said it would seek funding for that work in future rate cases.
Bill Continuing Self-Generation Incentive Program Sent to Brown’s Desk
The Senate has passed a bill authorizing the continuation of the Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) through 2025, sending it on to Gov. Jerry Brown’s desk.
SB 700 was passed by the Senate on Aug. 28, a day after it was approved by the assembly. It would provide incentives totaling $830 million, or $166 million a year, for incentives for qualifying behind-the-meter energy storage deployments.
The passage comes a year after a bill that would have created a new 10-year program to replace SGIP was abruptly withdrawn from consideration in a Senate committee.
More: Greentech Media
Fast EV Charger Installation Rebates Launched
A project to provide up to $29 million in rebates to encourage businesses and public entities to install high-powered charging stations for plug-in electric vehicles has launched.
The Southern California Incentive Project (SCIP) is accepting applications from eligible businesses and public entities for rebates for DC fast charger installations of up to $70,000 per charger or 75% of the total cost of the installation, whichever is less.
SCIP is an initiative of the California Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Project (CALeVIP), which works with community partners to develop and implement regional projects that provide incentives to support the installation of EV charging infrastructure throughout the state.
More: Green Car Congress
SCE Details Rate Reduction from San Onofre Settlement
Southern California Edison said Aug. 28 its customers immediately will begin seeing reductions in their bills because of the Public Utility Commission’s approval of a settlement over allocation of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station’s closing costs.
The reductions will take the form of a one-time refund and a 2% rate reduction for residential customers. The settlement authorized a rate reduction of $755 million, which includes a $155 million refund.
Delta-Montrose Vote Could Allow Switching Power Suppliers
Delta-Montrose Electric Association members will vote next month whether to allow the co-op to issue stock to non-members so it can get financial support from a third-party power supplier to help it exit its contract to buy power from Tri-State Generation and Transmission.
The co-op’s board launched a campaign to support the change after the co-op requested and was denied information on Kit Carson Electric Cooperative’s buyout of its Tri-State contract.
Delta-Montrose is among Tri-State’s largest customers, and its defection could heighten the risk of a mass exodus from the wholesaler by forcing Tri-State’s remaining customers to cover more of the cost of operating its infrastructure, including its coal-fired power plant.
More: Energy News Network
Xcel, Boulder to Request More Time to Form Utility
The city of Boulder will ask the Public Utilities Commission for the fourth extension to the deadline for it to complete its negotiations with Xcel Energy over forming a municipal utility.
Boulder City Attorney Tom Carr said Aug. 13 that the city and the utility have reached “an agreement in principle,” but Xcel needs more time to get it approved internally. The current deadline is Aug. 24.
More: Daily Camera
Black Hills Energy Must Devise Residential Time-of-Use Plan
The PUC also denied the utility’s request to create a separate class of customers covering residential customers with solar generation and net-metering plans.
Both issues had been decided earlier in the year in Black Hills’ rate case, but it had asked the PUC to reconsider them.
More: Pueblo Chieftain
Report: 10M Cyberattacks on Utilities per Week
The state’s four major utilities, including its two electric utilities, faced between a few thousand and more than 10 million attempts per week to penetrate their computer systems in the past year, according to a report issued Sept. 17.
The “Connecticut Critical Infrastructure 2018 Annual Report” says the state’s “critical infrastructure was able to stay ahead of the growing threats and sustain its defense against cyber compromise.”
The companies reviewed in the report said they are dependent on cable and broadband service and need to work cooperatively with its providers. They also reiterated their request that cable and broadband companies take part in the state’s annual review process with them.
State Receives ‘More Than 100 Submissions’ to Zero Carbon Solicitation
The state “received more than 100 submissions” in response to its solicitation for carbon-free electricity, according to Chris Collibee, a Department of Energy and Environmental Protection spokesman. The deadline for submissions under the Zero Carbon program was Sept. 14.
Dominion Energy, which operates the Millstone nuclear power plant in Milford, made a submission, as did Vineyard Wind. Dominion had implied it might be forced to close the Millstone plant unless it were allowed to participate in the solicitation. Vineyard Wind is saying it will make a “multi-million-dollar investment” in improvements to harbor facilities in Bridgeport if its proposal is selected.
More: Hartford Courant
Simsbury Reaches Settlement with Deepwater
The Simsbury Board of Selectmen voted unanimously Sept. 12 to approve a settlement agreement with Deepwater Wind over its proposed 26-MW Tobacco Valley Solar Farm.
The board had voted in January to challenge the state Siting Council’s approval of the project.
Simsbury’s attorney said the settlement included provisions for all the concessions the town had sought from Deepwater.
More: Hartford Courant
State Makes $5 Million Grant for Microgrid on Submarine Base
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Sept. 5 announced a $5 million state grant to build a microgrid at the Naval Submarine Base in Groton.
Energy security at the submarine base was identified as a major concern during the Base Realignment and Closure process in 2005. State officials hope the microgrid will improve the base’s standing when the next round of reviews for possible facility closures occurs in 2021.
Work on the microgrid is expected to start next year.
More: New Haven Register
Carney Signs Clean Energy Financing Bill
Gov. John Carney on Sept. 5 signed a bill enabling Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy financing in the state.
The financing is used to pay for commercial energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. It’s provided by private lenders and repaid by voluntary assessments on the county tax bills for the properties on which the projects are built.
The Delaware Sustainable Energy Utility will administer the program and hopes to have it up and running in the first quarter of next year.
More: Delaware Business Times
PSC Approves Settlement Allowing Delmarva Power to Refund Tax Savings
The Public Service Commission has approved a settlement that will enable Delmarva Power to pass along its savings from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to customers.
The settlement between the company, PSC staff, the Division of the Public Advocate and the Delaware Energy Users Group will reduce the amount Delmarva collects from customers by about $7 million. That translates into a monthly bill decrease of $1.40, or 1.2%, for a typical residential customer who uses 840-kWH of electricity a month.
More: Delaware Business Now
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Pepco Seeks Approval of Programs to Boost Electric Transportation Use
Pepco said Sept. 7 it has filed a request with the Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia to let it implement a $15.2 million suite of programs meant to increase residents’ accessibility to electric transportation options.
The programs would provide customers with reduced electric rates, credits, rebates and other incentives to buy and operate electric vehicles and facilitate the electrification of public transit and other commercial transportation options.
Pepco used input from more than two dozen stakeholders, customer survey results and three public workshops to develop the programs.
PUC Sets New Hearing Date for Avista, Hydro One Deal
The companies have asked the PUC to make a decision by mid-December, but its members have said they may need more time.
The new schedule sets Nov. 26 as the date for a technical hearing The hearing was scheduled for July, but the commission canceled it after Hydro One’s CEO retired and its board of directors resigned.
Hydro One-Avista Hearing Postponed After Shakeup
The Public Utilities Commission has postponed a technical hearing on Hydro One’s $5.3 billion acquisition of Avista scheduled for July 23 because of the retirement of Hydro One’s CEO and resignation of its board of directors.
The commission hasn’t announced a new date for the hearing, which was meant to address concerns about the deal raised in earlier public comments and testimony. It said Avista must file an update if a new Hydro One CEO and board aren’t in place by Aug. 15.
The province of Ontario is Hydro One’s largest shareholder with a 47% stake in the company and the power to remove its board. In his campaign, Premier Doug Ford called for replacing the company’s CEO and board.
More: The Spokesman-Review
Consumer Counselor Files Testimony Opposing Vectren Solar Project
The Office of the Utility Consumer Counselor has filed testimony with the Utility Regulatory Commission opposing Vectren’s proposal to recover from its customers the cost of building a $75 million, 50-MW solar facility in Spencer County.
The OUCC said the project would add $2.75 to the average Vectren customer’s bill. The project “is sized and designed to maximize financial and publicity results for Vectren at no risk to Vectren,” John Haselden, an OUCC senior utility analyst, wrote in the agency’s testimony.
Chase Kelley, Vectren’s vice president of marketing and communication, said the company “respectfully disagrees” with the OUCC recommendation and will continue to seek the commission’s approval for the project.
Agreement Approval Allows Duke Customers to See Tax Cut Savings
Duke Energy Indiana said Aug. 23 that the Utility Regulatory Commission has approved an agreement between it, the Office of Utility Consumer Counselor, the Indiana Industrial Group and Nucor Steel that will enable it to pass its savings from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on to its customers.
Duke said the agreement will result in a 5.6% average rate reduction for its customers by 2020, with most of the savings beginning this year. Average residential customers using 1,000 kWh/month will save $7.33 on their monthly electric bills by 2020, the company said.
More: Duke Energy
PSC Allows Duke to Resume Most DSM Programs
The Public Service Commission said Sept. 13 it has allowed Duke Energy Kentucky to resume most of its demand-side management programs but has modified or eliminated others.
The commission had suspended the programs, except for those serving low-income ratepayers, in February when it initiated a comprehensive review of them by consolidating three cases originated by Duke.
The PSC said some of the programs it allowed to continue are necessary for Duke as a member of PJM and others provide sufficient benefits to ratepayers to justify their costs.
PSC Rejects KU/LG&E Smart Meter Deployment Proposal
The Public Service Commission said Aug. 30 it has rejected a proposal by Kentucky Utilities and Louisville Gas & Electric to deploy smart meters and associated technology.
The PSC said that although it “sees benefits in advanced metering,” the PPL subsidiaries had “failed to provide sufficient evidence to persuade” it that the benefits of the proposal outweighed its costs.
KU had proposed replacing about 531,000 electric meters at a total cost of $161.9 million, while LG&E had proposed replacing about 413,000 electric meters and retrofitting about 334,000 natural gas meters for $178.5 million. The PSC denied the proposal without prejudice, meaning the utilities can submit a similar proposal at a later date.
PSC Relieves BREC of Obligation to Run Henderson Plant
The Public Service Commission on Aug. 29 issued an order relieving Big Rivers Electric Corp. (BREC) of any continuing obligation to operate a 312-MW, coal-fired plant for the city of Henderson.
The PSC said in the order that Henderson’s Station Two power plant “is no longer economically viable,” echoing a provision in the contract under which BREC operates the plant and confirming the termination of the contract.
The PSC also granted BREC’s request for authorization to continue operating the plant through May 31, 2019, in order to allow Henderson to make other arrangements for operating the plant or find alternative sources of power. BREC will cease operating the plant earlier if it and Henderson reach an agreement.
More: SurfKY News
Earthjustice Sues to See Coal Ash Pollution Documents
Earthjustice has filed a lawsuit seeking to compel the Energy and Environment Cabinet to turn over records regarding coal ash pollution from the E.W. Brown power plant that is contaminating Herrington Lake.
The group says environmental regulators have withheld more than 180 documents that could reveal more about plans to clean up pollution at the lake.
Records that Earthjustice is seeking include information about the plant’s owner, Kentucky Utilities, and its compliance with environmental permits, corrective action plans and groundwater monitoring.
PSC Orders Investigation into Compensation, Perks at RECs
The Public Service Commission on Sept. 19 ordered an investigation into the compensation and perks at the state’s rural electric cooperatives.
The PSC heard testimony that some REC board members make as much as $50,000 per year in the per diem payments they receive for attending meetings and that most receive such benefits as health, vision and life insurance. The state’s RECs, which provide electricity to about 900,000 members, are nonprofits and being a director for them is supposed to be a part-time job.
More: The Advocate
Judge Halts Work on Mountain Valley Pipeline
Summers and Monroe County Circuit Judge Robert Irons on Sept. 20 issued a temporary stay that halts work on the Mountain Valley Pipeline where it enters the Greenbrier River in Pence Springs.
Irons issued the stay in response to a motion by several local environmental groups and residents, after one resident learned that tree removal for the natural gas pipeline had begun on his property.
The petitioners have argued that the Department of Environmental Protection permit for the crossing doesn’t comply with the state’s Natural Streams Preservation Act.
More: The Register-Herald
New Orleans Extends Power Plant Scandal Investigation Deadline
The New Orleans City Council has extended until Oct. 19 the deadline for investigators looking into how paid actors wound up at two of its meetings voicing support for a controversial natural gas-fired power plant that Entergy New Orleans ultimately was given permission to build.
The investigators asked for the deadline extension. They are trying to determine whether Entergy executives were aware of the plan by its contractor, the Hawthorn Group, to have a company called Crowds on Demand hire actors to show up at council meetings voicing support for the plant. They also are trying to determine whether Entergy hired Hawthorn for similar work in the past.
More: The Advocate
Residents, Municipalities Voice Opposition to NECEC
The New England Clean Energy Connect project is drawing opposition from residents and two small municipalities.
More than 30 people who testified at a public hearing at the University of Maine at Farmington on Sept. 14 urged the Public Utilities Commission to reject Central Maine Power’s application for the project, which consists of a transmission line that travels 145 miles to bring power from Hydro-Quebec to Massachusetts. They voiced concerns about its impact on the environment, natural resources and tourism, as well as a lack of economic benefits from it.
On Sept. 13, residents of West Forks plantation voted 45-7 not to support the project. The town already has filed with the PUC for intervenor status in the commission case involving the project. A week earlier, the town of Caratunk, which has 68 people, made a filing with PUC retracting a letter it had sent the agency earlier supporting the project.
Longroad Plans $140 Million Wind Farm for Hancock County
Longroad Energy Chief Development Partner Matt Kearns met with officials from Hancock County on Sept. 7 about a $140 million wind farm the company wants to build adjacent to the Hancock Wind and Bull Hill wind farms.
Kearns said Longroad expects to file an application for the wind farm with the Department of Environmental Protection. Longroad also needs to get a permit for the wind farm from the Department of Transportation and approval by the Land Use Planning Commission.
Longroad expects to have the wind farm operational by 2020, Kearns said.
More: The Ellsworth American
Central Maine Power Asks PUC for NECEC Conference
Central Maine Power has asked the Public Utilities Commission to schedule a settlement conference concerning a certificate of public convenience and necessity for the New England Clean Energy Connection (NECEC).
The Avangrid subsidiary took the action on Aug. 29 in response to questions about whether the ownership structure of the transmission project should be changed to better protect CMP’s customers in case the project suffers a setback, said John Carroll, Avangrid’s spokesman for the project.
The NECEC would bring electricity from Hydro Quebec to Massachusetts. It faces opposition from renewable energy developers, who say CMP should build a transmission line that wind and solar projects could tap into more cheaply, and environmental groups that say it will harm ecosystems in western Maine.
More: Maine Public
PUC Issues RFP for Retail Electricity Standard Offer Service
The Public Utilities Commission on Sept. 5 issued a request for proposals to provide retail electricity standard offer service for all customer classes in the territories of Central Maine Power and Emera Maine-Bangor Hydro District.
The commission is seeking proposals to provide service for one year, beginning Jan. 1, 2019. Initial proposals are due on Oct. 3, 2018.
Standard offer service is what utilities’ customers receive if they don’t purchase power from another supplier.
Supreme Court Dismisses Solar Reimbursement Complaint
The Supreme Judicial Court on Aug. 16 dismissed a complaint over a Public Utilities Commission rule that decreases the amount that residential solar customers receive for the power they generate, saying it should be heard in a lower court.
The Conservation Law Foundation, which brought the complaint, had argued that the rule could be appealed directly to the Supreme Judicial Court because it constituted a rate change. The group said it will take its fight against the rule to Superior Court.
More: Portland Press-Herald
Exelon, FirstEnergy Utilities Issue Standard Offer Service RFPs
The three Exelon utilities and one FirstEnergy utility that operate in the state said Sept. 14 they have issued requests for proposals for power to meet their standard offer service obligations.
Baltimore Gas and Electric is looking for the most power, 1,731 MW, followed by Pepco (1,399 MW), Potomac Edison (516 MW) and Delmarva Power (462 MW).
The utilities will hold a pre-bid webinar on Sept. 20.
More: Exelon and FirstEnergy
PSC Appoints Two Public Utility Law Judges
The Public Service Commission said Sept. 4 that it has appointed Janice Flynn and Kristin Case Lawrence as public utility law judges.
Flynn joined the commission in November 1991 as an assistant counsel to the technical staff. Prior to that, she was a corporate attorney with a Baltimore law firm.
Lawrence has been with the commission since 2012, most recently as an assistant general counsel. Before that, she worked in the Office of the Attorney General representing the Highway Administration.
Court Confirms PSC Jurisdiction over Proposed Solar Farm
The Court of Special Appeals issued a ruling Aug. 28 affirming a Washington County Circuit Court decision that the Public Service Commission has regulatory jurisdiction over a proposed solar farm in the Cearfoss area.
The decision had been appealed by residents near the proposed solar farm’s site and the Washington County Board of Commissioners. The residents and the county haven’t decided if they will appeal the latest decision.
More: Herald-Mail Media
Potomac Edison Seeking 6% Rate Hike to Fund Grid Improvements
FirstEnergy’s Potomac Edison subsidiary on Aug. 24 opened a rate case with the Public Service Commission in which it is seeking an increase that would hike the monthly bills of its typical residential customers using 1,000 kWh/month about 6%, from $105 to $111.
The company is seeking the additional revenue so it can put its tree trimming on a four-year cycle, rather than five years; install more distribution automation equipment; replace more than 1,000 miles of aging underground cable; and install electronic substation reclosers that analyze real-time data and can be remotely controlled by system operators on 68 distribution circuits.
The company said its filing anticipates it using the more than $7 million it’s saving from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to offset some of the costs of the programs it wants to implement.
Court: State Can Order Generators to Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions
The decision came in a case originated in 2017 when the New England Power Generators Association and GenOn Energy sued the Department of Environmental Protection, contending it acted unlawfully in establishing a “cap regulation” for in-state power plants.
The DEP had told generators to reduce their carbon dioxide output from 9.1 metric tons in 2018 to 1.8 metric tons in 2050. It imposed the regulation following direction by Gov. Charlie Baker after teenagers sued it for failing to comply with the Global Warming Solutions Act.
2.1k Sign Petition Opposing Yarmouth for Vineyard Wind Cable
A petition opposing Vineyard Wind’s plan to bring an 800-MW submarine cable from its offshore wind farm through Lewis Bay and onshore in Yarmouth has garnered 2,100 signatures, according to its organizers.
A copy of the petition was given to Yarmouth’s Board of Selectmen at their Aug. 28 meeting and to Gov. Charlie Baker the week before the meeting.
At the meeting, Board Chairman Norman Holcomb told residents the board was open to hearing their concerns, but state officials would ultimately decide the cable’s route.
More: Cape Cod Times
GHG Emissions Rose for 4th Consecutive Year in 2015
The state’s greenhouse gas emissions rose for the fourth consecutive year in 2015, but state officials expect the figures for 2016 will show a downturn when they are calculated, according to an email from the administration of Gov. Charlie Baker.
Emissions fell to 72 million tons in 2012 before rising in 2013 and 2014 and hitting 76.3 million tons in 2015.
State law mandates that emissions be 25% below 1990 levels by 2020 and 80% below them by 2050.
Boston Issuing RFQ for Consultants to Help Develop Aggregation Program
Boston Mayor Martin Walsh said the city will issue a request for qualifications on Aug. 27 for submissions from consulting firms to help it develop, implement and administer a municipal aggregation program. Submissions will be due by Oct. 10.
The program will enable Boston to automatically enroll residents who receive default electricity service from their utilities into a single group that can purchase power with a higher renewable generation component than the state renewable portfolio standard.
More: City of Boston
Grand Haven Considering Shuttering Coal Plant by 2020
The cost of maintaining and operating the plant outweighs the benefit of the electricity it produces, the city’s Board of Light and Power has told the City Council.
The plant has reached the end of its useful life and would need an investment of $35 million to continue being able to operate safely and reliably, according to a report by engineering firm Black & Veatch that says operating the plant in its current state could result in a possibly “catastrophic” failure.
Tupelo Passing on 1.5% Rate Increase from TVA
The Tupelo City Council has approved a 1.5% rate increase for electric customers of Tupelo Water & Light, effective Oct. 1.
The increase is a pass through of the 1.5% increase in the rates of the Tennessee Valley Authority, which supplies the city utility with its power.
The increase will cause an average monthly increase of $2.50 in the bills of the utility’s customers.
More: Daily Journal
Gov. Mike Parson Names Ryan Silvey PSC Chairman
Ryan Silvey said Sept. 17 Gov. Mike Parson has named him chairman of the Public Service Commission, replacing Daniel Hall, who will remain a commission member.
Silvey, a former state senator, was appointed to the commission nine months ago by then-Gov. Eric Greitens.
More: The Missouri Times
PCS Grants Ameren Certificate for 1-MW Subscriber Solar Project
The Public Service Commission said Aug. 29 it has granted Ameren Missouri a certificate of convenience and necessity to build a 1-MW solar facility on land owned by the city of St. Louis at the St. Louis Lambert International Airport under a pilot subscriber solar program.
Ameren will charge all customers enrolling in the program a solar participation fee until enough have enrolled to enable it to build the full 1-MW facility.
Caithness Beaver Creek Asks PSC to Set Wind Project Rates
Caithness Beaver Creek has asked the Public Service Commission to set the rate NorthWestern Energy will pay it for power from a 320-MW wind-plus-storage project it wants to build in the south-central part of the state.
The Beaver Creek project is technically four separate wind farms of 80 MW each, allowing each one to qualify as an independent renewable energy project whose power must be purchased by NorthWestern under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act.
In its filing with the PSC, Caithness Beaver Creek said NorthWestern Energy “suddenly changed its methodology” for calculating certain payments for the project in a manner that would reduce first-year payments by $10 million. A spokesman for NorthWestern said the company will answer Caithness Beaver Creek’s claims in written filings with the PSC.
More: MTN News
NV Energy Seeks Charge on Retail Choice
NV Energy has asked the Public Utilities Commission to assess a bevy of charges, including a $1.18 million lump-sum payment, on Fulcrum Bioenergy if the commission lets the company buy power on the open market.
How the commission rules could foreshadow its rulings on applications by other businesses, including the Oakland Raiders, which is moving to Las Vegas, to get permission prior to setting up shop in the state to buy electricity on the open market rather than from NVE.
State law allows large energy users to buy power on the open market but usually only after they pay an impact fee assessed by the PUC that is meant to ensure they’re paying their fair share of keeping up NVE’s grid.
More: The Nevada Independent
Gov. Sandoval Names Former Deputy Chief of Staff PUC Chair
Gov. Brian Sandoval on Aug. 10 named Ann Wilkinson chairwoman of the Public Utilities Commission. Wilkinson will fill the remainder of outgoing chairman Joe Reynolds’ term. Her first day in office will be Sept. 17.
Wilkinson has been the director of human resources at the National Council of Juvenile & Family Court Judges since May 2017. She previously served as assistant general counsel to the PUC and chaired the Nevada Transportation Authority from 2015 to 2016.
Wilkinson worked as Sandoval’s deputy chief of staff from 2011 to 2013.
More: Las Vegas Review-Journal
Legislators Override Subsidy Veto; Net Metering Increase Veto Survives
State legislators on Sept. 13 overrode Gov. Chris Sununu’s veto of a bill subsidizing biomass plants but failed to override his veto of a bill that would have raised the cap on large-scale net metering.
The Senate voted to override both vetoes by 21-3 margins. The House voted 226-113 to override the veto on the biomass subsidy bill (the exact minimum two-thirds), but its vote to override the veto on the net metering bill came up 13 votes short at 217-128.
The biomass bill requires the state’s utilities to buy more electricity from wood and trash-burning power plants at a discounted rate for the next three years.
Eversource Sells Hydroelectric Plants to Complete Generation Spin-Off
Eversource said Aug. 27 it has finalized the sale of its nine hydroelectric facilities in the state to Hull Street Energy for $83 million in a deal that completes the spin-off of its generation assets that was required by a change in how the state regulates power companies. Eversource finished the sale of its fossil fuel power plants in the state to Granite Shore Power for $175 million in January.
Eversource is now solely a distribution utility that buys and sells power but doesn’t generate it. The company said last October customers who buy power from it should expect the price they pay for power to drop because it should be able to buy power in the wholesale market less expensively than it could generate power.
BPU to Open Solicitation for Offshore Wind
The Board of Public Utilities voted 5-0 on Monday to solicit applications for developing 1,100 MW of offshore wind. The deadline for submissions is Dec. 28, with a selection expected by next July, allowing developers to qualify for federal investment tax credits that expire at the end of 2019.
Gov. Phil Murphy has set a goal of developing 3,500 MW of offshore wind by 2030. At the Global Climate Action Summit last week in San Francisco, Murphy said he wants the BPU to open two additional 1,200-MW solicitations for offshore wind in 2020 and 2022. “In the span of just nine months, New Jersey has vaulted to the front of the pack in establishing this cutting-edge industry,” Murphy, who took office in January, said in a statement. “We campaigned on rebuilding New Jersey’s reputation as a clean energy leader and that involves setting an aggressive timetable on offshore wind. Thanks to the board, today we took another enormous step toward realizing that goal with the largest single-state solicitation of offshore wind in the country.”
The BPU will judge applicants on several criteria: economic impact on the state, ratepayer impacts, environmental impacts, strength and guarantees of the economic impacts, and the likelihood of successful commercial operation.
BPU Accepts Application for Wind Farm off Atlantic City
The Board of Public Utilities said Sept. 5 it has officially accepted the application tendered by EDF Renewables and Fishermen’s Energy for the Nautilus Offshore Wind project, which is proposed for 2.8 miles east of Atlantic City.
The BPU said it expects to review the project over the next few months and decide whether to approve it for immediate construction.
The project , which is expected to comprise three wind turbines with a combined capacity of up to 25 MW, could be completed as soon as 2020.
More: EDF Renewables
BPU Opens Proceeding to Create ZEC Program for Nukes
The Board of Public Utilities on Aug. 29 approved an order opening a proceeding to create a zero-emission credit program for eligible nuclear power plants by November.
The board said the program will include an application process for ZEC eligibility review and a mechanism that will allow each of the state’s electric companies to buy ZECs from the selected nuclear power plants.
The process to create the program will include extensive public hearings, the board said.
Atlantic City Electric Asks BPU for $109.3 Million Rate Increase
Atlantic City Electric said Aug. 21 it has submitted a request for a $109.3 million rate increase to the Board of Public Utilities. If approved, the request would boost the monthly bill of the average resident who uses 679 kWh a month by $11.51, or 9.55%.
Atlantic City Electric spokesman Frank Tedesco said the company needs the rate increase for infrastructure improvements and to cover declining sales and depreciation costs associated with aging assets, among other things.
Tedesco said the Exelon subsidiary had requested a rate increase June 15, but the BPU dismissed the request on July 25 due to an insufficiency of actual data.
State Working to Open Offshore Wind Bidding by Year-end
The state is working to open the bidding for the first 1,100 MW of offshore wind energy by the end of the year so offshore wind developers can qualify for federal tax credits, Board of Public Utilities Offshore Wind and Clean Energy Program Administrator Anne Marie McShea said Aug. 20.
Enabling the developers to qualify for the tax credits will save the state’s electric customers about 12% on the cost of constructing the wind farms, McShea said. The tax credit program is scheduled to end at the end of next year.
The state’s electric customers will finance the construction of the wind farms through add-ons to their monthly bills.
El Paso Electric Seeks to Withdraw Community Solar Plan
El Paso Electric has asked the Public Regulation Commission to let it withdraw its plan to develop a community solar program.
The company made the move after meeting with opponents of the program, who contend it won’t provide customers with solar energy at the lowest possible cost.
CEO Mary Kipp said in a statement on the company’s website that the utility would come up with a new plan for its solar program.
More: Santa Fe New Mexican
Supreme Court Dismisses PRC Recusal Complaint
The Supreme Court has denied an attempt by New Energy Economy to prevent Public Regulation Commission Chairman Sandy Jones from ruling on Public Service Company of New Mexico’s (PNM) integrated resource plan because of an alleged conflict of interest.
The Santa Fe-based clean energy nonprofit had alleged that both Jones and Commissioner Lynda Lovejoy couldn’t be impartial because PNM’s parent company had donated $440,000 to a political action committee that campaigned for their re-election.
Lovejoy recused herself from the case, telling the Farmington Daily Times she couldn’t afford a court fight with New Energy.
More: Santa Fe New Mexican
PRC Unanimously Rejects SunZia Southwest Route
The Public Regulation Commission voted 4-0 on Sept. 5 to reject the proposed path of the $2 billion SunZia Southwest Transmission Project.
The commission rejected the route without prejudice, meaning SunZia can file a new proposed route for the project, which would consist of two lines carrying 1,500 MW 520 miles from central New Mexico to Arizona. A SunZia spokesman said the company intends to do that.
More: Santa Fe New Mexican
SPS Ordered to Stop Charging Solar Customers ‘Standby Fee’
The Public Regulation Commission voted 4-1 on Sept. 5 to order Southwestern Public Service to stop collecting the “standby fee” it charges customers with rooftop solar generation systems.
SPS had sought to increase the fee 11.6%.
The PRC also required SPS to reimburse its customers more than $10 million over the next 18 months, which is the amount the company has saved in taxes since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act took effect in January.
More: Santa Fe New Mexican
PNM Seeking Expedited Approval to Build Solar Plants for Facebook
Public Service Co. of New Mexico (PNM) has asked the Public Regulation Commission to give it expedited approval to build two new solar plants to provide another 100 MW of renewable energy to Facebook’s data center in Los Lunas.
In an Aug. 24 filing, the utility asked the commission to fast-track approval of the projects by limiting the time in which intervening parties can file protests to 20 days. If no hearing is required, that would allow the commission to decide on the projects by Sept. 26, according to Commissioner Sandy Jones.
“[PNM] want[s] a fast turnaround because they have a short fuse to get the projects going for Facebook,” Jones told the Albuquerque Journal. “We approved PNM’s last request for expedited approval of renewable energy facilities earlier this year. I think we can do that again.”
More: Albuquerque Journal
PRC Implements 2-Week Delay in Posting Hearing Transcripts
The Public Regulation Commission has implemented a policy of not electronically posting hearing transcripts for two weeks and requiring people who want to see them earlier to pay 25 cents per page through Inspection of Public Records Act requests or pay court reporters directly for copies, which usually cost $5 to $7 per page.
PRC staff posted the policy, which took effect July 25, after informing the commissioners about it.
Previously, PRC staff posted hearing transcripts immediately upon receiving them from court reporters, which typically was four to eight days after a hearing ended, depending on how fast the proceedings were transcribed. Once posted, records are accessible for free.
More: Albuquerque Journal
SunZia Asks PRC to Reject Recommendation on Location Permits
The SunZia Southwest Transmission Project has asked the Public Regulation Commission to reject hearing examiner Ashley Schannauer’s recommendation that it deny location permits for the two high-voltage lines comprising the project.
Schannauer recommended the commission approve SunZia’s request for 200-foot rights of way around each line but deny location permits until SunZia provides more information on the precise placement of its transmission infrastructure so the environmental impact of it can be better assessed. Schannauer also wants SunZia to obtain other approvals it has pending with federal, state and local agencies so it can provide more detailed information on the project before it reapplies for the location permits.
In a counter brief on Aug. 10, SunZia said Schannauer wrongly relied on “lay opinions” that are “inadmissible” in his recommended decision, rather than using expert testimony from SunZia witnesses and federal reviews of the project, such as the Bureau of Land Management’s environmental impact statement that paved the way for the BLM to give SunZia right-of-way approval in 2015.
More: Albuquerque Journal
Gov. Cuomo Announces $5 Million Rebate Program for EV Chargers
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sept. 18 the state is making available $5 million in rebates for the installation of Level 2 electric vehicle charging stations at workplaces, office buildings, multi-family apartment buildings and public locations such as theaters, parks and malls and other retail locations.
The Charge Ready NY initiative provides a $4,000 rebate per charging port for public and private employers, building owners, municipalities and nonprofits that install Level 2 charging stations.
The program, which is administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, can save installers up to 80% of a typical installation’s total cost.
More: Gov. Andrew Cuomo
NYPA Names Salati EVP, Chief Commercial Officer
The New York Power Authority has named Sarah Orban Salati executive vice president and chief commercial officer.
Salati will be responsible for $2 billion in annual revenues from NYPA’s 16 power generation assets. She also will oversee the authority’s customer operations and help lead several of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s clean energy and economic development initiatives that NYPA administers.
Salati had been the managing director for New Energy Solutions at AES. She worked for AES for 13 years, holding several different positions, including assignments in London and Budapest.
More: New York Power Authority
State to Use Volkswagen Settlement Funds to Increase Clean Vehicles
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sept. 5 New York will use the $127.7 million it has received from the 2016 Volkswagen settlement to increase the number of electric and other clean vehicles in the state.
The state plans to use more than 60% of the funding to accelerate the adoption of electrified transportation by reducing the cost of electric trucks and buses, particularly transit buses, and providing funding for EV charging infrastructure. The state also intends to replace or re-power older, high-polluting diesel-powered trucks, school buses and equipment.
Gov. Cuomo said the state expects its use of the $127.7 million will result in at least $300 million of clean vehicles and infrastructure on its roads.
More: Gov. Andrew Cuomo
State Providing $15 Million to Clean Energy Workforce Development Programs
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sept. 4 the state is providing $15 million to two initiatives to promote clean energy workforce development and training programs on State University of New York campuses.
Nearly $6 million was awarded to SUNY campuses as part of an initiative to train more workers in the clean energy sector. Additionally, a request for proposals was made available to all SUNY campuses for $9 million in grants to industry partnerships providing clean energy apprenticeships, internships and educational programs and support.
The initiatives are part of Climate Jobs NY, a component of the Clean Climate Careers initiative, which is meant to grow New York’s clean energy economy and prepare its workforce for clean energy careers.
More: Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo
Department of Agriculture Creates Wind Energy Restoration Oversight Program
Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said Aug. 20 the Department of Agriculture has created a wind energy restoration and reclamation oversight program.
The program will allow landowners or tenants who are dissatisfied by the response of a wind energy company related to the reclamation of their property to work with a Department of Agriculture ombudsman, who can evaluate the property, contact the wind company and work to resolve the issues.
The Legislature directed the department to create the program. It was developed in cooperation with the Public Service Commission, which regulates wind farms.
More: The Bismarck Tribune
LEEDCo Says Requirement Would Kill Offshore Wind Farm Financing
In testimony submitted to the Power Siting Board, the Lake Erie Energy Development Corp. (LEEDCo) said it won’t be able to finance an offshore wind farm in Lake Erie if it is required to keep its turbines shut down at night for most of the year.
Staff recommended the requirement so that experts can determine the effectiveness of the project’s equipment for monitoring birds and bats.
“This condition … is a serious problem and in my opinion makes financing the project virtually impossible,” David Karpinski, LEEDCo’s vice president of operations, said in testimony submitted Sept. 6.
More: The Plain Dealer
Businesses Endorse Report Calling for 2.2 GW of Solar Development
Six big businesses with operations in the state have endorsed a report advocating the development of 2.2 GW of solar generation by 2030.
JPMorgan Chase, Owens Corning, Walmart, Eaton, Whirlpool and GEM Energy are “logo-level” backers of “Powering Ohio: A Vision for Growth and Innovative Energy Investment,” which was prepared by Synapse Energy Economics in partnership with the Great Lakes Energy Institute at Case Western Reserve University.
Developing 2.2 GW of solar generation in the state would involve $3.6 billion in investment and “sustain 800 direct jobs and over 1,700 indirect and induced jobs each year,” the report said. It also would boost the state’s gross domestic product by $1 billion per year, according to the report.
More: pv magazine
PUCO Releases Report to Guide Grid Modernization Regs
The Public Utilities Commission on Aug. 29 released a report called “PowerForward: A Roadmap to Ohio’s Electricity Future” that is based on a yearlong effort by the commission and its staff to understand how the state’s distribution grid can be improved by innovation.
Commission Chairman Asim Haque said the report will help the commission make informed decisions on utilities’ grid modernization efforts.
Haque said the applications that grid modernization will make possible “should give customers more control over how they engage with their electric service and could have many tangible benefits depending on what the customer wants, including lower monthly bills.”
More: The Columbus Dispatch
Utilities Still Fighting Rate Decreases Despite Tax Savings
The state’s utilities are still fighting efforts by regulators and large customers to make them lower their rates to reflect their savings from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
In a recent filing with the Public Utilities Commission, Dayton Power & Light said a July PUC hearing on the matter should have focused on whether utilities should have to lower their rates as a result of the tax cut, not how their rates should be lowered.
American Electric Power argued that PUCO “is not permitted to unilaterally engage in single-issue ratemaking or change base rates without following the statutory process.”
More: Dayton Daily News
NextEra Ordered to Stop Wind Farm Construction over New Law
State officials on Aug. 31 sent a cease-and-desist letter to NextEra Energy Resources on constructing the Minco IV/V wind farm until it has shown the Corporation Commission the facility complies with a new law meant to make sure turbines don’t intrude on military air space.
Under the law, before they begin construction, wind farm developers must either obtain a “no hazard” determination from the Federal Aviation Administration for each of their turbines or work out a mitigation plan with the Defense Department.
NextEra filed obstruction evaluation cases for 175 new turbines in Canadian and Caddo Counties with the FAA on March 23, but the agency hadn’t issued determinations for any of them as of Aug. 31.
3rd Circuit Agrees Nuns Waited Too Long to Challenge Pipeline
A panel of the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on July 25 upheld a lower court ruling that an order of Roman Catholic nuns in Lancaster County had failed to make their religious objections to the Atlantic Sunrise Pipeline known while FERC was considering the project.
The nuns’ attorney had argued that the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act doesn’t mention when or where a religious freedom suit must be filed and said the nuns’ religious liberty wasn’t affected by the pipeline until it was being built.
Williams Partners said gas should start flowing through the pipeline in late August.
State Planning Renewable Power RFP
The Office of Energy Resources said Sept. 11 that the state will issue a request for proposals to procure up to 400 MW of renewable power.
The office said National Grid developed the RFP in coordination with it and the Division of Public Utilities & Carriers.
Renewable energy resources — including solar, offshore wind and onshore wind — of more than 20 MW will be eligible to participate in the RFP, the office said. Competitive project developers must submit their bids by noon on Oct. 29.
PUC Approves Settlement Boosting National Grid Revenue 4.31%
The Public Utilities Commission on Aug. 24 approved a settlement that increases the annual revenue that National Grid’s electric distribution business can collect by 4.31% and authorizes the company to invest in electric transportation and energy storage.
The PUC said the amount the settlement allows National Grid to collect in electric and gas revenue is $54 million less than the amount it sought last November.
The settlement also lowers National Grid’s allowed return on equity from 9.5% to 9.275% and returns all of the company’s savings from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to its customers over three years.
PUC Accepts Settlement Giving Black Hills Energy Customers Tax Savings
The Public Utilities Commission voted Sept. 4 to accept a settlement agreement between its staff and Black Hills Energy that will pass the benefits of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act through to the utility’s customers.
As a result of the settlement, Black Hills Energy customers will receive a $7.67 million refund that the utility says will amount to a credit of approximately $50 on their bills in October.
The settlement also will decrease Black Hills Energy’s customers’ variable charges and slightly increase their monthly fixed charges, resulting in a net decrease to their base rates of about $9 million beginning next year.
PUC Pulls Retail Plans from Power to Choose Website
As it had promised last week, the Public Utility Commission on Sept. 17 began pulling electricity plans from its Power to Choose website that did not list the offerings in both English and Spanish. The commission had set an 8 a.m. Sept. 17 deadline for retail electric providers (REPs) to comply during its Sept. 14 open meeting.
PUC staff deactivated 221 plans from 18 REPs, though some were reactivated later when the offerings were posted on both the English and Spanish (Poder de Escoger) websites, where consumers in competitive areas can shop for electricity providers. By the afternoon of Sept. 18, the websites offered 766 plans in English and Spanish, a 38% increase from the week before.
Commission Chair DeAnn Walker said last week that only 23 of the 57 REPs on the website were offering plans in Spanish. The ERCOT market has 117 REPs that offer more than 900 electricity plans.
More: Houston Chronicle
Commission on Environmental Quality Chairman Retires
Brian Shaw, the chairman of the Commission on Environmental Quality, announced his retirement, effective immediately, on Aug. 31.
Shaw was appointed to the commission by then-Gov. Rick Perry on Nov. 1, 2007, and named its chairman on Sept. 10, 2009.
Report: Renewables 85% of Capacity in ERCOT
Eighty-five percent of the capacity of the possible projects listed in ERCOT’s most recent Generator Interconnection Status Report is renewable generation.
The report shows a pipeline of 80 GW of potential capacity at various level of approval. Of that, 38 GW is wind power and 30 GW is solar power.
Only 12 GW of the capacity in the pipeline is natural gas generation. That’s the lowest natural gas capacity in the report during the last two years.
More: pv magazine
Gov. Phil Scott Announces $2.4 Million EV Charging Station Grant Program
Gov. Phil Scott on Sept. 11 announced a program to provide $2.4 million in grants to communities across the state to install electric vehicle charging stations.
Funding for the Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment program came from the settlement that Volkswagen reached with EPA after the company violated the Clean Air Act by knowingly selling cars that emitted more pollution than is allowed under the law.
Applications for the first round of grants are due Nov. 30.
More: Gov. Phil Scott
Report: Renewable Growth Too Slow to Meet RPS
Twenty percent of the energy used by residents came from renewable sources last year, according to the Energy Action Network’s 2017 report.
That represents a 66% growth in seven years, but the report says that rate won’t enable the state to meet its goal of having 90% of its energy come from renewable sources by 2050, and may not even enable the state to meet the milestone of having 25% of its energy be renewable by 2025.
The report says most of the growth in renewable energy has come from the power sector, which now has 43% of its generation come from renewable sources, but that electricity use only comprises 27% of the state’s total energy use. Additionally, the report says, the growth rate of solar generation is slowing and little new wind generation is coming online.
More: Montpelier Bridge
SCC Approves Dominion’s Community Solar Pilot Program
The Corporation Commission has approved Dominion Energy Virginia’s community solar pilot program, under which the utility will offer its customers the ability to buy the output of solar farms built by independent solar developers in the state.
Although the program is called a community solar program, Dominion customers that subscribe to it will just be buying solar power, not stakes in the solar farms that provide the power.
Through the program, Dominion will offer customers the opportunity to buy solar power to supply part or all of their electricity needs for an additional 2.1 cents/kWh.
More: Virginia Mercury
State Mandates to Cost Dominion Customers $5.6 Billion, Analysis Says
New state mandates requiring Dominion Energy Virginia to expand its use of renewable energy and modernize its grid will cost its customers nearly $5.6 billion over the next 15 years, according to an analysis by State Corporation Commission staff.
Additionally, the staff says its estimate could be low because it was based on a Dominion load forecast the staff thinks is inflated.
Dominion says it strongly disagrees with the staff analysis, largely because it doesn’t reflect the savings its expenditures will produce and undervalues the efficiency of new solar power generation compared to other generation options, such as natural gas.
More: Richmond Times-Dispatch
Advisory Council Recommends Pipeline Permits Suspended
The 15-member Advisory Council on Environmental Justice recommended Aug. 28 that Gov. Ralph Northam direct state agencies to suspend water and air quality permits for the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines.
Northam should appoint an emergency task force “to ensure that predominately poor, indigenous, brown and/or black communities do not bear an unequal burden of environmental pollutants and life-altering disruptions” from the natural gas pipelines, the council said.
The recommendation puts the council, which is solely an advisory body, at odds with Northam, who maintains that the process of regulating the pipelines’ construction is working as it should. The council, which is charged with providing “independent advice and recommendations to the executive branch” on matters of environmental justice, was established last October by Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who also appointed its members.
More: The Washington Post
Report: Dominion, Appalachian Power Earned Excess Revenue Last Year
A report issued Aug. 29 by the State Corporation Commission found that both of the state’s two largest investor-owned utilities posted returns on equity last year that were higher than the returns that the SCC approved for them.
The report said Dominion Energy Virginia earned a 13.84% return and Appalachian Power earned 11.31%, more than the approved 9.2% and 9.4% rates, respectively. The rates produced excess revenue of $365.6 million for Dominion and $31.98 million for Appalachian.
Spokane Mayor Vetoes Bill Switching City to Renewable Power
Spokane Mayor David Condon has vetoed a bill passed last month by the City Council that calls for all electricity users in the city to switch to renewable power by 2030.
The council approved the bill by a 6-1 vote, so it likely will override the veto.
In vetoing the bill, Condon cited uncertainty about its cost and the possibility of it causing legal problems.
More: The Spokesman-Review
Judge Grants Injunction on Release of PacifiCorp Plant Information
A Thurston County Superior Judge on Sept. 7 granted PacifiCorp’s request for a permanent injunction on the release of some economic information about its coal-fired power plants.
Sierra Club wanted the information made public, saying people should have data about the financial risk the plants pose to PacifiCorp. The company said releasing the information would put it at a competitive disadvantage.
More: The Associated Press
Debra Smith Nominated for Seattle City Light GM, CEO
Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said Aug. 28 she is nominating Debra Smith to be the next general manager and CEO of Seattle City Light.
Smith, who has 22 years of public utility experience in the Pacific Northwest, has been the general manager of Central Lincoln People’s Utility District, which provides electricity to residents of Oregon’s Central Coast, since 2013.
If confirmed by the City Council, Smith would be only the second woman leader of Seattle City Light in its 108-year history. She would start Oct. 15.