Wednesday, January 23, 2019

State News


Report: Pinnacle West Spent $37.9M to Fight Ballot Measure

The latest finance report filed Jan. 15 with the state by Arizona Public Service parent company Pinnacle West Capital shows that the company spent $37.9 million in the effort to defeat Proposition 127.

The ballot measure, rejected by voters in November, would have required utilities in the state to get half their electricity from renewable resources.

It was supported by billionaire activist Tom Steyer and his environmental group, NextGen America, which spent more than $23 million.

More: The Arizona Republic


Survey Says Potential for more Solar in San Diego

A clean energy advocacy group last week released a “solar siting survey” that identified 500 MW of locations with potential for large-scale solar deployments within the city limits of San Diego and pinpointed more than 120 prospective locations that could be home to projects of a minimum of 1 MW.

The Clean Coalition used Google Earth to survey the city block by block, breaking down the results by ZIP code. The group said more than 75% of the sites were on parking lots and structures.

“Almost everybody thinks about solar in built environments as being on rooftops,” said Craig Lewis, the group’s executive director. But “three-quarters of all the siting potential in urban and suburban environments is actually on parking lots and parking structures … almost nobody has any sense of that.”

More: The San Diego Union-Tribune


KCC Briefs Lawmakers on High Utility Rates

Corporation Commission staff last week briefed the Senate Utilities Committee on the commission’s 226-page rate study detailing how the state’s utility rates went from being among the lowest in the area about 11 years ago to being among the highest now.

According to the report, nearly 35% of Westar Energy’s rate increases were tied to environmental retrofit needs for coal-fired plants and slightly more than 25% were related to transmission delivery charges. Kansas City Power & Light attributed nearly 33% of its increases to retrofitting and slightly more than 11% to delivery charges.

The utilities also spent millions of dollars complying with a now-repealed state rule for 20% of energy to come from renewable sources by 2020, staff said.

More: The Topeka Capital-Journal; The Associated Press


PSC Approves Cleco Acquisition of NRG Assets in State

The Public Service Commission last week approved Cleco’s $1 billion purchase NRG South Central Generating’s assets in the state.

The deal, announced last February, involves eight plants with a total capacity of 3,555 MW. Most of the plants will be operated by Cleco, except the 1,279-MW, natural gas-fired Cottonwood Generating Station in East Texas, which will be leased back to NRG, who will operate it until May 2025.

The newly acquired assets and employees will operate as Cleco Cajun, which will base its operations in New Roads. FERC approved the deal in December. (See FERC Clears Cleco to Buy NRG Generation in South.)

More: Baton Rouge Business Report


Residents Debate Proposed Longroad Wind Farm

Hancock County residents last week gathered in Aurora to discuss a proposal for a 72.6-MW, 22-turbine wind farm under review by the Department of Environmental Protection.

Most of those who spoke were in favor of Boston-based Longroad Energy Partners’ proposed Weaver Wind project, which would be located in Osborn and Eastbrook, with operations based in Aurora.

“Residents are looking for some tax relief,” Eastbrook resident Julie Curtis told the panel of three DEP representatives. “We’re looking for some businesses to develop. We would see this as a good thing for us. We are for this.”

More: The Ellsworth American


PSC Approves Utilities’ EV Charging Pilot Program

The Public Service Commission last week approved a modified version of a five-year electric vehicle charging infrastructure pilot program proposed by four of the state’s largest electric utilities.

The decision supports the deployment of more than 5,000 total Level 2 and DC fast-charging stations in the service territories of Baltimore Gas and Electric, Delmarva Power and Light, Potomac Edison and Potomac Electric Power Co. The state has a goal of 300,000 zero-emission electric vehicles by 2025.

All four utilities must develop an EV time-of-use rate design as part of their plan to provide rebates to customers for the costs of the chargers.

More: Maryland Public Service Commission


Falmouth Selectmen Vote to Shut down Wind Turbines

Four of the five members of the Falmouth Board of Selectmen voted to shut down two 1.65-MW wind turbines owned by the town.

Selectman Samuel Patterson abstained, while Selectman Douglas Jones made the motion. “I have no interest in having these turbines run in Falmouth ever again,” Jones said.

Wind 1 and Wind 2, which went online in 2010 and 2012, respectively, were the subject of nine lawsuits by abutters during their operation. Neighbors complained about a long list of turbine-related health effects.

More: Cape Cod Times


Vineyard Wind Offers $6.2M to Compensate Fishermen

Vineyard Wind is offering to pay state fishermen $6.2 million in compensation for lost access to fishing grounds as part of a mitigation plan for its proposed offshore wind farm that also includes the creation of a $23 million fund to research new gear and technology to support safe fishing in and around wind turbines.

The offer, however, falls short of fishers’ demands. An analysis by the Department of Environmental Management estimated the potential drop in revenues they would suffer from losing access to the waters where Vineyard wants to erect 84 turbines to be between $30.5 million and $35.6 million over the 30-year life of the wind farm.

The company disagreed with the DEM’s analysis and came out with its own study that estimated the loss to be less than half of what the department estimated. “Vineyard Wind believes this mitigation package provides substantial financial contribution to the impacted fishermen,” it said in the offer.

More: Providence Journal


Bill to Cut Solar Power Permit Timeline Moves Forward

The Senate Committee on Commerce and Energy last week advanced a bill that would treat solar facilities the same as other resources in the permitting process.

Currently, solar developers are required to submit a notification six months before filing an application. The bill would eliminate that notification period, and the Public Utilities Commission would have a year to consider the application once filed, the same amount of time as any other resource.

The bill was introduced in the Senate at the request of the PUC.

More: Capital Journal


Gordon Requests $10M for CCS Coal Plant in Budget

Gov. Mark Gordon last week included $10 million in a supplemental budget request to help pay for the construction of an experimental, 5-MW advanced coal-generating plant capable of capturing at least 75% of its carbon emissions.

The funding for the plant, which would support the University of Wyoming School of Energy Resources, would be used to leverage up to $40 million in grant funding from the U.S. Department of Energy for another project to help supplement the work of the Integrated Test Center, a public-private partnership that studies carbon capture and sequestration.

More: Casper Star-Tribune

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