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Power Generation and Supply Monthly Roundup, October 2020

By FirmoGraphs Staff

October 2020's Power Generation & Supply Roundup is snapshot of the insights our data is able to provide to our Power Industry clients. We share upcoming project alerts, drivers, recent mergers and acquisitions, and updates on upcoming meetings and conferences.

Industry Drivers and Alerts

Drivers Power Generation Roundup-min

Driver: Energy Emergency Leadership Act

Status: Proposed

Organization: U.S. House of Representatives

Summary: On September 30, 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives passed an act to support the nation's cyber defense and emergency response capabilities in the energy sector. The law will elevate responsibilities of security and emergency functions to an Assistance Secretary level position within the agency leadership.

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Driver: Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Disposal of Coal Combustion Residuals from Electric Utilities; Legacy CCR Surface Impoundments

Status: Proposed

Organization: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Summary: In October 2020, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) asked for comments and data on inactive surface impoundments at inactive electric utilities, referred to as "legacy CCR surface impoundments" or "legacy units," to help in the development of future regulations for these coal combustion residuals (CCR) units. In April 2015, the EPA published a complete set of requirements for managing coal combustion residuals (CCR) in landfills and impoundments. The 2015 rule set up corrective action, closure and post-closure, technical standards, inspection, monitoring, recordkeeping, and reporting requirements. Initially, the 2015 rule excluded from regulation inactive surface impoundments at inactive utilities. On August 21, 2018, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned this exception and remanded it back to the EPA. When issued in the federal register, EPA will accept comments for 60 days via the Federal eRulemaking portal.

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Driver: Governor Cuomo Announces PSC Approval of Expanded Clean Energy Standard to Decarbonize New York's Power Sector and Combat Climate Change

Status: Effective 

Organization: New York State Public Service Commission

Summary: On October 13, 2020, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo stated that the New York State Public Service Commission adopted an extension of the landmark Clean Energy Standard to focus New York's existing regulatory and procurement structure on reaching the goals set in New York's Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA). The CLCPA established 70% renewable electricity by 2030. The extended Clean Energy Standard gives the State the authority to issue a Request for Proposals for the renewable power generation sources needed to implement this plan. The economy-wide decarbonization requires New York to develop a power generation sector that no longer increases greenhouse gases while providing clean electricity. This initiative approval includes the CLCPA requirements. The PSC establishes a program to increase the use of renewable energy in the State from 50% to 70% by 2030 and increase offshore wind use from 2,400 MW by 2030 to 9,000 MW by 2035. Also, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority has made a $70 million commitment to fund clean energy workforce development programs aimed at upskilling existing clean energy workers.

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Driver: FERC Proposes Policy Statement on State-Determined Carbon Pricing in Wholesale Markets

Status: Proposed

Organization:

Summary: On October 15, 2020, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) published a policy statement to define that it has jurisdiction over organized wholesale electric market rules that include a state-determined carbon price in those markets. Currently, 11 states require some version of carbon pricing. FERC determined that regional market rules combining a state-determined carbon price can fall within the Commission’s jurisdiction over wholesale rates. However, deciding whether the rules proposed in the Federal Power Act section 205 filing do fall under FERC jurisdiction will be built on the specific facts and circumstances. FERC is inquiring about comments on the information to consider when reviewing such filing. Comments on the proposed policy statement are due in 30 days, with reply comments  15 days after day. 

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Driver: First Transmission Project Moves Forward Under Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Benefit Act

Status: Effective 

Organization: New York State Public Service Commission

Summary: On October 15, 2020, the New York State Public Service Commission adopted criteria for identifying transmission projects needed urgently to meet Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA) goals.  The Commission also recognized the New York Power Authority’s (NYPA) proposed Northern New York project as a high-priority project. They referred it to NYPA for development and construction by the Accelerated Renewable Energy Growth and Community Protection Act of 2020. NYPA has already identified a multi-faceted project, the Northern New York Project. The Project includes the end of the second phase of NYPA’s 86-mile Smart Path Moses-Adirondack rebuild, rebuilding around 45 miles of transmission eastward from Massena to the Town of Clinton, rebuilding about 55 miles of transmission southward from Croghan to Marcy, and rebuilding and expanding several substations along the impacted transmission corridor. NYPA also estimates the Northern New York project will result in production cost savings, emissions reductions, and decreases in congestion by saving $99 million per year, resulting in a project value of about $1.05 billion over 20 years. The Project is supposed to result in more than 1.16 million tons of CO2 emissions avoided yearly on a statewide basis and an annual decrease of almost 160 tons of NOx emissions from downstate emissions sources, providing a significant air quality benefit to New York City residents. Finally, NYPA estimates the Project would result in more than $447 million in annual congestion savings in Northern New York.

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Driver: Hazardous and Solid Waste Management System: Disposal of Coal Combustion Residuals from Electric Utilities; A Holistic Approach to Closure Part B: Alternate Demonstration for Unlined Surface Impoundments

Status: Proposed

Organization: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Summary: On October 15, 2020, the EPA published a pre-publication version of a rule finalizing a two-step process from March 2020. The rule allows a limited number of facilities to demonstrate to EPA or a Participating State Director that, based on groundwater data and the design of a particular surface impoundment, the unit has and will continue to have no possibility of adverse effects on human health or the environment. Therefore, the CCR surface impoundment should be allowed to continue to operate. During the application step, facilities submit an initial application to show whether a unit meets minimum requirements before beginning on a comprehensive alternate liner demonstration. This first step must be submitted no later than November 30, 2020. If approved during the application step, facilities then present a comprehensive final demonstration intended to ensure no possibility of adverse effects on human health or the environment resulting from groundwater contamination from the CCR surface impoundment. This demonstration step must be submitted no later than November 30, 2021.

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Driver: Risk-Informed Categorization and Treatment of Structures, Systems, and Components for Nuclear Power Reactors

Status: Proposed

Organization: Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)

Summary: On October 20, 2020, the NRC published a proposed rule in the Federal Register. The NRC will take into consideration the issue raised in a petition for rulemaking (PRM) submitted by Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI), from January 2015. The petitioner requested that the NRC amend its regulations to clarify and extend the applicability of its regulations related to risk-informed categorization and treatment of structures, systems, and components (SSCs) for nuclear power reactors. The petition was docketed by the NRC in February 2015. The NRC has determined that the PRM has merit and is appropriate for consideration in the rulemaking process.

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Alert: Ohio's AEUG Union Solar 325 MW Solar Generating Facility

Type: Solar Generating Facility                                           

Status: Proposed

Organization: AEUG Union Solar, LLC

Scale: 325 megawatts

Summary: On September 21, 2020, AEUG Union Solar, LLC,  a subsidiary of Acciona Energy USA Global LLC, global renewable energy and infrastructure company, files this Pre-Application Notification Letter regarding its proposed up to 325 MW solar-powered electric generating facility in Washington and York Townships, Union County, Ohio (the “Union Solar Project”) with the Ohio Power Siting Board. The proposed Union Solar Project will be placed on about 3,500 acres of land near State Route 31 and State Route 739. The purpose of the Union Solar Project will be to generate and deliver clean, renewable energy from solar resources to the regional transmission system. Construction of the facility is scheduled to commence as early as the first quarter of 2022. The Union Solar Project is expected to be in service by the first quarter of 2023.

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Alert: $22.6 Million Guadalupe Valley Electric Cooperative 138-kV Transmission Line in Guadalupe County, Texas 

Type: Transmission Line                                           

Status: Proposed 

Organization: Guadalupe Valley Electric Cooperative, Inc.

Scale: 138 kilovolts (kV)

Summary: On September 24, 2020, Guadalupe Valley Electric Cooperative, Inc. (GVEC) filed an application for an Amendment to Its Certificate of Convenience and Necessity (CCN) with the Public Utility Commission of Texas to construct the proposed double-circuit 138 kilovolts (kV) transmission line in Guadalupe County. The total predicted cost of the proposed project is between $17.1 million and $22.6 million. The project, if approved by the Commission, may be constructed on any of the 18 routes submitted in the application. These routes range in length from 3.58 to 5.90 miles. The purpose of the project is to improve the reliability of GVEC's electric transmission system to meet the region's growing demand for electric power.

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Alert: Arizona’s Southwest Gas Corporation $4.2 Million Renewable Natural Gas Pipeline Construction Project

Type: Natural Gas Pipeline                                           

Status: Proposed

Organization: Southwest Gas Corporation

Summary: On September 25, 2020, Southwest Gas Corporation applied to the Arizona Corporation Commission requesting approval of a Renewable Natural Gas Interconnection Construction Agreement,  entered into between Southwest Gas and Maricopa RNG 1, LLC for construction of a natural gas pipeline to flow Renewable Natural Gas. The project consists of constructing a 2.4 mile, 4-inch high-pressure pipeline, connecting the Maricopa RNG plant with Southwest Gas and the EPNG interstate pipeline. The total project investment by the Company is around $4.2 million, and the costs will be recovered through the combination of the annual margin from the G-65 contract and the incremental margin earned through the additional use of natural gas at the facility under an agreement entered into under the Company's G-25 schedule.

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Alert: 225 MW Griffin Trail Wind Project

Type: Wind Project                                          

Status: Effective 

Organization: Innergex Renewable Energy, Inc.

Scale: 225 megawatts

Summary: On October 5, 2020, Griffin Train Wind, LLC, filed a submission for registration as a new Power Generation Company with the Public Utilities Commission of Texas. Shannon Wind, LLC, Flat Top Wind I, LLC, Phoebe Energy Project, LLC, Foard City Wind, LLC, and Griffin Trail Wind, LLC, are registered Exempt Wholesale Generators and share ownership by Innergex Renewable Energy Inc. of at least 5%. Earlier, Innergex announced a 225 MW  Griffin Trail Wind Project, a wind farm placed in Knox and Baylor Counties near Vera's community in north-west Texas. Griffin Trail will be situated on around 26,000 acres of land and consists of 80 2.8 MW GE wind turbines with an annual power generation of about 800,000 MWh. The Project will deliver enough electricity to power the equivalent of nearly 57,000 Texan households yearly with renewable energy. Innergex began construction activities in August 2020 and expects project completion by June 2021.

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Alert: Estimated $750 Million Solar-Powered Electric Generation Facility

Type: Solar generation

Status: Proposed

Organization: Fox Squirrel Solar, LLC

Scale: 577 megawatts (MW)

Summary: On October 14, Fox Squirrel Solar, LLC applied for a Certificate of Environmental Compatibility and Public Need to Construct a Solar-Powered Electric Generation Facility with the Ohio Power Siting Board. The facility will be located in Madison County, Ohio. The total Project Area incorporates 3,766 acres. Fox Squirrel Solar intends to construct and to operate the Project, a utility-scale photovoltaic solar-powered electric generation facility in Madison County, Ohio, with a nameplate capacity of 577 MW alternating current. The Project will connect to the regional transmission grid via a new switchyard to be constructed at the site. Once operational, the Project is anticipated to operate for a minimum of 30 years.  PV solar panels will be installed on a single-axis tracking racking system that follows the sun's trajectory from east to west throughout the day to maximize electricity generation. The total Project Area encompasses 3,766 acres. However, not all of the Project Area will be used. Based on the current Project design, the facility will occupy nearly 3,444 acres of the total Project Area. The total value of the projects is estimated at $750 million based on regional pricing for similar projects. The Applicant is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Geenex Solar, LLC, and was created specifically to develop this Project.

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Alert: 1.3 Million MWh Red Cloud Wind Farm

Type: Wind Project                                           

Status: Effective

Organization: Pattern Energy

Scale: 1.3 million megawatts hours (MWh)

Summary: On October 22, 2020, Los Angeles City Council approved the Red Cloud Wind Farm, a renewable energy agreement, which will deliver enough clean energy to power over 222.000 homes in Los Angeles. Stationed in New Mexico, the Red Cloud Wind Project will be the biggest high capacity/low-cost wind farm in LADWP's renewable energy portfolio.  The project moves the City closer to reaching a 55% renewable energy portfolio by 2025, 80% by 2036, and 100% by 2045. The project will increase LADWP's renewable energy portfolio by 6% and provide 1.3 million MWh of energy for LADWP customers each year, which will save over 464.000 metric tons of carbon emissions annually. The wind farm is being developed by Pattern Energy and is anticipated to be complete by December 2021.

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Notable M&A

roundup

The following  M&A transactions in the Power Generation and Supply Industry stand out in the month of October:

  • October 1, 2020, Emerson acquired Open Systems International (OSI Inc.) for $1.1 billion.

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  • October 2, 2020, Microchip Technology acquired Tekron International.

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  • October 13, 2020, OPC Energy agreed to acquire Competitive Power Ventures from Global Infrastructure Management for $630 million.

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  • October 21, 2020, AVANGRID and PNM Resources agreed to merge in a deal valued at $8.3 billion.
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Meeting Planner

Organizations have shifted their event strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are tracking these changing meeting plans.

Meeting Power Generation Roundup-min

Meetings in November and December, 2020


Call for Papers Deadlines

  • Event:  World of Coal Ash - 2021
    URL:  https://tinyurl.com/yxp9fbvd 
    Dates: May 17 to May 20, 2021
    Date Call for Paper:  Nov. 6, 2020
  • Event:  International Biomass Conference & Expo - 2021
    URL: https://tinyurl.com/332v2z4
    Dates:  Mar. 15 to Mar. 17, 2021
    Date Call for Paper:  Nov. 13, 2020

 

None of the information we provide may be taken as legal advice. Please consult an attorney if you require a legal interpretation of this information. 

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