Wednesday, April 30, 2014

NYISO Rolls Back Proposal for Electric Capacity Zone Rates

The New York Independent System Operation (NYISO) will revise its proposal for an electric capacity zone in the Hudson Valley to reduce the proposed rate increase.  The announcement came after US Senator Charles Schumer pushed to have the zone plan dropped.

Under the new proposal submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the rate increase would be cut from 10 percent to four percent this year, with no rate increases in the two following years.

A decision by FERC on the new proposal is expected on Thursday. Schumer is urging FERC to reject the zone altogether. (Mid Hudson News, 4/30/2014)

Friday, January 31, 2014

FERC "Capacity Zone" Plan

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is telling state officials that expected annual growth in electricity demand and the loss of power sources are driving the need to establish a new “capacity zone” between New York City and Albany.

Capacity is the amount of electricity a utility is required to have available under peak conditions — the maximum amount expected — plus an additional 18 percent. A capacity zone quite simply reflects where you have more need than where transmission can give you generation.

Under rules for a new capacity zone, utilities like Central Hudson will be required to purchase at least 88 percent of its “capacity,” or amount above actual demand, from electricity producers within the zone. Officials said that is required as a way to provide incentives for new producers to build plants that meet the growing demand for electricity.

Central Hudson has opposed the capacity zone, which is scheduled to begin in March, arguing that it will increase the costs charged to customers by 8 to 15 percent.
While demand for electricity in the region is increasing at a rate of 200 megawatts per year, the amount of electricity generated has declined by 1,700 megawatts.  It is because the 1,700 megawatts was retired in part because generators weren’t making enough new capacity the month before to justify the upgrades to their systems.

There is a growing requirement in this area that the current system can’t fix and if an answer is not found, there will be blackouts.  The reduction in electricity generated is a result of regulators rejecting requests for upgrades based on profit margins that have been reduced due to environmental regulations. If you’re a plant owner, you have to make money enough to run that plant ... and (coal-based plants) have not been able to survive because of the environmental requirements on (them). Because of the cost of natural gas as compared to the cost of coal they just simply can’t compete, so coal has been retired across the state and you’ve had some of that in this area retire.


The New York Independent System Operator is a nonprofit organization that reports to the state Public Service Commission on the demand for electricity and forecasts where shortages can be expected. Limits on electricity are also based on how much power can be carried through existing transmission lines from other parts of the state, which is why additional lines are being considered for the region.

The majority of the congestion is from Leeds (in Greene County) to Pleasant Valley (in Dutchess County. On peak days, you just simply can’t move any more power through those lines.

There are currently capacity zones for New York City and Long Island, where additional electricity comes from outdated generators that are brought online when demand is high. There has been an impact from people trying to cut back on electric use, but the use of air conditioners and increased heating needs have offset those savings.  Energy efficiency has made us efficient in our daily lives, but the state has also set peak demand records in summer and winter in the last seven months.  (Daily Freeman News, 1/30/2014)

Monday, January 6, 2014

New York Green Bank


On December 19 the state Public Service Commission approved $165.5 million in seed money for Governor Andrew Cuomo's $1 billion Green Bank.  It will be operated by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to provide Wall Street-style financing sources for renewable energy projects in the state.

Cuomo proposed the Green Bank as a way to bring more private sector capital into New York's renewable energy economy, which relies heavily on subsidies from NYSERDA for everything from wind farms and solar electric installations to home energy audits. Using some public funds, the Green Bank also will tap money from banks and other private sources to create traditional financing products such as bonds and loans that developers can tap into instead of seeking one-time state subsidies.

NYSERDA collects roughly $700 million from electric and gas utility customers annually to fund its renewable energy subsidies, although large industrial users pay much of the expense.

The PSC approved taking $165.5 million in uncommitted funds from various NYSERDA programs to start the Green Bank. About $17 million will be used for administrative costs and program evaluation. Another $45 million is coming from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a cap-and-trade emissions program for power plants that New York is a part of.

NYSERDA will hire new staff to run the Green Bank. In November, Cuomo announced the hiring of Alfred Griffin of Citigroup Global Markets as president.  (Times Union, 1/2/2014)

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Boundless Energy Wants Lines Under Hudson River

Boundless Energy's proposed project would run primarily
 along the west shore of the Hudson, from Greene County
to the Roseton plant, shown here, in the Town of Newburgh.
From Roseton, an underground line would extend
to an East Fishkill substation.Times Herald-Record file photo
Connecticut-based Boundless Energy  is proposing to fix the energy bottleneck preventing power from coming to the Hudson Valley by upgrading existing transmission lines and burying a new one as deep as 40 feet under the Hudson River from the Town of Newburgh to Dutchess County. According to Boundless Energy, the entire project would cost less than $300 million.
 
The project is one of four vying to be part of New York state's Energy Highway Initiative. The other three projects seek to fix the same bottleneck, but would have more limited effects on the region because they would connect from areas farther upstate to a substation in Pleasant Valley.  The state Public Service Commission will likely select only one project of the four.
 
Community groups have opposed some of those projects because they include the installation of new transmission poles and lines. The Dutchess County Legislature last month passed a resolution opposing the construction of new, above-ground transmission lines.
 
Boundless' project sticks primarily to the western shore of the Hudson River, running from Greene County down through Ulster and the very northern tip of Orange to the Roseton power plant in the Town of Newburgh. The engineers behind Boundless tout that their project does not involve the installation of any additional lines or poles. Instead, it would replace older utility cables with new, higher-capacity ones and upgrade technology in substations.  From Roseton, the line would travel under the Hudson River to an East Fishkill substation.
 
The PSC is accepting public comment on the projects until March, and then will begin another round of more specific applications and public comments. That phase will take an additional 18 to 30 months, meaning work on any of the projects may not start until 2016.  The PSC believes the transmission projects will make the designation of a new power zone in the Hudson Valley, which will increase electricity rates by as much as 10 percent, unnecessary. The zone is meant to attract new generation projects. (Times Herald Record, 1/2/2014)

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Matthew Cordaro Reappointed To LIPA Board


Matthew Cordaro
Matthew Cordaro has been reappointed to the board by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan), Silver's office confirmed Monday. Cordaro, a board member since February, has questioned whether a LIPA downsized by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo can handle its responsibilities.

Silver used his other pick for the nine-member board to select former Long Island Assemblyman Marc Alessi, who represented parts of Suffolk County from 2005 to 2010. Silver's selections complete the newly fashioned governing board for the utility.

The Cuomo administration earlier named five new appointees: Thomas McAtee Jr., Mark Fischl, Sheldon Cohen, Elkan Abramowitz and outgoing Glen Cove Mayor Ralph Suozzi.

Last week, Senate co-leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) said he will reappoint Jeffrey H. Greenfield (first appointed in 2012) and Suzette Smookler (board member since 2006) as his representatives.

Under a reorganization plan advocated by the governor last year, Cuomo has five board selections, Silver two and Skelos two.

The old 15-member board will be abolished as of Wednesday.

Under the plan that takes effect Wednesday, PSEG, a New Jersey-based utility company, will take over not only the day-to-day operations but also management duties including budgeting and power-plant planning. LIPA is being scaled back to essentially a financial holding company while maintaining ownership of the transmission and distribution system.  (Long Island Newsday, 12/30/2013)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

LNG Stations Proposed for New York


If you want to add your thoughts to New York's proposal to add liquefied natural gas stations throughout the state, you have until 5 p.m. Wednesday, December 4.

The state's Department of Environmental Conservation is in the midst of establishing rules for the fueling stations, which could serve large haulers bringing goods into and across New York.

Proponents of liquefied natural gas say the natural gas engines burn cleaner than diesel ones. New York is the only state that bans new construction of these fueling stations.
Critics say the entire process of producing the super-cooled gas is as problematic as using other fossil fuels. And critics worry the state's interest in building liquefied natural gas stations could be a sign toward allowing hydrofracking into the state.

To comment on the proposed rules, email here or write to:

Russ Brauksieck
NYSDEC
Division of Environmental Remediation
625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-7020

(Syracuse Post Standard, 12/2/2013)

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Court Ends Nuclear Plant Fees For Waste


A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that nuclear power plants no longer have to pay $750 million a year in fees to the federal government to cover the long-term cost of storing their nuclear fuel.

That's good news for nuclear power plants, including a couple in Upstate New York that are struggling financially.

The U.S. Court of Appeals in the District of Columbia ruled that it was unfair for the Department of Energy to collect money for waste disposal when the department had no idea how much that might cost.
"Until the Department (of Energy) comes to some conclusion as to how nuclear wastes are to be deposited permanently, it seems quite unfair to force petitioners to pay fees for a hypothetical option,'' the court ruled."
The existing fee is one-tenth of a cent per kilowatt-hour. At that rate, it appears that the court ruling would save the FitzPatrick nuclear plant in Oswego County about $6 million a year, based on the plant's output for 2012.

FitzPatrick, which is owned by Entergy Corp., is one of a handful of nuclear plants that industry experts say is struggling to make money at a time when cheap natural gas is depressing wholesale electricity prices.

Norris McDonald at James Fitzpatrick Nuclear Power Plant
Dry Cask Spent Fuel Storage at James Fitzpatrick

Entergy officials released a short prepared statement today in response to the court ruling: "We are pleased with the court's decision and agree that, until the Department of Energy restarts its waste disposal program, the Nuclear Waste Fund fee our customers pay should be suspended."

The Ginna plant in Wayne County, another nuke thought to be at financial risk, could potentially save about $4.6 million based on its 2012 output.

Ginna Nuclear Power Plant

Nine Mile Point Nuclear Station in Oswego County, which is stronger financially because it has two reactors, could save an estimated $13.2 million based on its 2012 output. Ginna and Nine Mile Point are owned by Constellation Energy Nuclear Group, a division of Exelon Corp.


The Department of Energy said it is reviewing the court's opinion.  (Syracuse Post Standard, 11/20/2103)

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Champlain Hudson Power Express


Hydro-Quebec is a Canadian state-owned utility that has received approval to sell power through the Champlain Hudson Power Express, a 330-mile long cable that will run through Lake Champlain, then follow railroad beds and down the Hudson. It recently requested access to state money to help fund the $2 billion project. The state's pot of money to support renewable energy projects currently comes from a utility bill surcharge on New York residents and cannot be distributed to companies from out of state.

The company that would build the line, Transmission Developers Inc.(TDI), is based in Albany. The project received state approval earlier this year, but still needs the go-ahead from federal regulators and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

TDI has not sought any state funds, company president Donald Jessome said, but he understands why Hydro-Quebec has sought financial incentives for the project.

Hydro-Quebec produces power from 60 hydroelectric, a nuclear and 27 thermal generating stations. New York uses the utility surcharge to support the development of alternative energy, but it is intended for projects by state companies.

Environmentalists and labor unions have hailed the project because it will decrease reliance on fossil fuels while creating hundreds of construction jobs over the four years it will take to construct. It will bring 1,000 megawatts of cheap renewable-energy power to New York, enough to power a million homes.

But the prospect of using state money to finance a foreign company's work on the project has drawn opposition from a local industry group.  (Capital New York, 11/18/2013)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

NRC Waste Confidence Hearing - Tarrytown


More than 250 people filled a hotel ballroom tonight to discuss the federal government’s draft study on the long-term storage of used nuclear fuel.  The local meeting is one of 13 being held around the country.

The public comment period on the Waste Confidence Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement and proposed rule has been extended to Friday, December 20, 2013. All public meetings that were postponed due to the shutdown have been rescheduled. 

Historically, Waste Confidence has been the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's (NRC's) generic determination regarding the environmental impacts of storing spent nuclear fuel beyond the licensed life for operation of a nuclear power plant. This generic analysis has been incorporated into the Commission's NEPA reviews for new reactor licenses, license renewals, and Independent Spent Fuel Storage Installation (ISFSI) licenses through the Waste Confidence Rule. The Waste Confidence GEIS and rule satisfy the NRC's obligations under NEPA with respect to post-licensed-life storage of spent nuclear fuel.

On June 8, 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit found that some aspects of the 2010 rulemaking did not satisfy the NRC's NEPA obligations and vacated the rulemaking. [New York v. NRC, 681 F.3d 471 (D.C. Cir. 2012)]. The court indicated that in making either a Finding Of No Significant Impact based on an Environmental Assessment or in an Environmental Impact Statement supporting the rulemaking, the Commission needed to add additional discussions concerning the impacts of failing to secure permanent disposal for spent nuclear fuel, and concerning the impacts of certain aspects of potential spent fuel pool leaks and spent fuel pool fires.

In response to the Court's decision, the Commission decided to stop all licensing activities that rely on the Waste Confidence rule (see CLI-12-016). The NRC created a Waste Confidence Directorate within the Office of Nuclear Material Safety and Safeguards to oversee the development of a Waste Confidence Generic Environmental Impact Statement and revised Rule. The Commission has instructed the Directorate to issue the final Generic Environmental Impact Statement and Rule by no later than September 2014.  (NRC, Lohud)

Thursday, September 19, 2013

'City & State' Energy Forum


On September 17, City & State hosted its annual “On Energy” forum discussing the aftermath of Super storm Sandy, the development of the energy superhighway, and the future of renewable energy. Here are some excerpts from the event.


 
 
(City & State, 9/18/2013)

Friday, August 30, 2013

NY Court of Appeals Hears Cases on Town Fracking Bans


The New York Court of Appeals on Thursday said it would hear challenges by energy companies and landowners to two upstate towns' bans on fracking, the controversial hydraulic fracturing process of extracting natural gas from underground shale.

The Court of Appeals will hear appeals by Norse Energy Corp. USA against the Town of Dryden and Cooperstown Holstein Corp. against the Town of Middlefield.

Dryden, a town of 14,435 in Tompkins County, according to a 2010 U.S. Census Bureau report, amended its zoning laws in 2011 to ban fracking. And Middlefield, a town of 2,114 in Otsego County, passed a similar zoning law in 2011.

Both towns' laws were upheld unanimously in May by panels of appellate court judges. The courts rejected the argument by energy companies and landowners that the towns' zoning laws were trumped by the state's Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Law, which empowers the state Department of Environmental Conservation to regulate oil and gas drilling.

New York Court of Appeals in Albany, NY

Fracking compnies believe local municipalities lack the expertise to properly regulate oil and gas drilling.  They believe that the New York state regulatory scheme has always anticipated that the DEC have preemptive rights to regulate fracking decisions.

Fracking involves the use of high-pressure water, chemicals and sand to crack open deep underground rock that houses rich supplies of natural gas.


The legal challenges haven't dissuaded New York communities from passing fracking bans.  More than 170 New York communities have passed bans or moratoria, according to FracTracker Alliance, a nonprofit that monitors gas drilling.

The Joint Landowners Coalition of New York, a group of 77,000 landowners, that support gas drilling believes that New York cannot have a 'not in my backyard approach' to energy development. (WSJ, 8/30/2013)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Indian Point’s Timely Renewal


On Sept. 29, 2013, Indian Point 2 will enter what’s called the period of “timely renewal,” while the NRC continues its consideration of Entergy’s application to renew the unit’s operating license.
inpt
Indian Point
The NRC’s timely renewal regulation implements a provision of the Administrative Procedure Act passed by Congress. Under that regulation, if a licensee requests a renewed license at least five years before expiration of its current license, the request is considered “timely” and the facility is allowed to continue to operate under its existing license until the NRC completes its review and reaches a decision on the license renewal request.

During the period of timely renewal, Entergy will have to continue to meet all of the regulations and license conditions that currently apply. In addition, in a May 1 letter to the NRC, Entergy voluntarily committed to update its Final Safety Analysis Report to include the aging management programs, and to implement the commitments it has made, for a renewed license. Indian Point 2 will continue to operate under its current license with these modifications, to assure continued safe operation during the timely renewal period, until the NRC reaches a decision on whether to approve the license renewal application.

Entergy submitted a license renewal application for Indian Point 2 and 3 in April 2007. The current operating license for Indian Point 2 expires at midnight September 28th; Unit 3’s license expires two years later, in December 2015.
Typically, the NRC staff takes about 18 to 24 months to review a reactor license renewal application. If there’s a hearing on the application, the process may take about 30 months to complete. In the Indian Point case, the hearing has taken longer than projected, in part due to the large number of contentions the parties have raised in the proceeding.

In addition, a decision on the Indian Point license renewal application has been deferred pending further Commission action involving the Waste Confidence Decision. In its Waste Confidence Decision and Temporary Storage Rule, updated in 2010, the Commission made a generic determination that spent nuclear fuel can be stored safely and without significant environmental impacts for a certain period of time after a nuclear plant permanently shuts down. In June of last year, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals found that some aspects of the 2010 Waste Confidence rule update did not satisfy the NRC’s obligations under the National Environmental Policy Act and vacated that rule. In response, the Commission decided to defer all final licensing decisions that rely on the Waste Confidence Decision while it takes steps to address the court’s decision. This applies to various license applications, including the Indian Point 2 license renewal application.

The NRC will continue to provide oversight of activities at both Indian Point 2 and 3 during the period of timely renewal. Last year, NRC conducted 11,000 hours of inspection at the two units. NRC will devote a similar number of inspection hours this year. Some of that includes inspection of the licensee’s commitments and aging management programs related to license renewal.

In short, even though a final decision hasn’t been reached on the renewal of the Indian Point 2 license, NRC will continue to assure that it operates safely during the period of timely renewal.  (NRC)

Friday, June 7, 2013

38.7 Million CO2 Allowances Sold at 20th RGGI Auction

CO2 Allowances Sold at $3.21
The nine Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), the nation’s first market-based regulatory program to reduce greenhouse gas pollution, today announced the results of their 20th auction of carbon dioxide (CO2) allowances.
 
38,782,076 CO2 allowances were sold at the auction, held Wednesday, June 5, 2013, at a clearing price of $3.21. The auction generated $124.4 million for reinvestment by the RGGI states in a variety of consumer benefit initiatives, including energy efficiency, renewable energy, direct bill assistance, greenhouse gas abatement, and climate change adaptation programs.

Allowances sold represent 100 percent of the allowances offered for sale by the nine states. Bids for the CO2 allowances ranged from $1.98 to $5.55 per allowance.

According to the independent market monitor’s report, electricity generators and their corporate affiliates have won 86 percent of CO2 allowances sold in RGGI auctions since 2008. Additional details are available in the Market Monitor Report for Auction 20.

With twenty auctions completed, RGGI continues to generate hard data showing that market-based emission reduction programs are an effective way to realize environmental goals, save consumers money, and create jobs. 

The next RGGI auction is scheduled for September 4, 2013. (RGGI)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Bioswale Installation Will Slow Down Stormwater Runoff In City

The Department of Environmental Protection plans to install 5,500 curbside gardens, called bioswales, to intercept, absorb and filter storm runoff before it flows into waterways. The bioswales will help clean up its rivers, streams and bays.  The bioswales—20 feet long and five feet wide—can hold 2,244 gallons of storm water at a time, the city says. They stretch five feet deep and are filled with broken stone and soil that contain air pockets to hold storm water. Planted with vegetation, the bioswales could pass topside as simple street gardens.

The bioswales, which cost about $25,000 each, will be tended by the city's parks department. Some 119 already have been installed in Queens and the Bronx around Jamaica Bay, the Hutchinson River and the East River. By 2014, city officials say they plan to have 2,200 bioswales installed, and 5,500 by 2015. Most will be situated in Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx.

The bioswales are part of a larger city push on so-called green infrastructure, required under a 2012 settlement with New York state. In addition to paying a $200,000 fine to Albany for discharging pollutants into state waters, the city will spend some $5.3 billion to improve its sewer-overflow systems over the next 20 years.

By diverting storm water, the bioswales are designed to ease pressure on the city's 14 water-treatment plants, the final destination for both sewage water and storm-water runoff. On days with heavy rainfall, those plants become overwhelmed, letting wastewater and sewage slip into the city's waterways.

The city collects and treats 1.3 billion gallons of sewage and storm water on a dry day, city figures show, though the system can handle 2.5 billion gallons. Rainy days send far more than 2.5 billion gallons toward the treatment plants, the city says. (WSJ, 6/3/2013)

Monday, April 22, 2013

RGGI Qualification Applications Due April 24


Qualification Application and Intent to Bid for RGGI Auction 20 Due Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The deadline for submitting the Qualification Application and Intent to Bid for RGGI CO2 Allowance Auction 20 is Wednesday, April 24, 2013.
 
 
The Qualification Application and Intent to Bid must be received no later than 5:00 PM ET Wednesday, either by e-mail OR in hard copy at:
 
RGGI CO2 Budget Trading Programs Auction Manager
c/o World Energy Solutions, Inc.
100 Front Street, 20th Floor
Worcester, MA 01608
 
 
For questions please call: (800) 578-0718.
 
 
 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Dynegy Lays Off 57 Danskammer Workers


Danskammer plant Dynegy, the company that owns the Roseton and Danskammer electric generating plants in the Town of Newburgh, which is in the process of selling both, has laid off all but two IBEW employees at Danskammer.

A total of 57 workers got their pink slips a couple of days ago.

The company that is buying Danskammer is going to dismantle it. Another company is buying the Roseton plant and will continue to operate it for electrical generation.

IBEW Local 320 President and Business Manager John Kaiser said he is trying to have the Danskammer workers placed.  (Mid Hudson News, 4/3/2013)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

NYISO Approves Comprehensive Reliability Plan

Identifies System Reliability Risks and Solutions through 2022
 
The Board of Directors of the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) approved the 2012 (CRP) for New York’s power system, which concludes that additional transmission and generation resources will be needed during the study period (2013-2022) to meet system reliability criteria and that sufficient solutions have been proposed to meet those reliability needs.

The 2012 CRP is the product of the Comprehensive Reliability Planning Process conducted by the NYISO to provide a blueprint for meeting the reliability needs of the state’s bulk electricity grid over a 10-year planning horizon. The multi-phased process includes an assessment of reliability needs prior to the development of the reliability plan.

In September, the NYISO issued the 2012 Reliability Needs Assessment (RNA) identifying transmission security violations, which could manifest as soon as 2013, and resource adequacy violations, which could occur by 2020. To address these needs, the NYISO requested market-based, regulated backstop and alternative regulated solutions. Market-based solutions are the preferred means to meet future reliability needs with the other regulated solutions available for implementation if necessary.

The CRP reports that market-based, regulated backstop and alternative regulated solutions have been proposed to meet the reliability needs identified in the 2012 RNA. Based upon its updated study model the evaluation of the market-based solutions and the most recent Local Transmission Plans (LTPs) from the state’s transmission owners, the CRP made the following findings:

Transmission Security and Adequacy

The needs identified in the 2012 RNA for the Rochester and Syracuse areas will be resolved by 2017 with permanent solutions identified in Rochester Gas & Electric’s and National Grid’s LTPs.

Resource Adequacy

The market-based solutions, if constructed, are fully sufficient to meet the resource adequacy needs for 2021 and 2022 identified in the RNA. Market-based solutions to the resource adequacy needs include: NRG’s proposal to repower the Astoria plant and provide a net capacity increase of 405 megawatts (MW) of generating capacity in the New York City region (Zone J); Constellation NewEnergy, Inc.’s proposal to increase demand response by 30 MW in the New York City region (Zone J); and NRG’s proposal to repower the Dunkirk plant with 440 MW of capacity in the Western New York region (Zone A), which would replace existing generation at the site and could address reliability issues in the area.
 
Risk Factors

While solutions studied in the CRP will result in the system meeting reliability criteria, there are uncertainties and risk factors that could adversely affect the implementation of the plan and system reliability over the 10-year planning horizon. These include: the need for transmission owners’ LTPs to proceed on schedule; factors such as financing, future market conditions and interconnection requirements influencing the timely completion of market-based generation solutions; the retirement of additional generating units beyond those already considered in the 2012 RNA for either economic or environmental reasons could raise additional, adverse impacts on reliability beyond those identified in the CRP; and if the Indian Point Power Plant licenses are not renewed and the plant were to retire by the end of 2015 or thereafter, this would result in immediate transmission security and resource adequacy criteria violations unless sufficient replacement resources are in place prior to retirement.

The NYISO will continue to monitor, evaluate and report, on a quarterly basis, the viability and timeliness of all submitted market-based solutions and will be prepared to trigger a gap or regulated backstop solution, if necessary.

The
2012 Comprehensive Reliability Plan  

The New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) is a not-for-profit corporation responsible for operating the state’s bulk electricity grid, administering New York’s competitive wholesale electricity markets, conducting comprehensive long-term planning for the state’s electric power system, and advancing the technological infrastructure of the electric system serving the Empire State.

###

For more information, please contact:

David Flanagan (518) 356-7325 [office]/(518) 727-1569 [mobile] / dflanagan@nyiso.com

Ken Klapp (518) 356-6253 [office]/(518) 461-3564 [mobile] / kklapp@nyiso.com   
 

Monday, March 18, 2013

NRC Assigns New Inspectors to Indian Point


The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has assigned three new resident inspectors to the Indian Point nuclear power plant in Buchanan.

James Scott Stewart was named as the senior resident inspector and Katrina Dunham and Ami Patel were named as the resident inspectors at the facilities.

Previously, Stewart, who joined the NRC in 1987, was the senior resident inspector at the Turkey Point nuclear plant in Homestead, FL, Crystal River 3 in Crystal River FL, and at Calvert Cliffs in Lusby, MD.

Dunham joined the agency in 2010 after graduating from the Maine maritime Academy and most recently was a reactor engineer in the Division of Reactor Projects.

Patel began her career with the NRC in 2008 as a project engineer in Atlanta. She transferred to Rhode Island in 2009 and worked in various positions in the Division of Reactor Projects.

Each commercial nuclear power plant in the U.S. has at least two NRC resident inspectors. They serve as the agency’s eyes and ears at the facility, conducting regular inspections, monitoring significant work projects and interacting with plant workers and the public. (MidHudsonNews, 3/13/2013)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Will Sandy Storm Money Bail Out LIPA Re Shoreham?


The financial engineering required to privatize the LIPA could cost taxpayersif the state decides to bailout Long Island. Customers of the Long Island Power Authority in Nassau, Suffolk and parts of Queens counties suffered through prolonged blackouts during Superstorm Sandy thanks to the utility's widely lambasted mismanagement. Governor Cuomo earlier this month in his State of the State address tated that he wanted to "abolish" LIPA. But analysts believe that persuading a private company to buy the much-maligned utility would require the state to assume at least $4 billion of LIPA's $7 billion in debt from the Shoreham nuclear power plant closure.



A sale would also trigger nearly $1 billion in additional costs: early-termination fees paid to bondholders, as well as penalties for the derivatives contracts that would suddenly become void, according to people who have studied a privatization.

LIPA could a very hot property for publicly traded Consolidated Edison Inc., New Jersey's Public Service Enterprise Group or another utility seeking to expand. Its chief asset: a monopoly serving a region whose population is larger than 20 states. LIPA has 1.1 million customers and ranks as the second-largest government-owned utility after the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power.

The trouble is LIPA's balance sheet. Debt obligations are nearly twice the value of its $4 billion in assets, and its 19-to-1 debt-to-cash ratio is more than double the industry average.



Any private buyer would seek to raise rates so it could pay down debt, cover the costs of stormproofing LIPA's infrastructure—and generate a decent shareholder return. But higher rates are a nonstarter. Mr. Cuomo earlier this month demanded they be frozen as part of any privatization. The only way out of this box, analysts say, is for the state to assume a portion of LIPA's debt so a buyer gains some financial flexibility.  Could part of the $60 billion in Superstorm Sandy bailout money be used to bailout LIPA?  Sounds plausible, unless restrictions are tied to the federal money.

Mr. Mitnick suggests the state take on some or all of LIPA's obligations, at least assuming the $4 billion liability originally associated with the long-closed Shoreham nuclear-power plant. With a lower debt load, LIPA would surely attract plenty of suitors eager to own its transmission and distribution assets.

The state's debt load is $63 billion, according to a report earlier this month by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, who said the state has the capacity to add only another $2 billion through next year.

Another knotty problem centers on paying off trading partners and investors if the utility is privatized. Like most utilities, LIPA has entered into lots of derivatives transactions to help hedge its exposure to fluctuating interest rates and energy prices. In the event of a privatization, those contracts would be voided, forcing the utility to pay $295 million in early-termination fees, according to a 2011 report for LIPA by the Brattle Group, a consulting firm.

It would be more expensive still to deal with LIPA's investors. In order to retire LIPA's approximately $7 billion in debt, the Brattle Group estimated that holders would have to be paid a $666 million premium in exchange for selling their bonds before maturity. (Crain's New York Business, 1/18/2012)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

PJM Interconnection & NY ISO Coordinate


PJM INTERCONNECTION AND NEW YORK ISO LAUNCH MARKET-TO-MARKET COORDINATION BETWEEN TRANSMISSION SYSTEMS

Increases Efficiencies of Regional Wholesale Electricity Markets

PJM Interconnection and the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) yesterday successfully began jointly managing transmission limits that occur near the "seams" between their regions. The coordination between the two markets will increase the efficiency and lower the costs of electric transmission congestion management.

Congestion occurs when limits on transmission lines restrict the amount of power that can flow. In response, grid operators typically increase or decrease output from generators. The joint coordination allows the most cost effective generator— whether in New York or PJM— to be adjusted to address the constraint.



The benefits of market-to-market coordination between NYISO and PJM include:
  • Lower overall congestion costs for consumers
  • More consistent prices across the two wholesale electricity markets because prices at the borders between them are expected to come together more closely
  • Greater reliability because a broader pool of resources is available
In October 2012 NYISO and PJM announced a long-term approach to optimize the flow of electricity across their common border and reduce threats to reliability that also includes:
  • Coordinating planning processes to facilitate efficient transmission investments
  • Deploying smart grid technologies that maintain system balance through the use of robust data, communications and automated systems
  • Developing a shared understanding of regional natural gas delivery constraints for power generation



The New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) is a not-for-profit corporation responsible for operating the state’s bulk electricity grid, administering New York’s competitive wholesale electricity markets, conducting comprehensive long-term planning for the state’s electric power system and advancing the technological infrastructure of the electric system serving the Empire State.

PJM Interconnection, founded in 1927, ensures the reliability of the high-voltage electric power system serving 60 million people in all or parts of Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. PJM coordinates and directs the operation of the region’s transmission grid, which includes 59,750 miles of transmission lines; administers a competitive wholesale electricity market; and plans regional transmission expansion improvements to maintain grid reliability and relieve congestion. Visit PJM. (PJM, NYISO)