Alliant subsidiary Wisconsin Power & Light (WPL) closed on its purchase of the Riverside Energy Center, a 600-MW combined-cycle, natural gas-fired power plant in Beloit, Wisc. WPL purchased the plant from Calpine for approximately $400 million.
(October 2012) Entergy Mississippi to spin off its transmission business to ITC; Calpine acquires Bosque Power merchant plant in Texas; WPS acquires Fox Energy plant; E.On buys interest in Magic Valley wind farm; plus bond issues by Nstar, Western Mass. Electric, Texas Eastern Transmission, Alabama Power, and NSP totaling $1.55 billion.
(December2012) KC Electric Association expects soon to finalize installing a Sensus FlexNet network and iCon A electric meters to serve about 4,000 residential and small commercial members across a 5,000-square-mile territory in rural Colorado. Itron and C3 Energy formed an alliance to integrate and jointly market an energy management solution to North American utilities. And others...
Calpine signs PPA with Public Service Company of Oklahoma; TransCanada and Ontario PowerAuthority agree to develop 900-MW gas-fired power plant; Panda selects Siemens to build combined-cycle plant; Progress Energy retires coal plants dating from 1923; Southern Company and Turner acquire 30-MW PV project; PSO begins smart meter pilot rollout; Southern California Edison contracts with Corix to install smart meters; Iberdrola USA hires Burns and McDonnell to review grid infrastructure. Plus contracts and announcements from Itron, eMeter, Echelon, Quanta Services, DNV, Metadigm, Landis+Gyr, and others.
PJM and MISO ran from the altar once before. Now there’s talk of a shotgun wedding.
By Bruce W. Radford
Utilities in the Midwest ISO want greater access to sell into PJM’s lucrative market. But that might require a virtual merger of the two RTOs — a move rejected seven years ago as too costly, and perhaps still impractical today.
(July 2012) NRC renews Entergy Pilgrim nuclear license. San Francisco selects EnerNOC. Entergy contracts with Comverge. FPL adds Quantum Ford F-150 PHEVs to its fleet. Lincoln Renewable Energy dedicates 12.5-MW NJ Oak solar project.
(May 2012) Entergy Louisiana starts construction on gas-fired power project; Virginia Commonwealth University and Dominion partner on a test site for efficient energy technologies; Burlington Electric Department selects Siemens for meter data management platform; IKEA commissions four Blink electric vehicle charging stations; Edison Mission Energy, TIAA-CREF and Cook Inlet Region Inc. form partnership, and others.
Does the lack of long-term pricing undermine the financing of new power plants?
J.P. Pfeifenberger and S.A. Newell
The PJM Interconnect’s Reliability Pricing Model generally has succeeded in attracting and retaining low-cost generation and demand resources to maintain resource adequacy. But sluggish demand and low prices have weakened the market for long-term capacity contracts. Suppliers aren’t willing to lock in current low prices, and buyers don’t want to pay more for future certainty. Is the market dysfunctional, as some state lawmakers suggest, or does the lack of long-term contracts indicate a rational balance of supply and demand?
By some measures, merchant power assets look like a bargain, selling for well below their replacement cost. But whether low prices signal a buying opportunity or a value trap depends on the outlook for electricity demand growth—not just in the long term, but also in the fairly immediate future.
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