The CEO Power Forum: Not all utility CEOs are created equal...
EDF Renewable Energy acquired the 194-MW Spinning Spur 3 Wind Project from Cielo Wind Power (Cielo). Spinning Spur 3 is located on approximately 18,000 acres in Oldham County, Texas, roughly 50 miles west of Amarillo. The project expects commercial operation by the end of 2015 utilizing ERCOT's new CREZ transmission lines.
Electric Transmission Texas (ETT) energized the last of seven 345-kV transmission line projects associated with the Competitive Renewable Energy Zones (CREZ) initiative in west Texas. The Edith Clarke to Cottonwood transmission line was energized to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) grid on Dec. 4.
NRG Energy closed on the acquisition of the Gregory cogeneration plant in Corpus Christi, Texas. NRG paid approximately $244 million in cash for the plant, exclusive of adjustments relating to working capital. The Gregory cogeneration plant provides steam, processed water and a small percentage of its electrical generation to the Corpus Christi Sherwin Alumina plant. The majority of the base-load generation is available for sale in ERCOT. The current operator, DPS Gregory, will continue to operate the plant until a transition to NRG operations is completed.
Sweetwater Wind awarded a $2.6-million contract to S&C Electric, to upgrade a portion of its 585-MW wind farm in Sweetwater, Texas. This upgrade will enable Sweetwater Wind to meet new renewable energy generation interconnection standards that have been enacted in Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). The new standards require Sweetwater Wind to provide a lagging power factor capability of 0.95 or less, and a leading power factor capability of 0.95 or less at the point of interconnection (POI).
Former FERC Commissioner Bill Massey says we shouldn't bottle the genie of competition as Fortnightly author Doug Jones advocated in May 2013. Instead, he says, the genie's shackles should be removed so market forces can produce maximum efficiency and value for customers.
New Opportunities: Ben Fowke, chairman, president and CEO of Xcel Energy, was named to a committee composed of CEOs from the utility and nuclear industries that will receive regular briefings from the FBI, National Security Agency, Department of Energy, and Department of Homeland Security to begin cooperative efforts on cybersecurity issues.
NSTAR appoints new president; Southern Company names new financial management team; BPA gets new administrator; plus management changes at AEP, Duke, ITC, ConEdison, GDF Suez, ERCOT, MISO, NARUC, and others.
Barriers and breakthroughs to a smarter grid.
Technology is quickly making energy storage more economical and effective than ever before. But companies that wish to invest in storage capacity face a journey through a frustrating regulatory no-man’s land. Opening the gateway for storage to deliver smart grid benefits will require a more streamlined and coherent approach to regulating storage as utility infrastructure.
Case studies on integrating renewable resources.
Where wind integration has been most successful, state authorities developed and adopted basic transmission planning and cost allocation principles before FERC issued Order 1000. Experiences in Texas, California, and Hawaii demonstrate what it takes to overcome permitting and cost allocation barriers—namely, a coherent policy framework and close coordination among stakeholders.