Consumers Energy signed a contract with Barton Malow Company for engineering, procurement and construction services at its $255 million Cross Winds Energy Park, a 105-MW wind farm in Tuscola County, Michigan. The contract is subject to approval by the Michigan Public Service Commission. The contract includes designing, engineering and constructing the park's turbine foundations, access roads, an operations and maintenance building; erecting the park's 62 wind turbines; and building the infrastructure that connects the turbines to the electrical grid.
Michigan Public Service Commission
Addressing an issue reserved from a general rate case proceeding, the Michigan Public Service Commission has accepted an electric utility’s plan for offering residential customers an opportunity to opt out of the company’s advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) program. The utility, Consumers Energy Company, had previously been authorized to commence deployment of smart meters throughout its service area.
The Michigan Public Service Commission, concerned that existing consumer privacy policies were not expansive enough and were disproportionately directed at customer data collected through advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) equipment, amended its privacy policies to assure that all customer usage information possessed by the state’s energy utilities, and not just that collected via AMI, would be protected. The commission explained that as metering and billing technologies evolve, so, too, must customer privacy practices adapt. (Case No.
In authorizing Detroit Edison Company, now operating as DTE Electric Company, to implement a new power supply cost recovery (PSCR) rate plan, the Michigan Public Service Commission (PSC) declined a request that it declare it unlikely that it would allow full recovery in the future of the utility’s requested PSCR costs due to the company’s continued operation of its aging coal plants. Instead, the commission endorsed the company’s continued participation in a so-called “reduced fuel emission” (REF) project with a corporate affiliate.
Consumers Energy filed for approval of a certificate of necessity with the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) for its new natural gas plant in Genesee County. The certificate of necessity filing, allowed for under Michigan's energy reform law, provides Consumers Energy's comprehensive analysis for the 700-MW natural gas plant planned for Thetford Township, about 20 miles northeast of Flint. The review process for the filing is expected to take nine months.
The Michigan Public Service Commission (PSC) authorized Detroit Edison to implement an AMI opt-out program. The commission approved the specifics of the opt-out proposal submitted by the utility, except that it reduced the associated charges recommended by the company, finding that the company’s forecasted participation rate was too low. For complete regulatory coverage, citations, and analysis, subscribe to Utility Regulatory News http://www.fortnightly.com/urn-subscribe
Planning ahead in a low-cost gas market.
IIt’s ironic that in today’s market, as the cost of hedging against commodity price increases has declined, support for utility hedging programs has sunk to a historic low. The ideal time to hedge is when prices are low and markets are relatively calm, because that’s when hedging costs and risks are the lowest. Conversely, waiting until prices rise and markets become volatile will expose customers to higher costs. Convincing regulators to approve hedging programs now will require a collaborative approach to educating and enlisting support from stakeholders.
The Blue Ribbon Commission’s best answer for the nuclear waste dilemma.
As the Fukushima-Daiichi crisis unfolds, the U.S. DOE’s Blue Ribbon Commission is preparing its initial recommendations on how America should deal with its commercial nuclear waste. Early indicators suggest it will endorse the so-called fedcorp model—creating an independent federal corporation, similar to TVA. But a fedcorp structure, by itself, won’t resolve the spent-fuel dilemma. Success will require a strong mandate, consistent funding—and a totally new approach to siting and management.
Can a broadly based committee resolve the nuclear waste dilemma?
The Department of Energy assembled an all-star Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future. With such political and industry heavyweights as Brent Scowcroft, Lee Hamilton and John Rowe, the commission must be taken seriously. But can a broadly focused committee finish the decades-long battle to close the nuclear fuel cycle?