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Posts During the Month

July 2014
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In Texas Even Energy Transmission is Bigger, $7 Billion Bigger


by Stuart Burns

China has been admired for its massive electricity infrastructure projects, especially by the metals producing industries that do handsome business selling the the steel, aluminum and copper that is needed for the construction of thousands of miles of transmission lines.
China’s largest grid operator, State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC), said last week that energy authorities might soon approve a plan to build 12 electricity transmission lines linking the coal production and hydropower centers in inland areas such as Inner Mongolia, Shanxi, Shaanxi and Yunnan to the densely populated east, including cities such as Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei. The total investment is said to be more than 210 billion yuan ($34 billion), and the 12 major projects include four ultra-high-voltage alternating current (UHV AC) power transmission lines, five UHV direct current (DC) lines and…

MISO tariff tweak to boost flows to and from South Region from Thursday 7-17-2014

Houston (Platts)

A new $9.57/MW hurdle rate will be implemented Thursday under tariff language to be filed Wednesday by the Midcontinent Independent System Operator that would allow more power to flow between MISO’s North/Central regions and its South Region.
MISO spokeswoman Jennifer June Lay said in an email Wednesday that MISO plans to file a US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission tariff revision Wednesday to modify demand curves associated with MISO’s Sub-Regional Power Balance Constraints, which have limited flows between the North/Central regions and…

Texas power companies oppose electric reliability project

by R.A. Dyer

It’s a construction project that could help prevent blackouts, but that hasn’t stopped two influential electric generation companies from trying to stop it before it starts.
NRG and Calpine, both active in the Houston area, have gone to the Public Utility Commission with a request that the agency dump plans to extend transmission lines 130 miles from the Houston metro area to east-central Texas. Operators of the state’s principal power grid say the lines are needed to bring more power into Houston and improve system reliability.
Dubbed the “Houston Import Project,” the transmission network should cost about $590 million when complete.  The companies successfully blocked an earlier version of the project several years ago, but failed to stop the board of the…

GDF Suez uses ‘small fish’ defense in alleged market manipulation suit


GDF Suez cited the Public Utility Commission of Texas’ “small fish swim free” rule 17 times in its 25-page motion to dismiss a lawsuit that alleges the French company used its Texas generation fleet to manipulate electricity markets, according to court documents.
In a motion to dismiss the suit filed Monday, GDF Suez North America argued that the plaintiffs, Aspire Commodities and Raiden Commodities, acknowledge GDF Suez’s conduct in managing its 3,957 MW of generation capacity at six Texas sites “was in complete conformity with” Electric Reliability Council of Texas rules and “was expressly authorized by” the Public Utility Commission of Texas.
The “plaintiffs’ suggestion that GDF Suez may have…

Texas PUC Rejects Petition Targeting Small Electric Generators

by Jim Malewitz

The Texas Public Utility Commission on Friday unanimously rejected a petition to overturn its “small fish, swim free” rule, which gives small electricity generators an absolute defense against allegations of market power abuse.
Commissioner Brandy Marty, however, suggested that the commission should “keep an eye on” the question of whether a small electric generator could potentially manipulate prices.
“I think that it’s an interesting question. I’m glad that this was brought up,” she said. “But at this time I’m reluctant to add any regulations that could…

US utilities shift capital spending as distributed generation grows


Utility officials on Tuesday highlighted how low load growth and the emergence of distributed generation resources are leading them to shift capital spending toward bolstering infrastructure and away from generation investments.
“You see a lot of utilities in the country moving this way, and that really defines the utility of the future in many respects,” said Nick Akins, president and CEO of American Electric Power.
Speaking on a panel at the Edison Electric Institute’s annual convention, Akins said that this period of 1-1.5% load growth provides a “distinct opportunity” for the industry to balance the generation portfolio while…