Browse News Stories by Topic

Browse News Stories by Topic

  • 50 members of House advise Budget Committee against selling PMA assets

    By Jeannine Anderson
    APPA News Editor
    Posted June 29, 2017 
    In a June 26 letter to the leaders of the House Budget Committee, a group of 50 bipartisan members of the House urged the committee to reject the Trump administration’s recent proposal to sell the transmission assets of the federal power marketing administrations.

    Selling these assets “would result in the federal government abandoning a successful and efficient solution for providing affordable power in poor and rural communities, thereby creating more problems associated with energy production and delivery as well as retail customer rate changes than this one-time deficit reduction attempt would solve,” the 50 members of Congress said in their letter to Budget Committee Chairman Diane Black, R-TN, and John Yarmuth, D-KY, the committee’s ranking minority member.
  • Arizona utility enters "historically low" long-term solar contract

    By Bob Matyi
    APPA Contributing Writer
    May 30, 2017

    Tucson Electric Power, which serves 420,000 customers in southern Arizona, has entered into a long-term solar energy contract with NextEra Energy Resources at a price of less than 3 cents/kWh, which TEP described as “historically low.”

    Under the agreement, NextEra will build and operate a 100-MW solar array and a related 30-MW energy storage system that are expected to be in commercial operation by the end of 2019. The project will be sufficient to provide electricity to 21,000 homes.

  • Association says there is no compelling reason for FERC to adopt DOE plan

    By Paul Ciampoli
    APPA News Director
    Posted November 9, 2017

    Arguments made by various parties in a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission proceeding that seek to justify implementation of a Department of Energy proposed rule that would affect organized wholesale power markets fall flat on a number of fronts, the American Public Power Association said in a Nov. 7 filing.

  • Association urges FERC to reject DOE proposed rule tied to market changes

    By Paul Ciampoli
    APPA News Director
    Posted on October 24, 2017 

    In comments filed on Oct. 23, the American Public Power Association urged the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to reject a Department of Energy proposed rule that would require organized electricity markets to adopt tariff changes that would ensure full cost recovery for certain “fuel-secure” resources.

    The Association said in a news release that while it agrees that the DOE’s proposed rule has raised important questions that the industry should study further, the proposed rule is ambiguous and incomplete in many respects, and unworkable in its current form.

  • Association's Hyland warns against 'reverse Robin Hood' for DERs

    By Paul Ciampoli
    APPA News Director
    Posted November 14, 2017

    When it comes to discussions about things like distributed energy resources, the smart grid and microgrids, cost and equity issues for customers cannot be left by the wayside, said Mike Hyland, the American Public Power Association’s senior vice president of engineering, on Nov. 12, at a gathering of state utility regulators in Baltimore, Md.  

    “We have to understand that we cannot continue down a path of the reverse Robin Hood,” Hyland said. “You can’t have the poor on the system paying for the rich to have solar panels on their roofs,” he said.

    Hyland was one of several participants on a panel, “Believers and Skeptics: A Debate About Distributed Energy Integration on the Distribution Grid,” at the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners’ annual meeting and education conference.

  • Budget agreement signed by Trump offers support for nuclear power

    By Paul Ciampoli
    APPA News Director
    Posted February 13, 2018

    A two-year budget deal signed by President Donald Trump on Feb. 9 includes provisions that will benefit the development of nuclear power in the U.S. including the expansion of Plant Vogtle, which is located near Waynesboro, Ga.

    Trump’s signing the budget deal formally set annual discretionary spending targets for fiscal years 2018 and 2019 and ended the second government shutdown of the year.

  • Built by bonds: Kansas utility revamps a coal plant

    By Jeannine Anderson
    APPA News Editor
    Posted August 22, 2017

    Faced with the need to add air pollution controls to its Nearman Creek coal-fired power plant or shut it down, the Board of Public Utilities in Kansas City, Kansas decided to undertake a major construction project: adding $250 million worth of air quality equipment to the 235-megawatt plant. The project was financed using tax-exempt municipal bonds.

    The project was the largest in the Kansas utility’s history, with as many as 400 construction crews onsite at times, said David Mehlhaff, chief communications officer for BPU, in an August 10 interview with the American Public Power Association.

    The BPU installed selective catalytic reduction, or SCR, technology at the Nearman plant, along with a circulating dry scrubber, powder activated carbon injection and pulse jet fabric filters. Black and Veatch was the lead engineer and construction manager.

    The upgrades were finished late last year — on schedule and slightly under budget — and the Nearman plant came back on line with the new equipment in March 2017. There were no lost-time injuries during the two-year project, Mehlhaff said.

  • Capacity additions poised for big jump[ in 2018: EIA

    By Scott Sowers
    APPA Sr Reporter
    Posted May 9, 2018

    The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) is predicting that natural gas and renewables will make up most of the 2018 electric capacity additions. The agency expects nearly 32 gigawatts (GW) of new electric generating capacity will come online in the United States in 2018, more than in any year over the past decade.

  • Company to retire Texas coal-fired plants, cites market conditions

    By Etan Howland
    Posted October 18, 2017 

    Citing poor market returns, Luminant on Oct. 13 announced plans to retire two coal-fired power plants in Texas totaling nearly 2,300 megawatts, a week after saying it would retire an 1,880-MW coal-fired plant.

  • Construction costs for utility-scale generation falls, EIA reports

    By Paul Ciampoli
    APPA News Director
    Posted July 11, 2017

    The Energy Information Administration on July 5 said that based on EIA survey data for new, utility-scale electric generators, capacity-weighted average construction costs for many generator types have fallen in recent years.

    It said that the cost of utility-scale solar photovoltaic generators fell 21% between 2013 and 2015, from $3,705/kW to $2,921/kW. More than half of the utility-scale solar photovoltaic systems installed in the U.S. track the sun through the day, and in general, those systems cost slightly more than those installed at fixed angles, the agency said in its “Today in Energy” report.

    EIA defines utility-scale generators as having a capacity greater than one megawatt.

  • Construction starts on Lansing BWL utility-scale solar project

    By Paul Ciampoli
    APPA News Director
    Posted September 1, 2017 

    Michigan’s Lansing Board of Water and Light and groSolar on Aug. 29 announced the start of construction of a utility-scale solar project in Michigan.

    The project, first announced in December 2015, was delayed because the original site proved unsuitable for construction of the project, BWL noted in a news release.

    "This solar energy project expands and diversifies our renewable energy portfolio for our customers," said BWL General Manager Richard Peffley. "Solar energy projects like this will feed directly into the BWL’s distribution system and supply power during the summer peak demand period.”

    The approximately 24-megawatt AC solar array is expected to generate approximately 45,000 megawatt-hours annually. BWL customers will receive power generated by the solar array by the summer of 2018 through a power purchase agreement between groSolar, a solar power development, engineering, procurement and construction firm, and BWL.  

    The project is estimated to create over 150 temporary full time construction jobs and generate approximately $5 million in wages, BWL noted.

  • Diverse Portfolios: The Next Generation in Electricity Generation

    By Jessica Porter
    Contributing Writer to APPA
    Posted July 14, 2017 

    As the economics of traditional power operations become more challenging, public power utilities are turning to a range of cutting-edge generation resources — from small modular reactors to renewables.

    “As community-owned utilities, our members are at ground zero for a lot of changes, from energy efficiency to decisions about decommissioning plants,” said Carolyn Slaughter, director of environmental policy at the American Public Power Association. “Our planning horizons are long-lived because we’re making the most economical decisions for operating these units. We don’t make decisions for three years; we look at 30-year horizons.”

    The Association’s Public Power Forward initiative aims to help public power utilities prepare for the new era in electricity. It includes a business, policy and technology assessment toolbox that utilities can use in their own business models to meet customer demands with next-generation energy sources.

    Given their smaller size and community connection, public power utilities are uniquely positioned to broaden their generation portfolios in response to customer preferences. Many utilities are getting at least some of their electricity from newer energy sources like solar, wind, and combined-cycle natural gas.

  • DOE directs FERC to issue rule on markets to preserve "fuel-secure" plants

    By Paul Ciampoli
    APPA News Director
    Posted October 2, 2017

    In an unusual step that could have significant implications for U.S. wholesale electricity markets, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry on Sept. 28 directed the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to issue a final rule that would require organized wholesale power markets to “develop and implement market rules that accurately price generation resources necessary to maintain the reliability and resiliency” of the country’s bulk power system.

    The Department of Energy is focused on the need to preserve “fuel-secure” generation as a way in which to guard against threats to the reliability and resiliency of the power grid and it therefore wants to allow for the recovery of costs of those units.

  • DOE official says advanced SMR's are 'potentially game changing'

    By Paul Ciampoli
    APPA News Director
    Posted February 14, 2018

    Small modular reactors were a key area of focus at a recent hearing held by the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Energy, with a Department of Energy official saying advanced SMRs are “potentially game changing.”

  • DOE proposal 'fits comfortably' within FERC reliability efforts: Chatterjee

    By Paul Ciampoli
    APPA News Director
    Posted October 19, 2017 

    A Department of Energy proposal that would require organized wholesale power markets to develop and implement market rules ensuring cost recovery for “fuel-secure” generation resources necessary to maintain the reliability and resiliency of the U.S. bulk power system “fits comfortably” within the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s reliability efforts, said FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee.

  • EIA says electricity prices reflect rising transportation costs

    By Jeannine Anderson
    APPA News Editor
    Posted September 11, 2017

    Over the past decade, retail electricity prices “have not closely followed the costs of fuels used to generate electricity, such as coal or natural gas,” mainly because of changes in the other costs involved with producing and delivering electricity in the United States, the Energy Information Administration said Sept. 7.

    Even though the cost of natural gas — one of the main fuels for producing electricity — has declined over the last 10 years, the average retail price of electricity in the U.S. has risen, the EIA said in its Today in Energy publication.

    The average retail price of electric power has gone up by about 1.5 percent a year between 2006 and 2016, about the same as the 1.6 percent per year general rate of inflation over those years, the agency said. In contrast, natural gas prices for U.S. electric generators have fallen at an average rate of 8.4 percent a year since 2006, the EIA said.

  • Exelon to retire New Jersey nuclear plant later this year

    By Paul Ciampoli
    APPA News Director
    Posted February 5, 2018

    Exelon Generation on Feb. 2 said that the Oyster Creek Generating Station, a nuclear power plant in New Jersey, will permanently shut down in October 2018, at the end of its current operating cycle.

  • Facebook to buy power from wind farm; move tied to innovative OPPD rate

    By Paul Ciampoli
    APPA News Director
    Posted October 23, 2017

    Facebook on Oct. 19 said that it has selected a new Nebraska wind project that will supply power to the social media company’s new data center in Papillion, Neb. The Omaha Public Power District played a key role in bringing the data center to Nebraska through an innovative rate plan.
  • FERC sets Oct. 23 deadline for comments on DOE proposed rule

    By Paul Ciampoli
    APPA News Director
    Posted October 4, 2017 

    The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has set a deadline of Oct. 23 for comments to be submitted to the agency on a recent Department of Energy proposal that aims to preserve “fuel-secure” generation and requires FERC to issue a related final rule.

  • Four Things That Are Killing Coal

    Click on the following link to read an article on the waning use of coal to generate electric energy: