Caithness Energy Sues PSEG for Blocking Long Island Gas-Fired Plant

Caithness Energy, a privately held company that specializes in buying or building (and operating) renewable energy and natural gas-fired power plants, owns a 350 megawatt natgas-fired power plant in Yaphank, NY–on Long Island. For more than four years Caithness has had a plan to build a second natgas-fired plant next to their first plant. The original plan was for a 750 MW plant, later scaled back to 600 MW. Local leaders in Brookhaven Town in which the existing and proposed power plant projects sit have been against the plan for a new power plant, passing restrictions in 2015 that tied the hands of Caithness, making the project impossible to build. But in July, the board reversed course and voted to repeal the 2015 restriction that limits the type of equipment Caithness can use in building the plant, clearing the way for the project (see Long Island Town Votes to Allow New Gas-Fired Elec Plant). However, the path is still not cleared. Newark, NJ-based PSEG (Public Service Enterprise Group), which provides electricity to Long Island, told the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) that the Caithness plant is not needed. It’s a case of one competitor unfairly trying to block another–according to Caithness, which has just filed a lawsuit against PSEG saying it has suffered “hundreds of millions of dollars of harm” because of PSEG’s actions to block the project. Looks like this one is going to get NY nasty…
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NY Judge Overrules DEC, Allows Gas-Fired Plant to Start Up

A new hope has emerged for Competitive Power Ventures (CPV) Valley Energy Center, a $900 million, 680-megawatt natural gas-fired electric generating plant in Orange County, NY. Last week MDN told you that at the last minute, four days before the plant was set to start up, the Andrew Cuomo-corrupted Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) pulled the ultimate dirty trick and refused to renew an air permit for the plant they previously issued five years earlier (see Cuomo Strikes Again: Blocks Completed Gas-Fired Plant from Starting). The DEC now says the plant will need a different (federal) air permit before it can start up, effectively blocking it. As we told you in a followup article, the DEC’s dirty trick left CPV with three options (see 3 Options for Blocked NY Marcellus-Fired Electric Plant). Option #2 in our list was to ask a judge to overturn the DEC’s decision (our preferred option). CPV exercised that option and yesterday the judge agreed and shut down DEC’s ability to stop the plant from starting up, which will now happen this week or early next week. Great news! However, the judge’s order is temporary, while a larger lawsuit works its way through the court system. In the meantime, CPV will start the plant, a victory for the good guys. The best part? PA Marcellus fracked gas will feed it…
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Tour of OH Gas-Fired Plant Illustrates Superiority Over Nuclear

Oregon Clean Energy Center

It’s been a year since CME Energy’s Oregon Clean Energy Center, a Utica-fired electric plant, went online in Oregon (Lucas County, near Toledo), OH (see New 870 MW Gas-Fired Electric Plant in NW Ohio Begins Operation). The plant was originally planned to generate 870 megawatts of electricity but actually generates 960 megawatts during peak times. Recently representatives of the Ohio Manufacturers’ Association took a tour of the plant–and they “liked what they saw.” What did they see? They saw a new, ultra-modern, clean-burning plant producing 960 megawatts with only 21 employees, vs. the nearby Davis-Besse nuclear plant that produces 908 megawatts using 700 employees. Oregon Clean Energy produces electricity far cheaper than Davis-Besse. Here’s what we like, a little fact that came out during the tour: During a recent 24-hour period Oregon Clean Energy purchased and used $350,000 worth of Utica Shale gas to produce those 960 megawatts. We suspect more days than not that’s how much gas the plant is using–over $300,000 worth a day. See why we’re so jazzed about gas-fired electric plants?…
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EmberClear to Pay $31M in Lieu of Taxes for Cadiz, OH Power Plant

Ever hear of a PILOT? No, not the airplane kind. A PILOT is a “payment in lieu of taxes”–a common arrangement for electric generating plants. If such plants paid property taxes at full market value, the taxes would be so insanely high the plants would be uneconomical and therefore wouldn’t get built. So PILOTs are used instead. Such an agreement was recently reached between EmberClear and Harrison County, OH. In September 2016, MDN reported that EmberClear planned to fund and build a new $900 million electric generating plant in Harrison County (see $900M Utica Gas-Fired Electric Plant Coming to Harrison County, OH). The Harrison Hills Power Plant will be fed by Utica Shale gas. EmberClear received approval for the project in June from the Ohio Power Siting Board (see Ohio Approves $900M Harrison County Power Plant in Cadiz, OH). Although construction has not yet begun, another piece of the puzzle has fallen into place. EmberClear agreed to pay $31 million in PILOT payments (i.e. taxes) over 15 years, which will help fund the Harrison Hills City School District as well as Harrison County and its municipalities. With a PILOT now in place, the plant will get built, beaucoup payments will get made, and everybody will be happy…
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CPV Floats Plan for New Marcellus-Fired Power Plant in NJ

For some reason, Competitive Power Venture (CPV) picks states that are adamantly opposed to new gas-fired electric plants as the location for new projects. We wrote yesterday about CPV’s project in Orange County, NY. With four days left before CPV was due to throw the switch and start the plant, the very corrupt Gov. Andrew Cuomo pulled the rug out from under them (see 3 Options for Blocked NY Marcellus-Fired Electric Plant). CPV already owns a gas-fired plant in Woodbridge Township (Middlesex County), NJ. CPV has just floated a plan to build a second gas-fired plant next to the existing plant in Woodbridge. Yeah, gluttons for punishment. NY and NJ are two peas in a Big Green pod. Radicalized environmentalists are already sounding the alarm about the new Woodbridge project. Here we go again…
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3 Options for Blocked NY Marcellus-Fired Electric Plant

Two days ago MDN told you that New York’s tinhorn dictator, Andrew Cuomo, pulled the rug out from under a fully-permitted and permissioned Marcellus-fired electric plant by directing his corrupt Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to withhold renewing an air permit previously granted (see Cuomo Strikes Again: Blocks Completed Gas-Fired Plant from Starting). We’ve since learned that the Competitive Power Ventures (CPV) Valley Energy Center, a $900 million, 680-megawatt natural gas-fired electric generating plant in Orange County, NY, was just four days away from throwing the switch and beginning operations. The DEC’s previous delays of the project have already cost the CPV $40 million in missed revenue. How much more pain will Cuomo and his corrupt DEC inflict on the plant? And, what can CPV do now, to overcome Cuomo’s blockage of the project? It appears there are three options: (1) contest the decision via an administrative appeals process; (2) seek a court injunction against the DEC; (3) apply for an EPA permit, which is what the DEC is telling them to do. All three options will take time. Seems to us that option #2 will take the least amount of time. CPV is right now mulling their next steps…
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Cuomo Strikes Again: Blocks Completed Gas-Fired Plant from Starting

Andrew Cuomo is a tinhorn dictator who must be stopped (politically). NOW. Competitive Power Ventures (CPV) Valley Energy Center is a $900 million, 680-megawatt natural gas-fired electric generating plant in Orange County, NY (near the Hudson River). The plant is fully built, and the Millennium pipeline now flows Marcellus gas to it (see Millennium Lateral Pipe to NY Gas-Fired Elec Plant Begins Service). Valley Energy Center is tested, vetted, and ready to start producing electricity. But at the last minute, Cuomo pulled strings with his lapdog head of the Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC), Basil Seggos, and the DEC has rejected renewing an air permit for the facility. The DEC, using trickery and doublespeak, now says the project must file for a different kind of air permit, called a Title V Clean Air Act permit, which requires additional mountains of paperwork and (most importantly for Big Green radicals), more time for “public input”–including at least 45 days for review by the U.S. EPA. Why didn’t the DEC require that permit from the start? Why sandbag the project and wait until they’re ready to flip the switch, and then tell them “wrong permit”? This is an underhanded, dirty trick. It is corrupt. And it is Andrew Cuomo at the center of it…
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WV Close to Starting Construction on First Natgas-Fired Plant

For years Energy Solutions Consortium (ESC) has been trying to build several natural gas-fired electric plants in West Virginia, but have been prevented from doing so by Big Coal lawsuits. We recently wrote about this issue, naming names (see OVJA Exposed as Front for Murray Energy Blocking Gas-Fired Plants). It’s understandable that coal doesn’t want to give up its virtual monopoly on electric generation in the Mountain State. Some 95% of all electricity produced in the state comes from coal-fired plants. Last year then-WV Sec. of Commerce Woody Thrasher observed that Ohio has built 19 new gas-fired power plants, and Pennsylvania has built 22 new gas-fired power plants, while WV has built NONE. Why not? Because of Robert Murray, CEO and founder of Murray Energy, one of the largest independent coal mine operators in the U.S. Bob Murray is using a front organization called Ohio Valley Jobs Alliance (OVJA) to file a blizzard of frivolous lawsuits that have kept all new gas-fired plant projects from being built in WV. The best chance ESC has in building its first gas-fired plant is in Harrison County. Only one roadblock remains–an OVJA challenge to the project’s air permit previously granted by the West Virginia Air Quality Board. Kind of ironic that Big Coal is challenging an air permit for far-cleaner-burning natural gas. Coal pollutes the air way more than natural gas. The WV Supreme Court hears challenges to these kinds of permits. The paperwork has been filed with the high court. Once the court accepts and hears the case, which ESC thinks will be early fall, and the air permit is upheld, the first shovel of dirt will fly to build the $880 million Harrison County Power Station. An ESC rep recently updated Harrison County officials and labor union members about the status of the project…
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Dominion Energy 2Q18: Cove Point, SCANA, ACP & More

There is a LOT going on at Dominion Energy that impacts the Marcellus/Utica region. Yesterday Dominion posted its second quarter 2018 update and held a conference call with investors to discuss what happened during 2Q18, and what to expect in coming quarters. Discussed on the call: (1) The Cove Point LNG export plant went online in 2Q18 and so far has shipped 19 cargoes of LNG–60 billion cubic feet of gas! (2) The $1.3 billion Greensville County, VA gas-fired electric plant is 95% built and will go online later this year. (3) The Atlantic Coast Pipeline and Supply Header Project is under construction and on track to be online by fourth quarter of 2019. (4) The SCANA Corporation merger is moving along, and a big decision from a judge is coming by Aug. 7 about whether or not SC can unilaterally force SCANA to lower electric rates by 15%. If the judge tosses that law and the 15% price reduction is out, the merger is in. If the price reduction stays, the merger is (our conclusion) questionable. Yeah, there’s a lot going on. Below are excerpts from the quarterly conference call, the full 2Q18 update, and the latest slide deck…
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Macquarie Sells NJ Gas-Fired Plant Powering NYC for $900M

Macquarie Infrastructure Corporation, part of Macquarie Bank, is selling 100% of the Bayonne Energy Center (BEC) gas-fired power plant in Bayonne, New Jersey for $900 million to an unnamed buyer. BEC is a 644 megawatt gas-fired electric generation plant constructed in 2012 and expanded earlier this year. BEC distributes power into New York City via a cable that runs from Bayonne, NJ beneath New York Harbor to a substation in Brooklyn. Macquarie bought the plant in 2015 for $720 million, and now they’re flipping it, making $180 million in the process. Which we suppose is good news for Macquarie. But also somewhat strange–at least to us layman. In 2016, Macquarie bought most of the Lordstown Energy Center plant in Trumbull County, OH (see Lordstown, OH Gas-Powered Electric Plant Gets New Owners). And they continue to invest in other such projects. Yet now Macquarie is selling this gas-fired plant serving the largest city in the U.S. Our interest, as usual, lies in what gas powers the plant. We speculate that most, if not all, comes from the PA Marcellus…
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Squabbling Over 2nd Lordstown Utica-Fired Elec Plant Near an End

There is an ongoing legal squabble in Trumbull County, OH over a proposed second Utica gas-fired electric plant in Lordstown. Clean Energy Future (CEF) is currently building the Lordstown Energy Center, and has been since June 2016 (see Lordstown Energy Center Breaks Ground on $890M Electric Plant). That project is 95% built. CEF proposed, and got the Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) to approve, plans to build a second Utica-fired plant next door to the first (see Ohio Approves 2 Utica-Fired Power Plants in Guernsey, Trumbull Counties). As is typically the case, CEF (the builder) sold most of the first project to investors. In this case the new majority owner for the first power plant is Macquarie, an international investment firm. CEF sued Macquarie last September saying Macquarie is preventing CEF from building the second plant. Macquarie says if a second plant gets built in the same location, the first plant (now owned by Macquarie) will take a $6.7 million hit on earnings each year. Macquarie wants CEF to pay them that amount annually when/if the second plant gets built. To which CEF says, “They’re looking for an extortion payment.” Even though the legal wrangling continues, it’s now close to resolution. Trumbull County Court ruled in favor of CEF, instructing Macquarie to sign paperwork allowing the second plant to get built, and to sell property owned by the first plant to the second plant (as provided for under the original contract). Macquarie has refused to sell the land. CEF has asked the court to find them in contempt and make them sell. CEF also wants Macquarie to pay them $130 million for delaying the second project for more than a year…
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Forced Rolling Blackouts Come to California – Lack of NatGas

Although this story concerns California, it is a preview of what’s coming to New England. Because of ongoing record-high heat in Cali, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) is telling residents to either “voluntarily” stop using electricity, or DWP is going to cut electricity to different communities on a rolling blackout basis. The cancer of anti-fossil fuel hatred has more fully metastasized in Cali than elsewhere in the country, and therefore Cali is an instructive case study. California, if it were it’s own country (now there’s a thought!), would be the fifth-largest economy in the world–larger than the United Kingdom, India and Brazil. Cali is the third largest consumer of gasoline and diesel on the planet, behind only China and the United States. And yet Cali persists in blocking new gas-fired electric plants, blocking pipelines, and shutting down existing oil and gas drilling. They are, in a word, insane. And now their insanity is on display for the world to see. Because of the heat wave and lack of natural gas supplies, natgas prices in Cali have zoomed to nearly $40/Mcf (thousand cubic feet). Residents now face either “voluntary” reduction in electric use–or forced blackouts. We take no pleasure (well, maybe a little pleasure) in saying Cali is reaping what it has sown…
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Huge Pieces of Hickory Run Power Plant Arrive in Port of Erie

Calypso Sal – the ship delivering Hickory Run parts at Port of Erie

In February 2013 MDN told you about a plan to build the Hickory Run Energy Center–a $750 million electric generating plant at a former manufacturing site in New Castle (Lawrence County), PA (see NW PA Town Approves Site for Marcellus-powered Electric Plant). Original plans called for Hickory Run to be online and operating sometime in 2016. That never happened and the project seemed to have died. But then the project got sold by LS Power, the original owner, to a subsidiary of Japan’s second largest corporation, ITOCHU Corporation. And new life was breathed into the project. The initial design called for a 900 megawatt facility, powered by Marcellus gas. More recent plans indicate the facility will be 1,000 megawatts (or 1 gigawatt), enough electricity to power 1 million homes! Ground was broken for Hickory Run last year (see Ground Broken for Lawrence County, PA NatGas-Fired Electric Plant?). Fast forward to this year. A massive load of components for the plant arrived by ship at the Port of Erie on Sunday. It is by far the largest ship to dock at the port in the last five years. Aboard the ship are more than 13 million tons of components and parts destined for the plant. Special permits and trucks will be required to get the equipment on location some 100 miles away in New Castle…
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Marcellus-Fired Panda Hummel PA Power Plant Now “Complete”

It takes a long time to build a natural gas-fired electric power plant–especially a big one. We began writing about one of the largest coal-to-gas conversion projects in the country, happening in the heart of PA Marcellus country, back in February 2014 (see Panda Power Building 3rd Marcellus-Fired Electric Plant in PA). Panda Power Funds, a private equity firm located in Dallas, TX announced a partnership with Sunbury Generation to build a whopping 1,124-megawatt Marcellus gas-fired electric plant on the site of a retired coal-fired plant near Shamokin Dam in Snyder County, PA. In early April final testing was underway at the facility, and it was supposed to go online in May (see Marcellus-Fired Panda Hummel Electric Plant Roars to Life in PA). Did it actually go online in May? We don’t know and we don’t spot any stories announcing it as online. However, the main contractor building the project, Bechtel, issued a press release last week to announced that the the Hummel Station Power Plant is now “completed.” Done. Finished. We suspect that also means it’s now online. The newly minted plant will provide enough electricity to power more than 1 million homes, using Marcellus gas…
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Lordstown 2nd Gas-Fired Plant in Jeopardy from Trump Policy

The outspoken Bill Siderewicz, builder of a string of gas-fired electric generating plants in Ohio and elsewhere, is (surprise!) speaking out. Siderewicz, president of Boston-based Clean Energy Future, is the builder of the Lordstown Energy Center in Trumbull County, a project begun in 2016 and now nearing completion (see Lordstown Energy Center Breaks Ground on $890M Electric Plant). The plant will generate 940 megawatts of electricity when it goes online. In addition to the Lordstown plant, Siderewicz has plans to build a second plant right next to the first. Except maybe now it won’t get built. President Trump’s Dept. of Energy, under Secretary Rick Perry, is hellbent on devising a scheme to “protect” coal-fired and nuclear electric generating plants–in the name of grid resiliency and national security. It’s bogus. We’ve previously written that we do not support it. Neither does Siderewicz. He calls Trump’s energy policy “un-American,” and said, “Everyone [who] has an IQ of more than 25 is upset about this.” Ouch. Tell us what you really think, Bill! The reason he’s upset: If you make the electricity market noncompetitive by favoring certain types of energy sources, there are consequences. Plants like the second Lordstown Energy Center, and the close-to-one billion dollars it takes to build it (and the tax revenues that flow from it) won’t materialize. If you favor coal and nukes, making their more expensive form of electricity artificially cheaper (by using government subsidies), then those who compete freely, like Siderewicz, can no longer compete. The markets are not truly free. And people like Siderewicz decide to not build these important projects…
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PA’s Largest Gas-Fired Electric Plant near Scranton Partially Online

Lackawanna Energy Center – click for larger version

It’s been some time since we’ve checked in on Invenergy’s massive Lackawanna Energy Center, a 1,480 megawatt plant under construction in Jessup, PA (near Scranton). The project will cost “well over $1 billion” according to an exclusive MDN source working on the project. When the plant is done it will be Pennsylvania’s largest natural gas-fired electric generating plant. The plant is being built in three trains or units. The good news is that the first train/unit is done and has been online producing electricity since June–despite the efforts of a local group of antis who seized power of the local town board last November (see Jessup Town Board Continues Effort to Stop Gas-Fired Elec Plant). Cabot Oil & Gas is supplying all of the gas for the plant from neighboring Susquehanna County. The second unit is in the process of going online now, and the third will be online in September. According to Invenergy, the plant is on time and under budget. Here’s more on this exciting new customer for a huge quantity of northeastern PA Marcellus gas…
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