Library filed under Energy Policy from New York
Energy expert Glenn Schleede provides an important analysis on why Iberdrola is insisting it continue to own "wind farms" in NY should it gain approval to acquire Energy East and its electric and gas distribution subsidiaries. Mr. Schleede explains the risks to New York's taxpayers and electric customers if Iberdrola get what it wants.
The company's president also said during an analysts' conference call that Iberdrola will walk away from the Energy East bid if the New York Public Service Commission mandates that the company must give up its plans to build wind-turbine farms in New York while owning Energy East subsidiaries RG&E and New York State Electric and Gas. "We have gone to the United States with the fundamental priority of building renewable energy, fundamentally wind power, and if they put any limitation on that, we'll say no," Chairman Ignacio Sanchez Galan told analysts today.
Lawyers for Iberdrola SA are pushing the Public Service Commission to vote on the proposed $4.5 billion merger with Energy East Corp. before its next meeting, which is scheduled for Aug. 20. The Spanish utility has made a well-publicized bid for Maine-based Energy East, which has 1.3 million customers in upstate New York through its Rochester Gas & Electric and New York State Electric & Gas subsidiaries. The PSC has been considering the merger for 12 months ...Galan also said that Iberdrola will not accept any regulatory limits on its ability to build or own wind farms in New York.
At least two companies are interested in offshore wind development in New York's Great Lakes waters - BQ Energy, which developed Lackawanna's Steel Winds, and AWS Truewind. "I don't think it's inevitable, but I think it's very likely," said Bruce Bailey, AWS Truewind's president. There are significant obstacles and unknowns. ...Installing wind turbines in water can be at least twice as expensive because of the cost of mobilizing marine crews, the specialized nature of the installation equipment and the turbines and the need to move the power onshore, experts say. And that doesn't factor in what would be necessary to deal with the ice that often covers the eastern end of Lake Erie in winter.
Iberdrola SA says that if the Public Service Commission does not approve its $4.5 billion acquisition of Energy East Corp., it will look elsewhere to make the $2 billion in wind-farm investments it plans for New York. "Then Iberdrola would not view New York as a state with an attractive regulatory environment in which to target future investment," the company said in filing Thursday with the PSC. "In that event, Iberdrola would seek to redirect its resources from New York to other locations." Iberdrola's remarks are the latest -- and perhaps the last -- that it will make officially...
The staff of the state Public Service Commission has again advised its five-member board to disapprove the $4.5 billion sale of Energy East Corp. to Iberdrola SA, but staffers have added a big "however" on wind farms. In a brief filed in the long-running case, the PSC staff has offered alternatives if the five public service commissioners approve the sale, according to James Denn, PSC spokesman. Iberdrola, the European utility giant and global leader in wind turbine farms, would be allowed to own and operate wind farms within Energy East territory, but with public benefits attached to the agreement.
The administrative law judge, Rafael Epstein, arguing in his recommended decision that if the wind projects Iberdrola is considering make economic sense, the company likely would build them regardless of whether the merger goes through. And if not Iberdrola, then another wind power developer probably will. [Iberdrola's director of corporate development Pedro] Azagra, however, points out that while the state has as much as 7,000 megawatts of wind power projects on the drawing board, very few of those have actually been built. Iberdrola, he notes, has the financial clout to do it and is the world's largest owner of wind power projects.
Some business leaders and politicians are upset that a state agency is putting roadblocks in the way of a merger between a Spanish power company and RG&E's parent company. ...The PSC staff and the judge are just doing their jobs - to independently review whether the transaction is in the public interest - and politicians shouldn't criticize their recommendations, says Fairport resident Charles Straka. He's not involved with the merger case, but he is an unpaid representative of the average customer - an intervener in technical terms - in an ongoing RG&E rate case. And much of his interest in the merger deals with competition and its effect on rates. "If the Public Service Commission process is overruled, who's going to control rates at all?" he says.
A Rochester-area Democrat is joining state Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno in calling for reform of the Public Service Commission. ...Morelle and Bruno expressed outrage this week when an administrative law judge urged the PSC to place significant conditions on Spanish utility Iberdrola SA in its $4.5 billion acquisition of Energy East Corp. ..."Over the last 12 years, New York's energy industry has gone through a massive and unprecedented restructuring designed by bureaucrats without a single legislative act," he said.
Public Service Commission Chairman Garry Brown has agreed to meet with U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer about Iberdrola SA's $4.5 billion acquisition of Energy East Corp. Schumer wrote Brown a letter yesterday requesting the meeting, saying he was upset with an administrative law judge's recommended decision in the case earlier in the week. The judge, Rafael Epstein, had recommended that Brown and the commission's four other members only approve the [Iberdrola] deal with significant conditions ...
Spanish utility Iberdrola SA will reconsider its proposed acquisition of Energy East Corp. should New York regulators "impose unacceptable" conditions on the deal, the company said. The company's statement comes a day after Administrative Law Judge Rafael Epstein recommended that the Public Service Commission not approve the deal. The proposal, he wrote, "does not satisfy the 'public interest' requirement of Public Service Law."
The Marble River 229-megawatt wind project in upstate New York was approved by the state utility regulator on Wednesday, said its owners, AES-Acciona Energy NY and Horizon Wind. By the time it goes into operation by the end of 2009, it will be the second-largest wind farm in the state. The 320-MW Maple Ridge project in Lewis County is the biggest in the state. The wind farm near Clinton and Ellenburg in Clinton County will have 109 wind turbines, each 2.1-MW in capacity, with some blades towering 407 feet (124 meters).
An administrative law judge advised state regulators on Monday to block a Spanish energy conglomerate's bid to buy Energy East, a Maine-based utility with operations in four states, including New York, citing anticompetitive concerns. ...regulators say that the merger would give Iberdrola a virtual monopoly on wind power generation in the state while also providing the company with transmission and distribution lines, running afoul of state laws that prevent the generation, transmission and distribution of power by a single company. In his decision, Epstein noted that "Iberdrola's wind generation ownership also has engendered an unusual amount of commentary by editorial boards and public officials, uniformly opposing ownership restrictions as contrary to the state's interests and even 'stone-headed."'
A state judge is recommending that state regulators turn down Iberdrola SA's proposed $4.5 billion buyout of Energy East Corp., saying terms of the deal aren't in the public interest. ...Epstein's decision, which isn't binding, recommends further conditions should the PSC OK the deal, including requiring Iberdrola to sell wind-turbine generators in New York state to prevent any possibility of electricity price manipulation.
The Department of Public Service law judge, Rafael Epstein, picked apart the proposed $4.5 billion deal between Iberdrola SA and Energy East, writing that the commission should disapprove the transaction "on the ground that it does not satisfy the 'public-interest' requirement of Public Service Law." But if the commission does approve the sale of Energy East, there are pre-conditions that should be met, he wrote. They include forcing Iberdrola to sell its wind power plants in New York, to agree to $646 million in public-benefit adjustments, and to abide by safeguards and rate proceedings as proposed by the PSC staff.
Administrative Law Judge, Rafael A. Epstein has handed down his recommended decision on whether Iberdrola, S.A. should be permitted to acquireEnergy East Corporation and its subsidiaries. Judge Epstein's primary recommendation is that the Commission "disapprove the transaction on the ground that it does not satisfy the "public interest" requirement of Public Service Law (PSL) 70. The full decision can be downloaded by clicking on the link below.
One of the world's largest energy companies proposed on Tuesday to build hundreds of wind turbines in New York, significantly raising the stakes in a nine-month battle with state regulators over its intended purchase of a power company. ...James Denn, a spokesman for the commission, said the added investment would not allay the commission's concern, adding, "On this deal, [Iberdrola] would be able to produce, transmit, and distribute power within their region." . Mr. Denn also noted that Iberdrola had not formally submitted the new proposal to the commission; the current plan has the company making only a binding commitment of $100 million worth of investment in the state.
The Spanish company that wants to buy the parent of Rochester Gas and Electric Corp. promised Tuesday to spend $2 billion on renewable energy facilities in New York if state regulators approve the takeover. Iberdrola SA is known as the world's leading developer of wind farms, and it wants to build more of them in New York over the next five years. Joined by several politicians for a news conference at the Capitol, company officials sought to sway the state Public Service Commission, whose approval is needed for the $4.5 billion purchase of Energy East Corp.
Spanish utility giant Iberdrola wants to invest $2 billion developing wind power farms across New York state, the company said today. But that funding hinges on the state Public Service Commission's acceptance of the Iberdrola's proposed purchase of Energy East Corp. (NYSE: EAS) and its 63,000 customers in the Albany, N.Y., area. Iberdrola's $4.5 billion acquisition of Energy East was announced last June. Now, Iberdrola, which is the second-largest wind energy operator in the country, appears to be upping the ante. Earlier, it had committed to at least $100 million in renewable energy investments in New York.
Determining which way the wind blows has rarely been as important to a politician as it is to Gov. David Paterson. Paterson's ambitious goal of increasing renewable energy to 25 percent of New York's power by 2013 will hinge on wind turbines. Since most of New York's renewable energy comes from hydroelectric power plants with little capacity to grow, and the pace of growth in solar energy has gone at less than light speed, with only 15 megawatts of installed capacity to date, the wind industry will likely account for most of the desired growth in so-called clean energy. Local companies like AWS Truewind and MSE Power Systems, both founded in Albany, are poised to profit from New York's promotion of wind energy.