Articles filed under Energy Policy from New York
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."'
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
The five-member commission next month has a key decision to make: whether to allow a large Spanish energy company, Iberdrola, to buy Energy East, the corporation that owns Rochester Gas and Electric Corp. and New York State Electric and Gas, which between them serve 1.3 million upstate homes, farms and businesses. Price tag: $4.5 billion. The staff of the commission has recommended that the board turn thumbs down, partly because it would give one company control of not only the wires and pipes that carry gas and electricity to customers but also some power plants and other facilities that generate the electricity. "Full divestiture of all the generation Iberdrola and Energy East own, and their complete exit from the generation business in New York, is needed to fully protect ratepayers from the pernicious effects of vertical market power,'" according to a staff report on the plan.
A $4.5 billion deal to buy the parent of Rochester Gas and Electric Corp. could sink if a state agency continues with its demands. Almost a year after the deal was proposed, Department of Public Service staffers continue to mull the sale of Energy East Corp. to Spanish utility giant Iberdrola SA, even after other governments have approved the deal and moved on. A key step in the New York process could come by the end of the week, when an administrative law judge for the Department of Public Service might issue his recommendation.
Most New Yorkers could care less about a ruling that an administrative law judge could make on the Iberdrola-Energy East merger as early as Friday. But the decision could have huge implications for upstate New Yorkers and their energy usage. ...Staff at the department, who provide guidance and recommendations to the five-person Public Service Commission that must ultimately approve or deny the merger, have argued that the deal does not provide the public with enough benefits and that it could cause disruption to the state's wholesale electric market. Agency staff believe Iberdrola will hold too much sway over the state's wholesale electric market if it owns a substantial amount of generation in the state, which is why the company has been pushed to sell Energy East's power plants and divest itself of its wind business in New York.
The town of Cherry Valley's Citizens Committee on Renewable and Alternative Energy is sponsoring a presentation next week by town of Caroline supervisor Don Barber. Caroline town officials have put together a proposal to build a 10-turbine, 2.5 mega-watt generating facility that would be financed, owned and operated by the town. The town would issue bonds to finance the project, and once those bonds are paid off, revenue generated by the turbines could be used to reduce property taxes. ...The smaller scale would address some of the residents' concerns about the visual impact of the industrialscale turbines, Garretson said.
Wind energy is not a local issue. Small towns and schools don't have the high-priced lawyers and experts to evaluate a project or fight on their behalf when payment in lieu of taxes agreements are inked. Nor do they have jurisdiction on projects that might be just over the town or district line. Before New York began its push for renewable energy, it should have funded objective research into the proper siting of wind towers. Surely somewhere between 1,000 feet and 1 1/2 miles is a setback that most people and wind energy companies can live with. ...State lawmakers manage to issue a press release on every headline of the day, from sex offender registries to a proposal for a gas-tax holiday. They are strangely silent on the gradual, haphazard implementation of wind utilities across the state. The time of leadership has come and nearly gone.
Supervisor Frank Duserick said the town of Naples is investigating what legal standing it may have to protest the placement of wind turbines planned for neighboring Prattsburgh. "We're not against wind towers," Duserick said. "But we are for appropriate placement of towers. Our concern is they should have put them a minimum of 1,500 feet from the town line." Ecogen of West Seneca, near Buffalo, has proposed building up to 53 turbines - though the number could fall to 31 if it switches from a 1.5 to 2.5-megawatt model - in Prattsburgh in 2009.
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer urged the staff of the New York Public Service Commission to back off its demand that Iberdrola SA sell its wind-energy assets and forgo developing any new wind power in the state as a condition of buying Energy East Corp. ...The recommendation that Iberdrola be required to give up its interests in wind generation facilities was part of a 41-page staff brief issued Friday. Denn said the staff is trying to make sure Iberdrola doesn't monopolize the wind energy market in New York. The PSC staff has argued that if the utility is allowed to retain its wind generation capabilities, it will engage in anti-competitive practices.
Spanish firm Iberdrola threatened to walk away from Energy East Corp. Iberdrola SA's Albany officials said the company will halt its $4.5 billion acquisition of Energy East Corp. if state regulators continue to require the sale of wind-farm assets in New York. The New York Public Service Commission is at odds with Iberdrola over the final regulatory deal, the Times Union reported. "We do deals that make sense," he said. "We do deals that are good for the shareholders. If we can't achieve those goals, we don't do the deals," said Pedro Azagra, Iberdrola's corporate development director.
In court briefs filed earlier this week before Administrative Law Judge Rafael Epstein, staff of the Department of Public Service argued that if Iberdrola is allowed to continue to own wind energy farms within the electrical service territories it would acquire from Energy East Corp. it could enable Iberdrola to exert "vertical market power" over the price of wholesale electricity generated by wind farms in that area. Independent Power Producers of New York President Gavin Donohue said Friday he agrees with the staff of the state Department of Public Service and their objections. "They're not saying Iberdrola can't own wind farms in New York state, they're saying they can't own them in their service territory. They can own them ... in the other utility areas. That's a big distinction," Donohue said. "The reason you can't own [a wind farm] in your own service territory, from our perspective, is you control the transmission and distribution systems."
It appears that wind energy is still holding up Iberdrola SA's $4.5 billion acquisition of Energy East Corp. In briefs filed this week, the staff at the state Public Service Commission continues to demand that Iberdrola sell off its interests in wind farms in New York as part of its deal to acquire Energy East, which has 1.4 million customers in upstate New York through its Rochester Gas & Electric and New York State Electric & Gas subsidiaries. The staff at the PSC makes recommendations to the five voting commissioners who must ultimately approve the merger. Iberdrola has already received all of the necessary state and federal approvals it needs, except for the PSC's blessing. From the start, the PSC staff has opposed the deal on a number of fronts, and Iberdrola has offered concessions -- except when it comes to the wind generation business.
State Department of Agriculture and Markets law dictates that Dr. Daniel Melamed can have a wind turbine to produce power for his goat and sheep farm and the only aspect related to the apparatus that town officials can regulate is the height. That is the message attorney Robert Fitzsimmons conveyed to the town's Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) at an April 8 special meeting called to review Dr. Melamed's area variance application and supporting documentation for relief from the town zoning law's 75-foot-height limit. The meeting was also a continued public hearing on the matter. ...Farmer Ed Hull, Dr. Melamed's neighbor, said he did not understand why the doctor could not install more solar panels to produce more power instead of installing a wind turbine. Mr. Hull said he feared the noise and vibration from the wind turbine would present health risks to him and his family. "I live right across [from the wind turbine site]. Does one farmer trump another farmer? What if there are ill effects? Can you guarantee there will be no effects to myself or my family?" questioned Mr. Hull.