Clean Power Plan: Latest News to Know

Hawaiian Industries to Increase Clean Electricity Production Following Merger

On December 3rd, NextEra Energy, Inc. and Hawaiian Electric Industries (HEI) announced an agreement under which the companies agreed to combine. The transaction is valued at approximately $4.3 billion.  Jim Robo, chairman and chief executive officer of NextEra Energy, commented on the transaction, stating that the companies have “a shared vision to bring cleaner, renewable energy to Hawaii, while at the same time helping to reduce energy costs for HEI’s customers.”  While compliance with the proposed Clean Power Plan was not listed in the official statement as a reason for the merger, it is a driver for the desire to produce cleaner energy.

NextEra Energy has two primary subsidiaries, Florida Power & Light Company (FLP) and NextEra Energy Resources, LLC.  NextEra Energy Resources is the largest generator of wind and solar powered electricity in the United States and FPL has expressed that it will be better positioned to meet the requirements of the CPP than other Florida utilities because of its reliance on natural gas and nuclear generation.

Hawaii has few indigenous fossil fuel resources, which has led to heavy utility dependence on imported oil and renewable energy for electricity generation. The state is required by the EPA to reduce its CO2 emissions by 10% from 2005 levels by 2030.  HEI’s reduction strategy includes increasing renewables to 65 percent, tripling their installed solar capacity and lowering customer bills 20 percent during this timeframe. While their goals are lofty, leveraging NextEra’s expertise in renewables and financial resources may help set them on an expedited path to achieving them.

For more information: http://www.nexteraenergy.com/news/contents/2014/120314.shtml

Will Pepco-Exelon Merger Help Mid-Atlantic States Meet CPP Requirements?

On November 20th, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved a proposed merger between Exelon Corporation and Pepco Holdings, Inc.  Exelon’s subsidiaries include Commonwealth Edison, Baltimore Gas and Electric Company and Philadelphia Electric Company while Pepco Holdings owns Pepco, Atlantic City Electric and Delmarva Power.  The merger is valued at $6.8 billion.

Before the deal concludes, it has to be approved by Pepco shareholders, the US Department of Justice, and the public service commissions in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia.  To date, just the Virginia State Corporation Commission and the Pepco shareholders have approved the transaction, and some state organizations are raising concerns.

The combined company will have a significant economic influence on states across the county, particularly in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic, and stands to play a role in shaping their energy policies and Clean Air Act 111(d) compliance plans.  Paula Carmody of the Maryland People’s Council said in a statement that “Such an acquisition would allow Exelon to exercise undue influence and control over regulated electric service and retail electric company policies in most of the State of Maryland.”  If the merger were to go through, Exelon would be responsible for delivering electricity to 80 percent of Maryland’s customers.

While some parties are concerned, others are more supportive.  Exelon is better positioned financially to improve Pepco’s deteriorating infrastructure and has already agreed to provide $100 million for initiatives that will directly benefit Pepco customers, including introducing more energy efficiency measures.

Energy efficiency improvements within Pepco’s service territory would be one mechanism for state compliance with the Clean Power Plan.  Exelon will also be in the position to determine which companies it purchases electricity from, ultimately having some influence over which type of generation is used to produce electricity for the current Pepco customers.  Whether its focus is directed towards energy efficiency or increasing the prevalence of renewable generation sources, Exelon’s increased presence across multiple states raises potential difficulties and new opportunities in compliance with multiple Clean Power Plan state implementation plans.

For more information: http://www.baltimoresun.com/business/bs-bz-opc-exelon-merger-20141209-story.html

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