All posts by Adam McGill

Luminant Announces the Acquisition of the La Frontera Portfolio from NextEra Energy Resources

Combined-cycle gas turbine assets add to the company’s increasingly diverse energy portfolio


DALLAS – November 27, 2015 – Furthering its commitment to powering Texas and serving its customers, Luminant announced today it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire generating assets representing 2,988 MW of capacity in the competitive ERCOT market.

Luminant has agreed to purchase NextEra’s La Frontera portfolio, which consists of Forney Energy Center and Lamar Energy Center, both located in Northeast Texas. La Frontera’s generating capacity has the ability to power about 1.5 million homes during normal conditions.

“These plants are strategic investments that enhance our asset portfolio while building on our existing operations in ERCOT,” said Luminant Chief Executive Officer Mac McFarland.

Luminant adds these combined-cycle gas turbine power plants to an already diverse energy portfolio that includes coal, natural gas and nuclear power, as well as significant purchases of wind-generated electricity and a recently announced solar power purchase agreement.

La Frontera Fact Sheet

 

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POV: Power Breakfast

Power Breakfast for Nov. 2, 2015

TPPF on Texas and the CPP; Slate looks at offshore wind; Ted Koppel looks at cybersecurity


POV: Power Breakfast

A nearly daily update of energy-related news:

  • In an opinion piece in the Austin American Statesman, Chuck DeVore (a vice president with the Texas Public Policy Foundation) writes that Texas is justified in opposing the Administration’s Clean Power Plan. Among myriad reasons for this opposition, DeVore opines that the Clean Power Plan could potentially increase retail electricity rates while being largely ineffective in slowing or reversing the impacts of climate change.
  • While wind power continues to gain acceptance (including, notably, in Texas), Slate observes that the U.S. lags in offshore wind power generation. Now, however, the U.S. is building its first offshore wind farm, off the coast of Rhode Island.
  • Former ABC newscaster Ted Koppel picks up the ongoing discussion concerning a cyber defense plan for the U.S. that includes robust protections for the electric power industry. Koppel writes, “Multiple sources in the intelligence community and the military tell me that Russia and China have already embedded cyber-capabilities within our electrical systems that would enable them to take down all or large parts of a grid.”
POV: Power Breakfast

Power Breakfast for Oct. 29, 2015

Natural gas prices and its effects; cyber vulnerabilities; renewables' growth


POV: Power Breakfast

A nearly daily round-up of energy-related news:

  • The Washington Post takes a deep dive into how persistently low natural gas prices are impacting the US’ overall fuel mix. Specifically – even setting aside the impact of the Clean Power Plan – power plants are increasingly switching to low-priced natural gas as the fuel of choice.
  • The US energy grid is increasingly vulnerable to cyber attacks, according to a review of recent Congressional reports, industry experts, and investigations. In summarizing the state of play, The Daily Caller writes that, “Despite years of effort from various federal agencies, many utilities still don’t even have staff members dedicated to cyber security and have to either hire outside help or simply not secure their networks.”
  • North American Clean Energy finds that renewable energy sources accounted for more than 60% of the 7,276 MW of new electrical generation placed in service in the United States during the first nine months of 2015. This data-point would seem to affirm the growing influence of renewable energy as an integral part of the nation’s fuel mix.
POV: Power Breakfast

Power Breakfast for Oct. 28, 2015

Distributed generation: Texas vs. California; windy times in ERCOT; environmental groups support EPA's CPP


POV: Power Breakfast

A nearly daily round-up of energy-related news:

  • FuelFix reports on the recent issuance of a Pew Charitable Trusts’ report that Texas is poised to rival California in the development and use of distributed generation, which includes wind and solar power as well as related power sources like combined heat and power and waste heat to power. The report highlights that, “Distributed generation is not a passing fad, and new technologies pose significant challenges to long-standing business models.”
  • For the second time in the last month, ERCOT has set a record for wind generation. The generation peak reached 12,238 MW, making up more than a third of the grid operator’s load. All total, wind generation at the peak met 36.83% of ERCOT’s demand.
  • In the wake of several high-profile lawsuits challenging the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, environmental groups yesterday made a move yesterday to defend the Plan. Specifically, nine environmental and health groups are asking a federal court to let them help the Obama administration defend its climate change regulation for power plants.
POV: Power Breakfast

Power Breakfast for Oct. 21, 2015

Demand response case in the highest court; Texans' complaints at lowest levels since '02; NRDC weighs in on CPP


POV: Power Breakfast

A nearly daily round-up of energy-related news:

  • The Washington Post examines the electricity innovation case , “so controversial that it’s now before the Supreme Court.”  The case involves the complex intersection of demand response programs with FERC regulation and, in particular, the propriety of FERC’s overview of demand response programs that have historically been the exclusive domain of state regulators.
  • Texans appear to be happier than ever with their retail electricity providers, as reported by the Texas Tribune.  Complaints filed with regulators about electric companies and utilities this year fell to their lowest level since the state deregulated its power market in 2002, according to the analysis by the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power.
  • In a sign of continuing disagreement over the impact of the Clean Power Plan, the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) wrote that – while coal plants may close as a result of the Plan — wind and solar power and energy efficiency will more than make up for any shuttered plants.  The NRDC observes that, “Despite the headlines, a close look at ERCOT’s report confirms that Texas should have no problem meeting the Clean Power Plan’s carbon pollution limits.”
POV: Power Breakfast

Power Breakfast for Oct. 20, 2015

Fixed costs possible increase; P&G turns to wind power; certain companies' commitment to reducing carbon emissions


POV: Power Breakfast

A nearly daily round-up of energy-related news for your consideration:

  • The Wall Street Journal reports that utilities — because the grid is becoming a more “complex machine — are seeking to increase their monthly fees by double-digit percentages, raising them to $25 or more a month regardless of the amount of power consumers use. The utilities argue that the fees should cover a bigger proportion of the fixed costs of the electric grid, including maintenance and repairs.
  • Consumer products giant Procter & Gamble is turning to wind power for of its North American plants that manufacture home care and fabric products.  To do so, P&G is teaming with EDF Renewable Energy to build a wind farm in Texas.  It is the Company’s biggest foray into wind power and, as The New York Times writes, represents an effort to, “garner good will with environmentally conscious consumers at a time when personal care companies are under more pressure than ever to respond to their concerns.”
  • The New York Times also covered the Obama Administration’s announcement that it had teamed up with 81 American companies to commit to a “large reduction” in carbon emissions.  For many of the companies involved, the actual emissions commitments were a combination of old and new programs. Nonetheless, the Administration summarized the development as showing that, “international action on climate [is] not only good for our climate but good for the bottom line.”
POV: Power Breakfast

Power Breakfast for Oct. 14, 2015

EDF reports on Texas; WSJ reports on coal mines for sale; Bloomberg reports on global energy trends


POV: Power Breakfast

A nearly daily round-up of energy-related news for your consideration:

  • The Environmental Defense Fund published a report yesterday that suggests Texas will be 88% of the way toward compliance with the Clean Power Plan by virtue of market trends and that the state should capitalize on its existing momentum. Here’s the full report: Well Within Reach: How Texas Can Comply with and Benefit from the Clean Power Plan, and here‘s the accompanying press release.
  • The WSJ reports many coal mines are for sale, but, “For now, analysts say, deal-making in the U.S. coal sector features mainly smaller players picking off modest mining operations.” (Sub. req.)
  • Michael Liebreich, the founder of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, says we are in the “age of plenty” and cited three global trends: “1. Cheap fossil fuels are here to stay because production costs are tumbling. 2. Intermittent renewables will dominate electricity supply by 2040, with huge challenges for grid managers. 3. Electricity demand is flattening out, losing its link with economic growth.”

 

POV: Power Breakfast

Power Breakfast for Oct. 13, 2015

Demand response; EPA lawsuit; TVA nuclear power plant


POV: Power Breakfast

A nearly daily round-up of energy-related news for your consideration:

  • While the EPA’s Clean Power Plan emphasizes efficiency and conservation, Forbes writes that “efficiency” should also have a demand response component. As Forbes contributor James Conca explains, “Demand response is an ideal dancing partner for renewables like wind and solar, and can take load off the grid when there’s too much supply, like when the wind blows in the middle of the night or it’s super sunny early in the day.”
  • A coalition of environmental groups has sued the EPA for allegedly failing to enforce air quality standards that limit dangerous particulate pollution from coal-fired power plants, cars and other sources in several Western states. The lawsuit is focused on communities in Arizona, California, Idaho, Oregon and Utah where, the plaintiffs assert, air quality plans must control soot pollution.
  • The Los Angeles Times opines that it will not be a testament to ingenuity and progress when the Tennessee Valley Authority brings its newest nuclear power plant, Watts Bar, online in January. Rather, “the history of Watts Bar is one of enormous cost overruns, antiquated design and unimaginable construction delays.” The project was launched in 1972.