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Supreme Court overturns decision invalidating EPA’s CSAPR

Issue 5 and Volume 118.

The U.S. Supreme Court has vacated a decision by a federal appeals court that ruled the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Cross State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) violated the Clean Air Act (CAA).

The 6-2 decision in EPA v. EME Homer City Generation, written by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, stated CSAPR is a “permissible, workable and equitable interpretation of the Good Neighbor Provision” of the CAA. The Good Neighbor Provision requires state implementation plans to contain adequate provisions to prohibit emissions within a state that would contribute significantly to nonattainment in any other state with respect to any national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS).

CSPAR limits sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions limits in 28 states and was the EPA’s most recent rule designed to prevent emissions from one state from carrying downwind and affecting another. Its previous attempt, the Clean Air Interstate Rule, was also struck down by a federal appeals court but left in place.

The case will now return to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

Pattern acquires Texas wind energy project for $125mn


Pattern Energy Group will acquire a 179-MW interest in the 218-MW Panhandle 1 wind power project in Texas from Pattern Energy Group LP.

Pattern Energy will pay the $125 million cash purchase price to Pattern Development upon meeting certain conditions, including the project reaching commercial operation. The balance of the project will be acquired from Pattern Development by two institutional tax equity investors.

Panhandle 1 will consist of 118 GE 1.85-MW wind turbines and is expected to begin operations in June 2014. Pattern acquired the 181.7-MW Panhandle 2 in December. That project is expected to reach commercial operation in late 2014.

Construction of MOX fuel facility will continue through September

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) would continue construction of the Fuel Fabrication Facility in the state through September.

Graham said in a release that he spoke with DOE Secretary Ernest Moniz and was assured the DOE would continue construction on the facility through the end of the fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30. The facility would dispose of 34 metric tons of weapons-grade plutonium.

President Obama did not include funding for the MOX plant in the fiscal year 2015 budget and put the project in “cold standby,” stating that the plant is significantly more expensive than anticipated. Areva said putting a project in cold standby is a euphemism for terminating the project. Joint venture Shaw Areva MOX Services LLC has a contract with the National Nuclear Security Administration to design, build and operate the facility.

DOE also released a report that said the MOX option is the best for fulfilling the nonproliferation treaty with Russia, according to Areva.

Energy Future Holdings files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

Energy Future Holdings said it would file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to reduce $40 billion of debt while maintaining business operations.

EFH said in a release it would separate from its subsidiary, Texas Competitive Electric Holdings, the holding company for Luminant and TXU Energy. The plan also calls for the elimination of $2.5 billion of funded debt from Energy Future Intermediate Holding Co. LLC through a capital infusion of up to $1.9 billion. EFIH is the holding company for Oncor Electric Delivery Co., which is not part of the bankruptcy filing.

EFH said it expects to complete restructuring in about 11 months and also expects day-to-day operations to continue during reorganization.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) said it has been monitoring the situation and has been in contact with the subsidiaries to address concerns that could impact system reliability or the efficiency of the market.

Toshiba to supply steam turbines for thermal power plant in Mexico


Toshiba Corp., a supplier of thermal power generation equipment, will supply with two high-efficiency 165-MW steam turbines and related equipment for the retrofit and modernization of the Altamira Thermal Power Plant in Tamaulipas State, northeastern Mexico.

Currently, Altamira is equipped with two 158-MW steam turbines and generators that Toshiba shipped to Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE), Mexico’s state-owned electricity utility.

CFE, the owner of Altamira, awarded an Isolux Corsán an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for the retrofit and upgrade of the plant.

Toshiba will deliver the equipment in 2016, and the upgraded power plant is scheduled to go online in 2017.

B&W receives $2.5mn DOE award for clean coal tech development

The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded Babcock & Wilcox Power Generation Group Inc. a $2.5 million award for Phase 2 development of iron-based coal direct chemical looping (CDCL) technology.

B&W PGG and The Ohio State University have collaborated on the development of the technology, which was developed and successfully tested at bench scale at OSU’s labs in Columbus, Ohio. B&W PGG is continuing research and testing at the B&W Research Center in Barberton, Ohio and OSU’s labs as part of the commercial design effort.

In Phase II of the project, B&W PGG and its collaborators will test the CDCL process at a laboratory scale.

Fuel Tech buys two emissions control companies for $8.25mn

Fuel Tech Inc. acquired two air pollution control technology companies for $8.25 million total.

Fuel Tech bought Cleveland Roll Forming Environmental Division (PECO) for a total cash consideration of $7.25 million and FGC Corp. for a cash consideration of $1 million. The deals for both companies closed on April 30.

PECO provides custom retrofit solutions that improve efficiency, performance and longevity of an Electrostatic Precipitator (ESP). FGC specializes in products and services for flue gas conditioning systems, which improve the performance of ESPs by modifying the properties of the fly ash particle.

DTE Energy files renewal application for Fermi 2 nuclear power

DTE Energy

DTE Energy filed an application with the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to renew the license for its Fermi 2 nuclear power plant, in Newport, Mich.

The application includes safety and environmental evaluations and can take more than two years to complete.

The original license for the site is scheduled to end in 2025. A successful license renewal process will allow power generation to continue at the facility for an additional 20 years, until 2045.

Fermi 2 received its original operating license in 1985. During the past 25 years, the power plant has generated 190 million MWh and represents nearly 15 percent of DTE Energy’s total generation.

Exelon buying Pepco Holdings for $6.83 billion

Exelon Corp. has reached a definitive agreement to acquire Pepco Holdings Inc. for $6.8 billion in a deal that has been unanimously approved by both companies’ board of directors.

The agreement will combine Exelon’s Baltimore Gas and Electric, Consolidated Edison Co. of New York and PECO with Pepco Holdings’ Atlantic City Electric, Delmarva Power and Pepco to create the largest Mid-Atlantic electric and gas utility. The combined utility businesses will have around 10 million customers and a rate base of around $26 billion.

Crane will remain president and CEO of the combined company, while Pepco Holdings Chairman, President and CEO Joseph Rigby, who previously announced his retirement, will remain in his current roles with Pepco Holdings until the transaction is closed. Pepco Holdings will retain the regional headquarters used for their utilities.

Natural gas-fired combined-cycle power plant gains GHG permit

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final greenhouse gas Prevention of Significant Deterioration construction permit for FGE Power to build a 747-MW natural gas-fired power plant in Texas.

The first and second phases of the FGE Texas combined-cycle plant will use Alstom Thermal Power’s KA-24 platform. Both units will generate 747-MW of capacity. The plant will cost a total of $1.2 billion. The first unit is scheduled for completion in mid-2016, while the second unit is set for completion in early 2017.

NRG, MidAmerican begin operations at 290-MW solar PV plant in Arizona

NRG Solar, a subsidiary of NRG Energy and MidAmerican Solar completed the 290-MW Agua Caliente Solar Photovoltaic Facility in Arizona.

The Agua Caliente project will sell its output to Pacific Gas & Electric Co. under a 25-year power purchase agreement. It uses First Solar thin-film solar panels, and First Solar will maintain the facility. It was financed with support from a loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Loan Programs Office.

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