New York PSC approves Iberdrola purchase of Energy East

At its Wednesday, September 3, special session, the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) approved unanimously (by a 4-0 vote) but with conditions the proposed acquisition by Iberdrola of Energy East.

Conditions include:

  • $275 million in benefits to NY Energy East customers, to be used to either reduce rates or moderate requested rate increases;
  • $200 million in investment by Iberdrola in wind energy in New York and if Iberdrola fails to invest the second $100 million, it must use up to $25 million in shareholder funds to invest in economic development projects in its service territories;
  • divestiture of Energy East’s fossil fuel generating plants (this was Iberdrola’s proposal);
  • a requirement that NYSEG and RG&E (the New York subsidiaries of Energy East);
  • establish a special voting right so that a bankruptcy of Iberdrola or its affiliates would not cause a bankruptcy of the New York companies; and
  • improved financial transparency and reporting requirements

Commissioner Harris in unprepared remarks called it “not perfect” and “not great” but a “good” deal, noting that all parties but PSC staff endorsed the deal. She expressed hope that Iberdrola will be a “good corporate citizen”. Said she’d personally be reviewing the vertical market power issue (the central concern of the PSC staff) to make sure it’s not exercised by Iberdrola.Commissioner Acampora especially thanked the staff of the PSC and indicated it was incumbent upon the Commission to review the Renewable Portfolio Standard in light of the transaction.

Commissioner Curry hoped other companies would be willing to invest in New York, seeing how the PSC approved the deal (and a previous European company purchase of a local utility — National Grid’s acquisition of Niagara Mohawk).

Chairman Brown likened the review to a scale. Noting there are some risks he said the deal balances to produce a net positive, and should help New York reach its goals regarding renewable energy.

The PSC special session may be found online at either

A PSC press release announcing the approval is available. The written approval with all the details will be posted on the PSC website. Iberdrola will presumably respond once the written details are available.

News reports include:

New York PSC postpones Iberdrola-Energy East decision

At its August 27 special session, with two commissioners absent, the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) postponed a decision on the proposed acquisition by Iberdrola of Energy East, tentatively until Wednesday, September 3, 2008.

The PSC Special Session will presumably be available online at either

New York PSC Special Session on Iberdrola-Energy East online 8/27

The New York Public Service Commission (PSC) has scheduled a Special Session to review and, presumably, decide on the proposed acquisition by Iberdrola of Energy East. It is scheduled to commence Wednesday, August 27, 2008 at 10:30 a.m.

The PSC Special Session shall be broadcast live online at either

http://www.dps.state.ny.us/webcast_sessions.htm or

http://www.newyorkadmin.com/cgi-bin/nypsc.cgi

Per a PSC press release

Individuals in Albany wishing to observe the Commission’s meeting may do so in the Board Room on the 19th floor of the Commission’s offices at Three Empire State Plaza. Pursuant to procedures established by the building management, anyone planning to view the meeting in the New York City Board Room must notify Jan Goorsky at 212-417-2378, 48 hours in advance of the meeting, and must be prepared to show valid photo identification upon arrival at 90 Church Street. The videocasting will be for viewing and listening purposes only. In addition, the meeting will be broadcast live on the Internet. The Internet broadcast can be viewed through NewYorkAdmin by accessing http://www.NewYorkAdmin.com from a computer capable of using RealPlayer. RealPlayer can be downloaded from the NewYorkAdmin site. The Commission has no financial interest in the Web site, its management, maintenance or administration.

New York PSC plans to conclude Iberdrola-Energy East case 8/27

The New York Public Service Commission (PSC) heard staff testimony for the first time on August 20. The PSC released a press release thereafter, indicating its intent to resolve the case, which has been pending since May 2007, next week:

Today’s briefing, to be followed by an expected decisional meeting on August 27, capped a year-long review of Iberdrola’s proposal. This review included holding six public statement hearings. The record compiled in the case includes hundreds of pages of submitted testimony and exhibits.

The briefing was designed to provide a balanced view of the strengths and weaknesses of the proposal in an effort to help the Commissioners weigh the risks and benefits of the proposal.

Topics discussed included the financial condition of Iberdrola, the petitioners’ service quality and reliability, their commitments to the community, holding company risks, regulatory compliance, credit rating risks, and utility ownership of wind generation. The Commission’s public discourse is available for viewing at http://www.dps.state.ny.us/webcast_sessions.htm. [For those interested in watching, the Iberdrola-Energy East discussion began more than two hours into the PSC meeting. Don’t forget the popcorn.]

The PSC Iberdrola-Energy East press release is here.

A related Times Union article on the PSC hearing is here. Another is here. A Post-Standard article is here, and Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin article here.

New York PSC to discuss Iberdrola-Energy East 8/20

The proposed friendly acquisition transaction by Iberdrola of Energy East will take center stage at the next New York Public Service Commission meeting, scheduled for 10:30 a.m. on August 20, 2008 in the 19th Floor Board Room of its offices located at Three Empire State Plaza, Albany, New York. The PSC press release is here.

Related Times  Union article is here.

New York wind energy developments 7/30

Altona wind farm

WPTZ.com (7/24) reports on Horizon Wind’s project.

Cape Vincent wind farm

Watertown Daily Times (7/23) reports that BP Alternative Energy will present the siting of its 95-turbine wind project in Cape Vincent (Jefferson County).

Cattaraugus County discusses lawyer fees

The Buffalo News (7/21) reports that the county legislature is determining whether to spend $25,000 on lawyers fees to review and negotiate payment in lieu of taxes agreements with wind developers. More reports on 7/25.

Charlotte zoning includes wind provisions

Observer Today (7/27) reports on the Town of Charlotte (Chautauqua County) passing a zoning law including wind provisions.

Evans NY wind law on hold

Buffalo News (7/19) reports on decision of Evans (Erie County) Town Board to delay discussion of wind energy law affecting residential and commercial projects. More reports from The Sun (7/24).

Hanover wind law

Buffalo News (7/29) reports that the Hanover (Chautauqua County) Town Board approved a new wind law.

Hartsville wind project advances

The Evening Tribune (7/26) reports that E.On (successor to Airtricity) is moving ahead with a Hartsville (Steuben County) project of some 33 to 46 turbines.

Horse Creek Wind Farm

Watertown Daily Times (7/24) reports on concerns raised by residents of the Town of Clayton (Jefferson County) regarding potential water contamination.

Iberdrola-Energy East

Albany Times Union (7/25) reports that Iberdrola requested July 14 that the New York Public Service hold a special meeting to vote on Iberdrola’s proposed acquisition of Energy East.

Portland PILOT and wind law

The Observer (7/21) reports on developments in the Town of Portland (Chautauqua County) relating to a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreement. Separately, the Observer (7/21) reported on the presentation to the Town Board of a proposed wind law.

Richmondville ZBA approves extension permit for met tower

The Schenectady Daily Gazette (7/23) reports that the Town of Richmondville (Schoharie County)  Zoning Board of Appeals voted unanimously to approve a one-year extension of the permit allowing Reunion Power to site a meteorological tower in the Town.

Ripley-Westfield wind farm draft scope available

The draft environmental scoping document for the Ripley-Westfield (Chautauqua County) Wind Farm is available here. The Westfield Republican (7/24) reports that comments on same are due by August 8.

Tompkins County wind developments

Ithaca Journal (7/28) reports on multiple zoning initiatives, in Enfield, Ithaca and Newfield (6 month moratorium)

Wind siting challenges across NYS

The Press & Sun Bulletin (7/24) describes a variety of local projects and potential conflicts of interest.

New York wind energy developments

Town of Fulton considers wind development

The Schenectady Daily Gazette reports (July 15) reports on the apparent ambivalence of town residents as expressed at a town board meeting that addressed the potential location of wind farms in the area.

Galloo Island wind farm

Palladium Times (July 11) reports on a presentation made to Oswego County legislators regarding the Hounsfield Wind Farm (Jefferson County). While the proposed Hounsfield wind farm itself is in Jefferson County, the necessary transmission line would go through neighboring Oswego County.

Iberdrola-Energy East

Newsli.com (July 12) reports that two more New York politicians (state senate Democratic members Kevin Parker (D-Brooklyn) and Bill Perkins (D-Manhattan) have announced their support for Iberdrola’s proposed acquisition of Energy East, currently under review at the New York Public Service Commission (PSC). More here on the NY PSC’s consideration of the Iberdrola-Energy East transaction.

Lackawanna Steel Winds wind project will get new turbines

Buffalo News (July 11) reports that the City of Lackawanna Planning Board approved a site plan for 13 new wind turbines for the Steel Winds. Steel Winds is a project of Clipper Windpower.

New York Attorney General Investigation

More on the investigation into First Wind (formerly UPC Wind) and Noble Environmental Power, LLC:

Offshore wind projects

Buffalo News (July 12) reports on the potential of offshore wind projects, particularly around the Great Lakes. Advantages include stronger, more consistent wind resources (including during the day when demand is high), potentially reduced zoning jurisdicitional requirements; challenges include ice and cost and the environmental impact.  Here for description of a recent offshore wind report focusing on New York.

Potential Orange County municipal wind project

Times Herald-Record (July 15) reports on a potential project at Greenwood Lake. Meteorological testing has begun.

Spafford wind law

Skaneateles Press on CNYLInk (July 15) reports that the Town of Spafford discussed a proposed wind turbine law, aimed at regulating the use of smaller scale turbines. Among those present at the Town Board meeting was a representative of the Town of Skaneateles, who expressed concern that that the town had not been notified of the proposed law.