Sutherland Coop Law Blog
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City of Socorro Considers Coop Acquisition

The city of Socorro, New Mexico, is analyzing the estimated costs involved in acquiring Socorro Electric Cooperative (Socorro) within the city limits.  At least two-thirds of Socorro members must approve the sale should the deal move forward.  Click here to read the full story.
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CFTC Approves Exclusion for Utility Special Entities

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) approved a final rule this week to exclude certain swaps used in utility operations from one threshold used to identify swap dealers.  The rule change will give counterparties additional flexibility to transact with utility special entities while avoiding the regulatory burdens associated with the “swap dealer” designation.  Power and gas companies will benefit because hedging remains a viable risk management tool for their business operations.  Please click here to read...
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Court Denies Review of FERC Demand Response Rule

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit will not review en banc a three-judge panel ruling that rejected the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s  rulemaking on demand response compensation.  The panel had found that Order No. 745 violates the Federal Power Act by impinging upon state jurisdiction over retail rates.  Please click here for more information (subscription required).
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Mild Summer to Dampen Debt Service Coverage Ratios

Mild summer weather conditions in much of the country could dampen year-end electric sales and contribute to declining debt service coverage ratios for the public power and electric cooperative sectors in 2014, Fitch Ratings says. Public power and electric cooperative credit ratings can withstand some variability in annual cash flow metrics from changing weather or economic conditions. To read more, please click here.
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New Jersey Coop Leads Army Base Solar Project

Sussex Rural Electric Cooperative (Sussex) is helping the U.S. Army install more than 500 Kws of solar panel capacity on a former Superfund site at Picatinny Arsenal near Morristown, New Jersey.  Engineering for the project was completed under the Solar Utility Network Deployment Acceleration project developed by the Cooperative Research Network of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association.  To read more about this story, please click...
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Basin Electric Receives Federal Approval for Major Transmission Line

Basin Electric Power Cooperative (Basin Electric) recently received federal approval for construction of a 200-mile transmission line in western North Dakota.  The project, which will include 345 kV transmission lines, two new substations and modifications to three existing substations, will start at Basin Electric’s Antelope Valley Station and end in Tioga, North Dakota.  Basin Electric hopes to complete the project by 2017.  Click here to read more about this...
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Endangered Species Listing May Risk Reliability

Several hundred distribution and generation and transmission coops may be affected if the northern long-eared bat is added to the endangered species list.  The House Natural Resources Committee is considering this designation as the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association and others argue that listing the bat will pose a risk to reliability because coops remove bat roosting trees as part of their vegetation management efforts.  A determination on whether to list the bat is expected in April 2015. Click here to read...
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Court Strikes Down New Jersey Power Plant Subsidy Program

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has determined that New Jersey’s Long-Term Capacity Agreement Pilot Program impinges on the jurisdiction of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission over wholesale sales of capacity in interstate commerce.  The ruling is the latest in a string of similar cases in which state subsidy programs have been struck down on jurisdictional grounds.  While state incentives for new generation are not categorically prohibited, any program will likely require a more narrow scope to avoid the jurisdictional debate.  Click here for more information...
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EIA Report: No Coal-Fired Sources Added in First Half of 2014

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that new generation capacity added during the first half of 2014 came only from natural gas and renewable sources, such as wind and solar facilities.  No coal-fired sources were added during this time frame.  Coops can expect more natural gas capacity and a risk of increased price volatility.  Click here to read more.
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Fee Penalties Imposed for Frivolous Clean Air Act Claim

The Sierra Club will be forced to pay $6.4 million in attorneys’ fees for what a Texas federal court has deemed a “frivolous” Clean Air Act citizen suit. The ruling represents a win for defendant utilities and may help discourage environmental groups from bringing future unmeritorious lawsuits. For more information, click here. (Subscription required)
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EPA Preliminarily Approves Plan to Keep Arizona Coop Plant Open

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has preliminarily approved a plan proposed by Arizona Electric Power Cooperative (AEPCO) to upgrade a power plant to lower emissions, keep the plant operating, and save hundreds of jobs.  Congressman Ron Barber is recognized as leading negotiations between AEPCO and the EPA.  Click here for the details.
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Kentucky Coop Plans to Deactivate Coal Plant

East Kentucky Power Cooperative will continue deactivating its coal-fired Dale Station power plant with complete shutdown expected by April 2015.  Subject to regulatory approval, ash waste from the site will be transported to an ash landfill.  The plant will be placed in indefinite storage to comply with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) scheduled to take effect in 2015.  Read...
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Tenth Circuit Stays EPA’s Rejection of Wyoming’s Regional Haze Plan

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit has stayed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s rejection of part of Wyoming’s plan for addressing regional haze.  The stay was sought by the State of Wyoming, Basin Electric Power Cooperative, and PacifiCorp.  The court also granted a request by Basin and PacifiCorp to extend the compliance deadline beyond March 2019 for the duration of the stay.  To read more, click here.
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Some State Regulators Say EPA Clean Power Plan Unworkable

Regulators from Texas, Indiana, Montana and Arizona told the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee’s energy and power subcommittee that the reduction targets in the U.S.  Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan are “too much, too soon.”  To read more, click here (subscription required).
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