Thursday, March 16, 2017

Bill Lists - March 15

From Government Strategies:

During the 2017 session of the General Assembly you can view the following bill lists updated nightly.

Education Bill List

Energy-Environment Bill List

General Business Bill List

Health Care Bill List

Health Insurance Bill List

Insurance Bill List

Transportation Bill List

Time For Recess - KY Legislative Update

The Kentucky General Assembly completed their 28th legislative day on Wednesday night, finalizing the bulk of its work for the 2017 Session. A few highlights on actions that took place the last two days:

- Charter Schools - House Bill 520 that would authorize charter schools was amended and approved in the Senate before the House approved those amendments and gave it final passage. The bill is now on the Governor's Desk. House Bill 471 that was amended to address funding for charter schools was approved in the Senate, concurred in by the House, and is now on the Governor's Desk.
- Education Reform - Senate Bill 1 that deals with standards review, aligned assessments and ESSA accountability passed out of the House with two floor amendments dealing with arts and advanced learners and those await final action in the Senate.
- Education Bills - Two other priority education bills received final passage and were delivered to the Governor: SB 107 (university board appointments) & SB 153 (postsecondary performance funding).
- Criminal Justice Reform - SB 120, a priority bill for this session that combines criminal justice reform and workforce development in the form of inmate re-entry, had minor amendments added before it passed the House. It will need Senate concurrence of those amendments.
- Nuclear Energy - SB 11, legislation that has been filed for many years finally passed both Chambers and has been sent to the Governor.  SB 11 lifts the moratorium on construction of nuclear power plants.
- Overweight Trucks - HB 184, sponsored by Rep. Suzanne Miles, is legislation to allow for the trucking transport of "metal commodities" which includes aluminum, to exceed current weight limits. The Senate Transportation committee approved a compromise on the legislation that was passed by the Senate and the House.

There were a few items of unfinished business that may be considered on the session's final two days March 29 & 30.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Ohio's restructured electricity market has cost households at least $1 billion

Ohio's restructured electricity market has cost households at least $1 billion since 2009, according to a new study by The Ohio State University's John Glenn College of Public Affairs. 
The report co-authored by Professor Noah Dormady, Glenn College doctoral student Zhongnan Jiang and Matthew Hoyt, an economic analyst at Exeter Associates finds that households in Ohio have never seen the benefits of competition, but have instead been forced to subsidize the losses of an aging coal fleet through a system of inflated riders and surcharges on their home electricity bills.

“Our findings stand in stark contrast to the competing analyses that have found mixed or favorable effects associated with retail restructuring,” said Dormady.   “We believe that much of this is due to the fact that the retail restructuring design of SB 221 created a perverse system by which commission intervention distorted true market-basis pricing…In essence, true retail deregulation never occurred in Ohio—and while wholesale prices declined, retail customers generally saw increasing total bills due to the regulated portion of their bill, that is riders and surcharges.”

To help reduce the incentives for utilities to inflate electricity costs to households and allow them to experience the intended benefits of competition the study provides important recommendations for correcting Ohio’s restructuring problems. Under the current system, customers have been overpaying for generation. They have been paying for generation through their energy costs, and they have been paying for generation through riders and surcharges on their monthly bills.

To read the full report go to glenn.osu.edu/research/policy. For more information contact Dr. Noah Dormady at 614-688-1668 or email him atdormady.1@osu.edu.

Bill Lists - March 14

From Government Strategies:

During the 2017 session of the General Assembly you can view the following bill lists updated nightly.

Education Bill List

Energy-Environment Bill List

General Business Bill List

Health Care Bill List

Health Insurance Bill List

Insurance Bill List

Transportation Bill List

Monday, March 13, 2017

Kentucky joint action agency adding renewables

Kentucky joint action agency adding renewables
Platts Megawatt Daily
March 13, 2017

A Kentucky joint action agency formed less than two years ago is looking to build upon its roughly 300-MW generation portfolio by adding 50 MW of renewable energy to the mix by the time a longstanding wholesale power arrangement with Kentucky Utilities ends in May 2019.

So far, the 10-city Kentucky Municipal Energy Agency has signed power purchase agreements for
mostly coal-fired generation with Big Rivers Electric, Dynegy and the Paducah Power System.

The Dynegy power will come from the Houston-based merchant generator's 1,100-MW Joppa baseload plant in far southern Illinois. Joppa was one of five power plants totaling 4,100 MW acquired by
Dynegy from St. Louis-based Ameren in 2013, as part of the latter's exit from the competitive power business.

Terry Naulty, KyMEA's treasurer who doubles as general manager of Owensboro Municipal Utilities, said in a Friday interview the joint action agency hopes to use wind or solar energy to balance out its heavy fossil fuels portfolio.

Member cities "want to evaluate whether or not there's a cost effective way to integrate renewables into the supply portolio," he said.

KyMEA issues RFP for renewables
To that end, KyMEA, in the heart of a traditional coal-producing state where coal still is used to generate more than 80% of its electricity, has released a formal request for proposals for 50 MW to 250 MW of renewables. However, it is likely to buy only 50 MW for now. The deadline to submit proposals is 2 pm ET on April 12. The solicitation seeks renewable capacity and energy resources for as long as 20 years.

In addition to Owensboro, the commonwealth's third-largest city behind Louisville and Lexington, KyMEA members include the cities of Barbourville, Bardwell, Benham, Corbin, Falmouth, Frankfort, Madisonville, Paris and Providence. With the exception of Owensboro, all are full-requirements members of the group.

The cities agreed several years ago to terminate the KU contract after the parties were unable to reach an agreement on an extension. KU, the state's largest electric utility, is a sister utility to Louisville Gas
& Electric, and both are owned by Pennsylvania's PPL. For now at least, Owensboro is a self-supporting member, operating the 425-MW Elmer Smith coal-fired generating station.

OMU's board of directors is expected to decide on Tuesday whether to keep running Smith as a coal plant for longer than the next two years. One of the plant's two units already is ticketed for retirement following the summer of 2019.

Sierra Club wants coal burning to stop
The muni is considering several options, including closing the second unit in 2022 or 2023, constructing gas-fired generation or adding renewables.

The Sierra Club is pushing the city to halt coal burning altogether at Smith by early next decade and use renewables to replace it. "We've got to help convince them it would be a financially wise thing to do," Aloma Dew, a Sierra Club member from Owensboro, said in a Friday interview.

But, "I don't feel real optimistic," she acknowledged. "Right now, gas is so cheap and they think it's going to be that way forever." That kind of thinking is not good for the state, she said. "Kentucky gets left behind on a lot of things because we're so hesitant to change."

Dew, nevertheless, applauded KyMEA's decision to incorporate more renewables in its portfolio.

Naulty said he does not know what the OMU board will decide on Smith.

KyMEA's business model, meanwhile, appears to be gaining popularity with other Kentucky cities and public power agencies. "We have been approached by several other public power entities to talk about synergies with KyMEA," he said, adding no final agreements have been reached.

— Bob Matyi