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Presidential Permit Process Advances for Emera's Atlantic Link Transmission Project

LCG, December 6, 2017--Clean Power Northeast Development, a subsidiary of Emera Inc., has applied to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for a Presidential Permit, requesting authorization to build the Atlantic Link subsea electric transmission project, a 1,000-MW, high-voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission interconnection extending approximately 375 miles to deliver wind and hydro power from Atlantic Canada directly to Massachusetts. The proposed in-service date is late 2022.

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We Energies to Close Pleasant Prairie Coal Plant in 2018

LCG, November 30, 2017--WEC Energy Group announced Tuesday that it will shut down the coal-fired, Pleasant Prairie electric generating facility in the second quarter of 2018. WEC Energy Group's Wisconsin operations include We Energies and Wisconsin Public Service.

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Industry News

New Legislation Proposed in U.S. Senate for Offshore Wind ITC

LCG, August 4, 2017--New legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate to create an investment offshore wind tax credit of 30 percent for the first 3,000 MW of offshore wind facilities placed into service in the U.S. The legislation would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide the incentive to the generate electricity from offshore wind.

Offshore wind projects are defined in the legislation as any facility located in the inland navigable waters of the U.S., including the Great Lakes, or in the coastal waters of the U.S., including the territorial seas of the U.S., the exclusive economic zone of U.S., and the outer Continental Shelf of the U.S. Once a credit is awarded, companies would have five years to install the wind facility.

In the current law, the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015, Congress amended Section 45 of the tax code to extend production tax credits (PTC) for all wind projects for five years, first phasing-down and then ending December 31, 2019. The PTC is available for 10 years after the date the facility is placed into service.

With the new bill, in lieu of the PTC, companies may claim an ITC for qualifying wind facilities. As a result, any producer that starts construction on a wind facility before December 31, 2019, can claim either the PTC or the ITC. Companies would be prohibited from receiving other production or investment tax credits in addition to the offshore wind ITC created under the bill.

The new bill could reduce costs associated with projects developed to meet the requirements of state energy plans and legislation, such as Massachusetts' Energy Diversity Act, which requires the procurement of approximately 1,600 MW of offshore wind power by 2027, and New York's Offshore Wind Master Plan, which calls for a commitment to develop up to 2,400 MW of offshore wind power by 2030.

Massachusetts utilities, in coordination with the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER), jointly issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for long-term contracts for offshore wind energy projects in June 2017. The RFP calls for bidders to offer from a total of 400 MW of offshore wind energy capacity to up to approximately 800 MW.

Europe is far ahead of the U.S. in developing offshore wind farms, with approximately 14,000 MW now installed. In 2016, Europe installed 1,558 MW of new offshore wind, with cumulative capacity reaching 12,631 MW. This year, a total of 1,300 MW of offshore wind farms were installed through June, comprised of 18 projects in four EU Member States (Germany, UK, Belgium and Finland).

The scale of current offshore wind turbine technology and wind farms is impressive. In May, the Burbo Bank Extension Project, a new offshore wind farm in Liverpool Bay, UK, opened on and became the first offshore wind farm to make commercial use of the MHI Vestas V164-8.0 MW wind turbines. The 8-MW wind turbines are massive, measuring 195 meters from sea level to blade tip. Each blade weighs 35 metric tonnes and measures 80 meters long. The maximum output for the Burbo Bank Extension Project is 258 MW.
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