- Houston-based EmberClear has proposed building a $1 billion, 1.1 GW combined-cycle plant near Springfield, Ill., but coal advocates fear the new capacity could threaten an existing plant and throw the local economy into upheaval.
- EmberClear in February asked Springfield planning officials to expand an enterprise zone, which would allow it to qualify for certain tax breaks. Company officials say those incentives are not necessary for the project to move forward, however.
- Platts reports on the conflict developing between EmberClear and coal interests in the Springfield area. The city's municipal utility owns a coal plant, and the two facilities could wind up competing in the Midcontinent ISO's wholesale markets.
The Illinois Coal Association is campaigning against EmberClear's proposed facility, and Platts reports an officials raised concerns with the Springfield City Council last month.
"This power plant will directly compete with [City Water, Light & Power's] wholesale power sales and part of CWLP's budget is dependent upon sales outside the city," ICA President Phil Gonet told the council.
The plant would be located in the MISO territory, leading some to question whether the new capacity is needed. In April, the grid operator revealed its planning auction had returned prices significantly lower than the year before.
The ISOs fifth annual Planning Resource Auction yielded 135,000 MW of resources for demand and reserves in the 2017-2018 planning year, with all local resource zones in the grid operator's footprint clearing at $1.50/MW per day. In 2016, retirements and capacity exports contributed to higher clearing prices in several zones—local resource zones 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 each cleared at $72.00/MW-day.
The lower prices resulted from new supply and lower load forecasts in the north and central regions, MISO said.
EmberClear, which emerged from the bankruptcy of a Canadian firm filed last year, now says it is developing energy projects valued at more than $3.5 billion.