Coal Age

MAY 2018

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Page 17 of 51

16 May 2018 news continued "Winter came early last year in December and some compa- nies wanted to get some additional loads, but they couldn't be- cause of ice in December," he said. "Things seem pretty strong right now. We've got a number of vessels in port." AEP Ohio's Plan to Enhance Reliability, Build Smarter Grid AEP Ohio, an American Electric Power (AEP) company, received approval of its Electric Security Plan (ESP) from the Public Utili- ties Commission of Ohio (PUCO). The ESP allows AEP Ohio to ex- pand access to electric vehicle (EV ) charging and renewable gen- eration, while continuing to enhance distribution grid reliability. The ESP also offers customers rate stability through 2024. More than a dozen groups had signed onto the agreement approved today by the PUCO. "Our customers want reliability and access to advanced tech- nologies, such as EV charging stations, microgrids and renewable energy resources," said Julie Sloat, AEP Ohio president and chief operating officer. "Our plan allows us to bring these services, which also will support economic development in Ohio, to cus- tomers across the state. The ESP enables us to continue our in- vestments in the electric grid to provide reliable power and help advance the new technologies and cleaner energy that our cus- tomers want." As a result of the ESP, a typical residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours per month will see an average bill increase of less than 50-cents-per-month. AEP Ohio has made significant investments in recent years to improve the electric distribution grid and enhance reliability for customers. The plan approved by the PUCO allows AEP Ohio to continue its vegetation management program, which has re- duced the number of outages caused by trees within rights-of-way by 88% since 2010. The ESP includes expansion of smart technol- ogies that help improve reliability, such as automated equipment that can route power around a problem, and the development of microgrids to maintain power in areas where critical public ser- vice facilities such as police and fire stations, hospitals and emer- gency shelters are located. A program to expand EV charging station availability will be created as part of the Smart Columbus initiative. The project cre- ates a rebate incentive program for the hardware, network ser- vices, and installation of charging infrastructure for up to 300 lev- el 2 charging stations and 75 DC Fast charging stations. The $10 million program offers rebates for site owners to install charging stations, with 10 percent of the stations to be located in low-in- come areas. Site owners can apply to AEP Ohio to recoup a portion of their initial construction costs. Rebate amounts vary depending on the type of station being built, the availability of the charging station to the general public and whether the owner is a public or private entity. Government buildings, apartment complexes, workplaces and others are eligible to apply for rebates. Program details and applications are under development. The EV charging program and microgrid projects are funded by the Smart City Rider, a new charge that will end in four years. These programs will provide AEP Ohio, the PUCO and others with information that will inform the expansion of these technologies throughout the state. Navajo Nation Files Rebuttal in Court of Appeals' Case The Navajo Transitional Energy Co. (NTEC) filed an answering brief in the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, highlighting what they called "efforts of environmental activists to undermine tribal sovereignty protection afforded to NTEC by the Navajo Nation." In November 2017, environmental activists, including San Juan Citizen Alliance, Sierra Club, and Dine Care, appealed the decision of an Arizona federal court that had dismissed the citi- zen groups' claims based on the immunity provided to the Navajo Nation as a sovereign state and its rights as a sovereign to govern and protect its people. "This appeal is about the subsistence and self-governance of the Navajo people," said Clark Moseley, CEO, NTEC. "As an arm of the Navajo Nation, NTEC will fight to protect the economic vital- ity of the community and the right of the Navajo Nation to make its own decisions related to its resources and its citizens." In November, Moseley described the appeal as a "direct attack on the sovereign immunity" of the Navajo Nation. "NTEC complies with and is required to comply with all U.S. environmental laws and the decision of the Arizona federal court did nothing to alter or diminish those requirements," he added. "While these citizen groups have made outlandish claims that the court ruling insulates tribal lands from environmental claims, the truth is that the law will not allow these groups to interfere in the legal operations of Navajo Nation enterprises." The lawsuit was dismissed in September 2017 by the District Court in Arizona. The case was brought forward by environmen- tal activists and others, alleged that the U.S. Department of Inte- rior and other federal agencies violated the Endangered Species Act, the National Environmental Policy Act and the Administra- tive Procedures Act when the agencies approved a 25-year lease extension, rights-of-ways, and mine expansion. The court concluded that the challenge by the environmen- tal activists would have effectively circumvented the Navajo Na- tion's goals to maintain a revenue source and jobs for the Navajo people. NTEC demonstrated that it, as owner of Navajo mine, is a required party in the lawsuit under Rule 19 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and that because NTEC is clothed with sover- eign immunity, NTEC cannot be joined as a defendant, therefore the case should be dismissed in equity and good conscience. The court agreed with NTEC. Clean Coal Technologies Confirms Wyoming Location for Permanent Test Facility Clean Coal Technologies, a company that converts raw coal into a cleaner-burning fuel, announced that they have confirmed the permanent location for their test facility in Wyoming. "After months of intense due diligence inspecting a handful of pro- spective sites and the requisite infrastructure, rail and permit- ting requirements, we have decided upon the Fort Union Indus- trial Park in Gillette, Wyoming, as the permanent home for our test facility," stated Sean Mahoney, CCTI press officer. "Working alongside the University of Wyoming School of Energy Resourc- es and Gillette-based Energy Capital Economic Development, we're confident this location provides all necessary logistical requirements including having the critically important pre-ex- isting rail access."

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