Hydropower, Utility Integration

Near-Bankrupt PG&E Pulls Plug on a Hydropower License Renewal

by Stephen Cunningham, Bloomberg

PG&E Corp., the beleaguered California utility giant that’s days away from a potential bankruptcy filing, just scrapped plans to renew the license for a small hydropower project, citing “challenging financial circumstances” among other things.

The Potter Valley plant only generates 9.2 megawatts — tiny for hydropower, but the move may be a sign of things to come. Power generators and analysts alike are warning that the company’s looming bankruptcy could chill investments in clean energy projects in the Golden State, with the chief of renewable energy giant NextEra Energy Inc. saying Friday that it wasn’t “conducive to continued capital investment.”

To be sure, PG&E said in a filing with federal regulators Friday that it has long recognized that the plant was uneconomic, citing declining energy markets and potentially higher costs. The company said the license was no longer in the interests of ratepayers.