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  • Ketchup Caddy Does a Baddy // Capacity Retirements to Slow in 2024

Ketchup Caddy Does a Baddy // Capacity Retirements to Slow in 2024

Welcome to Grid Brief! Here’s what we’re looking at today: Ketchup Caddy gets busted for scamming MISO, US capacity retirements ebb, and more.

Ketchup Caddy Does a Baddy

In a story too bizarre not to tell, a company scammed the Midcontinent Independent System Operator’s capacity auction with fake deals to the tune of about $1 million, reducing the revenue of other legitimate market participants by about $17 million.

“Ketchup Caddy operated as a fraudulent enterprise with no legitimate market activity, registering and clearing demand resources without their knowledge or consent and collected capacity payments in turn, without making payments to the registered resources,” the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission reported in its investigation.

The improbably named CEO of Ketchup Caddy, Philip Mango, admitted to FERC that he didn’t cut any contracts with either potential real customers or the fake customers his company registered with MISO. Nor would he have provided any power if called on for dispatch.

Mango told FERC he planned to “[d]o this for just a couple of years, make a bunch of money to put kids through school and do all those things, and no one’s hurt. Do it with the least amount of resource possible, the least amount of money invested.”

excerpt from the FERC filing

“Upon further reflection, I realize the egregiousness and the error of my ways,” he added.

Mango is now on the hook for $27 million. Ketchup Caddy produces ketchup holders for cars designed by Mango. It is headquartered in Texas.

Capacity Retirements to Slow in 2024

Only 5.2 GW of generating capacity are planned to retire this year. That’s a 62% drop from last year’s 13.5 GW, and the lowest retirement count since 2008. All of the retirements are fossil fuel generators, but coal and natural gas make up over 90% of the count.

The 2.3 GW of coal capacity America plans to lose only accounts for 1.3% of the current fleet.

“In 2024, coal retirements will come primarily from older units: the capacity-weighted average age of these retiring units is almost 54 years, about 10 years older than the weighted average age of operating coal units,” reports the Energy Information Administration. 

The 2.4 GW of natural gas generation capacity, meanwhile, counts for only 0.5% of the national fleet. The bulk of the 450 MW of petroleum capacity slated for retirement belongs to the TVA’s Allen Power Plant.

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    Generators had 44 million tonnes of fuel on hand on February 26 up from 26 million tonnes at the end of February 2022.”

  • Wildfire threatens Texas oil rigs and refinery. “Texas Panhandle oil refineries and cattle ranches remain under critical threat as wildfires continue to spread, now consuming 500,000 acres after having prompted the temporary evacuation of the United States’ primary nuclear weapons assembly plant,” reports Oilprice.com. “Earlier on Wednesday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott had declared a disaster for 60 counties being affected by four separate wildfires that have so far decimated more than 320,000 acres, with shifting winds threatening further spread. By mid-day Wednesday, the wildfires had consumed over 500,000 acres. The wildfire, dubbed the Smokehouse Creek Fire, is the second-largest in Texas’ history, NBC reported, citing Texas A&M Forest Service. According to the Associated Press, the main fire has grown five times since Monday.”

  • Dominion sells off 50% stake in wind farm. “Investment firm Stonepeak will acquire a 50% noncontrolling interest in Dominion Energy’s 2.6-GW Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project, or CVOW, the utility announced Thursday,” reports Utility Dive. “When the deal closes, Stonepeak “will make a cash payment to Dominion Energy to reimburse 50% of the capital spent to date less $145 million,” Dominion’s CEO Robert Blue said in the utility’s earnings call for the fourth quarter of 2023. “This nearly $3 billion project cost reimbursement will be used to reduce parent-level debt,” Blue said. After that, Stonepeak will fund a 50/50 pro rata share of capital calls.”

Crom’s Blessing

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