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Google tops 3 GW of renewables; Knight Hawk aims to lower Armstrong's costs


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Google tops 3 GW of renewables; Knight Hawk aims to lower Armstrong's costs

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Google tops 3 GW of renewables, eyes 100% target and beyond

Three new wind power supply deals have pushed Google Inc.'s total renewable energy purchases over 3,000 MW as the Alphabet Inc. subsidiary strives to meet its goal of acquiring enough renewable energy to fully offset the energy consumption of its global operations in 2017, the company announced Nov. 30.

With fracking ban in works, Delaware River Basin battle could move to water

After the Delaware River Basin Commission formally proposed banning fracking in its four-state watershed, environmental activists were not ready to take a victory lap Dec. 1, but they were encouraged after fighting for the ban for more than seven years.

Knight Hawk aims to lower Armstrong's costs in Illinois Basin consolidation move

A coal company in Southern Illinois is aiming to bring its lean operation and "family-oriented business" style to a set of coal assets held by the most recent coal company to file for bankruptcy.


* Mississippi Power Co. on Dec. 1 filed a revised settlement with several stakeholders on the company's troubled Kemper project, in which the utility's revenue requirement would be lower than what was agreed to in an earlier stipulation.

* FirstEnergy Corp.'s Ohio utilities filed a three-year, $450 million proposal with state regulators to redesign and modernize portions of their distribution system in a bid to reduce the frequency and duration of power outages.

* Xcel Energy Inc. secured approval from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission for a plan that would result in the closure of three biomass power plants, the Star Tribune in Minneapolis reported.

* The U.S. Supreme Court on Dec. 1 agreed to hear Salt River Project's appeal of a lower court ruling that the quasi-governmental utility is not immune from antitrust suits related to the setting of prices for customers.

* Bankrupt solar manufacturer Suniva Inc. is still in negotiations for a possible sale of the company, Bloomberg News reported. Suniva, along with the U.S. unit of SolarWorld AG, has petitioned for the imposition of tariffs on imported solar modules to shield domestic manufacturers from foreign competition.

* Calpine Corp. intends to launch a $550 million private placement of its 5.250% senior secured notes due 2026. The company plans to use the proceeds from the offering, together with cash on hand and proceeds from a new $1 billion first-lien term loan facility maturing in January 2025, to repay about $1.6 billion of borrowings outstanding under Calpine Construction Finance Co. LP's first-lien term loan facility with tranches maturing in 2020 and 2022.

* Toyota Motor North America Inc. plans to build a megawatt-scale renewable power and hydrogen generation station to support its operations at the Port of Long Beach, Calif. The facility will use bio-waste to generate approximately 2.35 MW of electricity and 1.2 tons of hydrogen per day. The project is expected to go online in 2020.

* Rhode Island Rep. Robert Lancia, who has been a strong opponent of National Grid USA's rate increases in the state, plans to propose legislation to develop a study commission on the overall business practices of the company.

* Guggenheim Securities LLC downgraded CenterPoint Energy Inc. to "neutral" from "buy" due to valuation and strong stock performance.

* Whitefish Energy Holdings LLC is suing Arc American Inc., a subcontractor, for allegedly causing the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority to withhold payment for its work on the island's grid, The Associated Press reported. Whitefish Energy won and lost a controversial $300 million grid repair contract with PREPA.

* U.S. firms have been invited by Saudi Arabia to participate in the development of nuclear power facilities in the country, according to Reuters.

Natural gas/Oil

* As institutional investors gain influence in the midstream energy sector, some big firms that had mostly been on the sidelines made significant moves into the oil and gas pipeline space in the third quarter, an S&P Global Market Intelligence analysis of SEC filings shows.

* Husky Energy Inc. agreed to sell the Ram River gas plant and select legacy assets in Western Canada, representing 18,000 barrel of oil equivalent per day of gas-weighted production. The transactions are expected to close by the end of 2017. For 2018, the company expects its total capital spending to be in a range of C$2.9 billion to C$3.1 billion, less than the estimated C$3.3 billion annual average capital spending forecast in the five-year plan.

* Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology say they found a flaw in the U.S. Energy Department's official oil and gas forecast, which "may vastly overstate" production in the years to come, Bloomberg News reported.

* The U.S. Forest Service agreed to allow a consortium led by EQT Midstream Partners LP to use public lands for the $3.7 billion Mountain Valley natural gas pipeline project in the Jefferson National Forest.

* The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection released details of two draft final general permits that establish threshold to control methane emissions at unconventional well sites and midstream and natural gas transmission facilities.

* The North Carolina Division of Water Resources has again asked Duke Energy Corp. and Dominion Energy Inc. to provide more information before granting a "401 water quality certification" for the planned Atlantic Coast natural gas pipeline project, the Triangle Business Journal reported.

* Southern California Gas Co. on Dec. 1 notified Porter Ranch residents of increased methane levels at its Aliso Canyon gas facility, the Los Angeles Times reported. "The brief elevated methane levels lasted about 20 minutes and do not present a health or safety risk to the community," SoCalGas reportedly said in its notice.

* The Danish Underground Consortium, consisting of Maersk Oil, Royal Dutch Shell plc, Chevron Corp. and Nordsofonden, agreed to invest $3.36 billion to redevelop the Tyra gas field in the North Sea, Reuters reported.


* CONSOL Energy Inc., formerly known as CONSOL Mining Corp., agreed to provide an up to $275 million revolving credit facility to CONSOL Coal Resources LP, formerly known as CNX Coal Resources LP, according to a filing. The partnership made an initial draw of $201 million and used the net proceeds to repay its old revolver, to provide working capital for the partnership following its separation and for other general corporate purposes. Further, CONSOL Energy appointed Kurt Salvatori and Deborah Lackovic as members of the board of directors of the partnership's general partner to fill the vacancies created by the resignations of Nicholas DeIuliis and Stephen Johnson, effective Nov. 29.

* Armstrong Energy Inc. has received interest from two alternate parties for the transfer of its assets as a part of its reorganization.

* A lawsuit against Springfield, Ill., Mayor James Langfelder and the city Corporation Counsel wants the city's coal contract with Arch Coal Inc. be set aside. The suit claims the mayor and the counsel failed to provide the City Council with a copy of Ely Consulting Report during the coal negotiation process.

* Bowen Coking Coal Ltd. agreed to purchase the 14-square-kilometer Isaac River coking coal project in Queensland, Australia.


* The California Air Resources Board unveiled details Dec. 1 regarding 2018 greenhouse gas allowance auctions, highlighting an auction reserve price of $14.53/tonne to be used for the year.

* After a settle up 3.6 cents at $3.061/MMBtu on Dec. 1, NYMEX January 2018 natural gas futures extended higher overnight ahead of the Monday, Dec. 4, open, as cold weather in store for the eastern U.S. in the midrange spelled stronger heating demand and larger storage draws in the weeks ahead.

* Next-day power markets could open the new work week mixed Monday, Dec. 4, as traders look to varied load outlooks and gains for natural gas. Ending the Dec. 1 session 3.6 cents higher, front-month January 2018 natural gas futures were extending those gains early Monday in overnight trading.

* The combined oil and natural gas rig count in the U.S. continued to increase during the nine-day period ended Dec. 1, rising by six since Nov. 22 to a total of 929, according to Baker Hughes Inc.'s latest North America Rotary Rig Count. The total was up 332 rigs from the corresponding week a year earlier.

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New from RRA

* With the statutory deadline for a Maryland Public Service Commission decision just a few days away, WGL Holdings Inc. and AltaGas Ltd., on Dec. 1, filed a nonunanimous settlement with the PSC calling for conditional approval of their proposed merger.


"Cape Wind has confirmed to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management that it has ceased development of its proposed offshore wind farm project in Nantucket Sound and has filed to terminate its offshore wind development lease that was issued in 2010," Cape Wind Associates vice president Dennis Duffy said in announcing that the beleaguered wind farm off the coast of Massachusetts is finally being abandoned.

The day ahead

* Early morning futures indicators pointed to a higher opening for the U.S. equity markets. To view more SNL equity market indexes, click here. To view more SNL Energy commodities prices, click here.

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