Chatterjee named chairman as FERC regains functions with 3rd member
President Donald Trump named new Commissioner Neil Chatterjee as chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on the same day that Robert Powelson, a former member of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission, was sworn in as the third commissioner.
Climate assessment thrust into spotlight amid Trump interference concerns
Federal bureaucrats are preparing a wide-ranging assessment of the impacts of climate change on the U.S. to be released in 2018, and political and scientific interests are concerned about how the Trump administration will react to that report.
LNG project tracker: Cove Point to soon join Sabine Pass in exporting US LNG
Growing LNG exports from Sabine Pass helped the U.S. export more natural gas than it imported in three of the first five months of 2017. With five other projects under construction, the U.S. is set to be able to export more than 9 Bcf/d of LNG by the end of 2019.
Contura withdraws IPO, says capital market conditions would undervalue company
Contura Energy Inc. has announced the withdrawal of its planned initial public offering due to capital market conditions that it says would undervalue the company. "Proceeding with an IPO at this time is not the best course for our company or our stockholders. We will continue to analyze all strategic options and opportunities to maximize the potential of our young company," said CEO Kevin Crutchfield.
* The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency collected 60% less in civil penalties from environmental violators in the first six months of President Donald Trump's administration, compared to the same period during the previous administrations, according to a new report from the Environmental Integrity Project.
* Concerned about the premature retirement of economic resources for the purpose of boosting capacity prices, consumer group Public Citizen has asked federal regulators to grant it access to privileged components of an ISO New England rate filing.
* Possible buyers of NRG Energy Inc.'s renewable assets include NextEra Energy Inc., Global Infrastructure Partners, Blackstone Group LP, GIC Pte, Borealis Infrastructure Management Inc., John Hancock Life Insurance Co. and KKR & Co., Bloomberg News reported, citing "people familiar with the matter."
* The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's global climate report found that 2016 was the warmest year in its 137-year series. "The global temperatures in 2016 were majorly influenced by strong El Niño conditions that prevailed at the beginning of the year," NOAA said.
* Great Plains Energy Inc. Chairman, President and CEO Terry Bassham said talks are "going well" with Kansas Corporation Commission staff, but there are no commitments yet on a revised merger agreement with Westar Energy Inc.
* Former New Jersey State Comptroller Matthew Boxer issued a report indicating that a tri-county solar project may cost Sussex County more than $26 million, adding that the administration of the project was a "truly perfect storm of incompetence," The Associated Press reported.
* Jefferies LLC upgraded Edison International to "buy" from "hold" and raised the price target to $90 from $85. "We continue to believe CA is a premium jurisdiction, and that despite the overhang of SONGS and the GRC, this an opportunity to buy a regulated utility with above avg. organic rate base, EPS, and dividend growth, a strong balance sheet, and long runway of capex," said analyst Anthony Crowdell.
* SCANA Corp. paid its executives millions in bonuses, of which some were tied to their work for the abandoned V.C. Summer nuclear expansion project, according to The AP, citing federal records.
* Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo signed several bills supporting clean energy growth, according to a news release. These bills include providing a 10-year extension of the renewable energy growth program, establishing a streamlined statewide solar permitting application process and expanding virtual net metering for renewable project development.
* True Green Capital Management LLC, an institutional asset manager specializing in distributed power generation, closed its oversubscribed True Green Capital Fund III LP, according to a news release. The fund, which focuses on commercial and industrial distributed solar power generation investments, reached a hard cap of $350 million.
* Brookfield Asset Management Inc. is considering a perpetual fund for renewable and infrastructure assets investors, after it created similar funds for real estate investors, Bloomberg News reported. The Canadian asset manager expects each of the funds to grow more than $50 billion, the report adds.
* Stem Inc., a provider of energy storage services, and CPower, a demand-side energy management company, have partnered to offer customers an integrated solution for managing electricity demand, starting in California, according to a news release.
* Increasing the penetration of plug-in electric vehicles in Michigan will benefit all electric utility customers in the state through reduced electric bills, according to a new report from M.J. Bradley & Associates LLC, a strategic consulting firm focused on energy and environmental issues.
* New General Electric Co. CEO John Flannery bought about $2.7 million worth of the company's stock under his 401(k) account, Reuters reported.
* In reams of starkly divided public comments, the energy industry and environmental interests explored the physical, economic and public health implications of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's plan to implement a two-year stay of a rule to limit methane emissions from oil and gas sources.
* Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and the state Department of the Environment are being urged to reject TransCanada Corp.'s planned natural gas pipeline in Maryland because it would carry fracked gas and pose a serious threat to drinking water, The Baltimore Sun reported. Maryland lawmakers previously voted to ban hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in the state.
* British Columbia's recently elected government has unveiled a plan to halt construction of Kinder Morgan Inc.'s C$7.4 billion Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
* Four Republican senators are asking President Donald Trump to avoid sanctions targeting the sale of Venezuelan oil to the U.S. "Oil refineries along the U.S. Gulf Coast that process the heavier grades of Venezuelan crude represent a significant portion, nearly 10 percent, of U.S. imports. Blockading imports could inflict great harm on this industry and burden U.S. taxpayers with cost," according to the letter from U.S. Sens. John Cornyn, Bill Cassidy, Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker.
* U.S. Magistrate Kathleen Burke said in a filing that the U.S. District Court in northern Ohio does not have the jurisdiction to hear a lawsuit filed by property owners to stop Enbridge Inc. and DTE Energy Co.'s proposed NEXUS pipeline, AP reported.
* U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York issued an order authorizing Breitburn Energy Partners LP and certain of its affiliates to enter into swap agreements with certain of the debtor-in-possession credit facility lenders, according to a Form 8-K filing.
* Top Illinois Basin coal producers have been increasing their production of coal for the past 12 months versus the year-ago period, though production slowed in the second quarter.
* NACCO Industries Inc. subsidiary Liberty Fuels Co. LLC will lay off 75 employees after Mississippi Power Co. suspended activities involving the coal gasifier portion of the Plant Ratcliffe (Kemper County IGCC) plant, according to a Form 8-K filing. Liberty Fuels is the sole supplier of coal to fuel the gasifier at the Kemper facility.
* Murray Energy Corp.'s defamation allegations from comments made on an episode of "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver" will be heard in a West Virginia state court, while a case brought against The New York Times will not be dismissed.
* The EPA issued an interim final guidance on state coal ash management permit programs, according to a news release. "We intend for this new guidance to help states by making the permit program approval process easier to navigate," said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.
* As a result of higher fuel prices, real-time energy market prices in the PJM Interconnection rose by more than 10% on the year during the first six months of 2017, according to the grid operator's independent market monitor.
* After jumping by 10.2 cents in the prior session to settle at $2.985/MMBtu, NYMEX September natural gas futures pulled back overnight ahead of the Friday, Aug. 11, open, in profit taking on the heels of a four-day winning streak. At 7:00 a.m. ET (1100 GMT), the contract was 0.3 cent lower at $2.982/MMBtu.
* Price action for next-day power could end the workweek mixed Friday, Aug. 11, as traders look to varied post-weekend demand forecasts and recent volatility in natural gas futures trading.
New from RRA
* Second-quarter 2017 EPS for the 62 companies in the RRA utility universe, now including the nine publicly traded water utilities, increased 5.0% on average compared to the corresponding quarter in 2016.
"Trump has fewer reasons to act than investors might expect, despite his pro-coal rhetoric and tough talk around China and the US trade deficit. For instance, it is not clear that solar panel tariffs or quotas would help him politically, and traditional competitors including coal-fired utilities are opposed to the ... petition," Height Securities LLC analysts Peter Cohn and Katie Bays said in a research note on the trade case filed by Suniva Inc. and SolarWorld AG.
The day ahead
* The following companies will hold their second-quarter 2017 earnings conference calls: Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp. at 9 a.m. ET; Emera Inc. at 10 a.m. ET; Inter Pipeline Ltd. and U.S. Geothermal Inc. at 11 a.m. ET; Alterra Power Corp. at 11:30 a.m. ET; and Foresight Energy LP at 2:30 p.m. ET.
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