5 key power-sector storylines to watch at US federal agencies in 2020
An avalanche of anticipated key court rulings and federal agency actions are setting up 2020 to be the year that defines the Trump administration's energy deregulatory agenda. We take a look at five of the looming legal battles and regulatory actions poised to unfold this year, including the Affordable Clean Energy rule court case and the fallout from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's PJM Interconnection capacity market order.
Analysts: Oil, LNG exports to China have to skyrocket for US trade goals to be hit
Crude and LNG exports will have to do much of the heavy lifting for the U.S. to hit Chinese export targets established by the office of U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, according to energy and trade analysts. In exchange for some tariff relief on Chinese goods, China agreed to buy $200 billion more in U.S. goods and services in addition to the $187 billion in U.S. goods and services it bought in 2017.
US greenhouse gas emissions fell 2.1% in 2019, Rhodium Group estimates
U.S. greenhouse gas emissions fell 2.1% in 2019 due to a sharp decline in coal consumption, according to preliminary estimates from independent research firm Rhodium Group. Coal-fired generation fell by a record 18% year over year to the lowest level seen since 1975.
Other energy headlines
* On word that Apache Corp. had made a significant oil discovery with partner Total SA in the South American nation of Suriname at an offshore well, the Houston-based independent energy company's shares shot up 16.73% at the opening bell Jan. 7. Meanwhile, in Mexico, oil and gas reserves auditing and consulting firm Netherland Sewell & Associates Inc.'s evaluation of the Zama discovery exceeds project operator Talos Energy Inc.'s own guidance range.
* The California Public Utilities Commission filed a protest notice with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission against North Baja Pipeline LLC, a TC Energy Corp. project that would add compression in La Paz County, Ariz., to send gas to an LNG export terminal planned for Mexico's Pacific Coast. The state regulatory body contended that the project would constrain the Southern California market's natural gas supply.
* El Paso Electric Co. and IIF US Holdings 2 LP, the investment fund seeking to acquire the utility, filed an unopposed stipulation with the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission proposing benefits that are equal "in their totality" to those proposed in Texas as the companies look to finalize a deal.
Rate case filings tend to be most prevalent in the late spring or early summer months in any given year, while rate case decisions have been more robust in December.
Research and data
* Data Dispatch: Regulated electric utilities post top returns among SNL indexes in Q4'19
* RRA Regulatory Focus: Settlement filed in New Mexico regarding El Paso Electric acquisition
* RRA Regulatory Focus: 2020 Electric State Regulatory Outlook: Traditional issues, innovation collide
* Financial Focus: NextEra paces IPP, utilities to end 2019 as market cap and valuation expand
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Electric retrofit proposal could push gas ban boundaries in Wash. city
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