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Great Plains, Westar seek merger approval; NY PSC staff proposes up to $7.6B in nuclear subsidies

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Great Plains, Westar seek merger approval; NY PSC staff proposes up to $7.6B in nuclear subsidies

Asserting that the deal meets all of FERC's merger approvalcriteria, Great Plains EnergyInc. and WestarEnergy Inc. asked the agency to sign off on Great Plains' plan toacquire Westar for approximately $12.2 billion, including about $3.6 billion ofassumed debt. The transaction will provide a number of public interest benefitsbut have no adverse effect on competition, the companies said in an applicationfiled with FERC.

The New York State Public Service Commission issued aproposal to subsidize New York's upstate nuclear power plants with up toroughly $7.6 billion over a 12-year period through 2029 in order to preventtheir early retirements. The PSC's staff in its proposal estimated payments forthe zero-emissions credits for upstate nuclear plants will be approximately$482 million annually the first two years starting in April 2017 at a rate of$17.48/MWh before gradually increasing to almost $805 million annually in thefinal two years at a rate of $29.15/MWh.

FERC grants SPP's requestto resettle invoices going back to 2008

Noting that eight years have passedsince the approval of SouthwestPower Pool Inc.'s plan to let entities recover directly assignedcosts of upgrades that are subsequently used to provide transmission service,FERC granted the grid operator's request for waivers that would allow it toresettle invoices dating back to 2008.

FERC's PURPA technicalconference explores market access, avoided-cost issues

While almost all the participants at FERC's technicalconference looking at issues related to the Public Utility Regulatory PoliciesAct of 1978 agreed that some changes to the way the law is implemented areneeded, suggestions on how it could be improved were often completelycontradictory. For instance, insisting that PURPA over time has "morphedinto a development tool" for qualifying facilities, 's Kendal Bowman saidFERC should revise its regulations implementing the law to "reassert thefounding principles of PURPA and the application of a needs-based approach."

Vivint SolarInc. is seeking roughly $1 billion in damages tied to itsfailed merger withSunEdison Inc., amove that looks to override bankruptcy protection afforded to SunEdison duringits restructuring. Vivint's lawyers filed the motion in the U.S. BankruptcyCourt Southern District of New York requesting that the federal court allowVivint to continue its lawsuit against SunEdison in the Delaware Court ofChancery.

New data released by the U.S. Energy InformationAdministration tracks the pollution controls that the nation's coal-fired powerplants have installed in response to the U.S. EPA's Mercury and Air ToxicsStandards. According to data released, coal-fired plants with 87.4GW of total capacity added pollution controls between December 2014 and April2016.

The Nuclear Energy Institute has warned the U.S. Departmentof Energy about the dangers of America's growing dependence on natural gas forelectric generation and the shortsightedness of prematurely shutting downnuclear power plants.

New York's grid operator gave Gov. Andrew Cuomo's proposedclean energy standard a reality check on how much transmission will be neededfor the state to achieve 50% renewables by 2030 and cautioned regulators totake a hard look at transmission before going forward with the proposal.

The Clean Air Act lacked the tools to offer a life raft tothe struggling nuclear industry within the Clean Power Plan, a U.S. EPAofficial said. Speaking at the U.S. Energy Information Administrationconference in Washington, D.C., the EPA's Joseph Goffman, associate assistantadministrator and senior counsel, said the agency originally pitched morenuclear-specific policy in the proposedversion of the Clean Power Plan that was released in June 2014. But in theensuing public comment period, stakeholders urged the agency to abandon thelanguage.

Total SA and affiliates fired all their guns to try toget rid of market manipulation charges brought by FERC enforcement staff thatcarry potential civil penalties of almost $217 million. "This is likelythe first market manipulation case ever brought by the Federal EnergyRegulatory Commission in which neither the show cause order nor the staffreport presents a single piece of documentary evidence showing that therespondents intended to manipulate any market," the company's counselwrote in a blistering response to that FERC order and its notice of proposedpenalty.