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LIPA approves PPA for 1st NY offshore wind farm; AltaGas to buy WGL for $6.4B

Top News

Long Island Power Authority approves contract for 1st NY offshore wind farm

The Long Island Power Authority on Jan. 25 took a big step in helping the growth of offshore wind energy in the U.S., approving a 20-year power purchase agreement for the output of a 90-MW wind farm that will be built southeast of the eastern end of Long Island, N.Y.

'A compelling match': Canada's AltaGas to access shale regions with WGL buy

AltaGas Ltd.'s announced purchase of Washington, D.C.-based WGL Holdings Inc. is a "seminal event" in the history of the company, CEO David Harris said in a conference call Jan. 25. As part of the deal, announced earlier in the day, Calgary, Alberta-based AltaGas will pay US$88.25 in cash for all outstanding shares of WGL, a utility provider with well over a million customers in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.

Williams CEO foresees feds helping Constitution Pipeline battle in New York

New York is close to overplaying its hand and losing for all states the authority to issue Clean Water Act permits after the state blocked the Williams Partners LP-backed Constitution natural gas pipeline project, Williams Cos. Inc. President and CEO Alan Armstrong said.

Injunction bars CONSOL from longwall mining near Pa. stream

A Pennsylvania judge ordered CONSOL Energy Inc. on Jan. 24 to halt longwall mining within 100 feet of a stream in a state park, pending a ruling on a challenge from environmental groups. The ruling, by Judge Steven Beckman of Pennsylvania's Environmental Hearing Board, allows CONSOL to continue longwall mining inside the park, but it establishes a 100-foot buffer around the Kent Run stream.


* American Electric Power Co. Inc. beat analyst estimates for the fourth quarter of 2016 by 12 cents. The company reported operating earnings of $330.4 million, or 67 cents per share, up from $232.7 million, or 48 cents per share, in the same quarter of 2015. Fourth-quarter revenues were up to $3.8 billion in 2016, from $3.6 billion in 2015.

* The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division, confirmed Illinois Power Generating Co.'s Chapter 11 plan of reorganization. Dynegy Inc. said this will allow its subsidiary to emerge from Chapter 11 and complete its financial restructuring within the next few weeks.

* The public service commissions of Arkansas and Mississippi filed a complaint with FERC Jan. 23 over the return on equity an Entergy Corp. subsidiary earns on power it supplies from the Grand Gulf nuclear plant.

* Consumers Energy Co. expects to seek the Michigan Public Service Commission approval for the sale of its retired B. C. Cobb coal-fired power plant to a single unnamed bidder in the coming weeks, according to

* NV Energy Inc. plans to build a 200-MW solar facility in Nevada by 2019, to help power Apple Inc.'s Reno data center. The Berkshire Hathaway Energy subsidiary plans to file an application with the Nevada Public Utilities Commission to enter into a power purchase agreement with Apple in the coming weeks.

* New Mexico Senate and House committees recommended the passage of bills that would reinstate a solar tax credit in the state for an additional eight years, The Associated Press reports.

* Eurus Energy America Corp. has placed into service its 27.6-MW Waianae solar project in Honolulu, according to a news release. The project, representing the largest array in operation in the state, will sell power to Hawaiian Electric Co. Inc. at about 14.5 cents/kWh.

Natural gas/midstream

* President Donald Trump's executive memo calling for swift federal action on the Dakota Access oil pipeline is likely to elicit a quick approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the last portion of the project that needs an easement, but the contentious venture will still probably end up in court, analysts said.

* TransCanada Corp. intends to meet with shippers to gauge their support for the long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline project after President Donald Trump signed an executive memorandum inviting the company to reapply and mandating an expedited review of the approximately C$8 billion project, The Canadian Press reports.

* Exxon Mobil Corp. named an atmospheric scientist to its board of directors, according to a news release. Susan Avery, the former president and director of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, will join the board effective Feb. 1.

* Continental Resources Inc. unveiled a $1.95 billion CapEx plan for 2017 that calls for allocating $1.72 billion to drilling and completion activities. The remainder will be invested in other opportunities, including leasehold and facilities. The company expects its full-year 2017 production to average approximately 220,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day to 230,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, compared with approximately 217,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day for 2016.

* The two legislative chambers of Texas are sparring on the funding of the Railroad Commission of Texas, with the state Senate seeking a $13.6 million budget cut and the state House of Representatives asking for a $35 million increase, Houston Chronicle's FuelFix reports.


* The U.S. House of Representatives is set to vote soon on a resolution to overturn the U.S. Department of the Interior's Stream Protection Rule affecting coal producers, one of several regulations that Republicans hope to rescind with Donald Trump in the White House.

* Murray Energy Corp. is looking to recoup $3.9 million in expenses lost along the way to a court win that forces the U.S. EPA to account for coal jobs lost due to the Clean Air Act. The requested $3.9 million award includes expert witness fees, attorney fees and other disbursements.


* The weekly natural gas inventory report to be released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration at 10:30 a.m. ET on Thursday, Jan. 26, is expected to show a sharp step down in the rate of storage erosion for the week to Jan. 20, with consensus well below the prior week's pull and trailing historical averages.

* After ending the prior session up 5.3 cents at $3.332/MMBtu, February gas retained an upside bias overnight ahead of the Thursday, Jan. 26, open, as short covering leading up to options expiration at the settle and lingering weather support undermined bearish expectations for the forthcoming storage data due out at midmorning.

* Price action for day-ahead power could be lifted Thursday, Jan. 26, by the combined support of mostly rising demand outlooks for the close of the workweek and ongoing gains at the natural gas futures arena. Advancing 5.3 cents in the prior session, February natural gas futures were extending those gains early Thursday ahead of the midmorning release of weekly storage data.

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New from RRA

* RRA offers a look at the implications of a potential change in the corporate tax rate and how state commissions addressed similar situations in the past.


"What we've heard … is that the administration was interested in getting big things done that would really create a lot of American jobs, create a lot of demand for steel and cement, and get big things built that are going to have value to the country long term," Clean Line Energy Partners executive Mario Hurtado said after one of the company's transmission line proposals was included on a list of "priority" infrastructure projects by the Trump administration.

The day ahead

* American Electric Power Co. Inc. will hold its fourth-quarter 2016 earnings conference call at 9 a.m. ET.

* 8point3 Energy Partners LP will hold its fourth-quarter 2016 earnings call at 4:30 p.m. ET.

* The EIA natural gas storage report is due out today.

* 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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