States, generators urge ISO-NE to rethink market design amid push for renewables
Concerned about the competitiveness of the ISO New England's wholesale electricity markets as states procure ever-larger amounts of renewable energy, New England state regulators and merchant generators asked the regional power grid operator to rethink how its market frameworks can accommodate states' clean energy and climate policies.
Stalled gas pipeline projects unlikely to get relief under EPA rule, experts say
Even as industry welcomes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's latest proposal aimed at preventing states from blocking infrastructure projects, experts say the policy is unlikely to give gas pipelines the boost they want.
McKinsey: Oil, gas producers slow to embrace 'era of cash'
All independent oil and gas companies will have to drop the idea of growth at all costs and focus on free cash flow if unconventional production is to be profitable, McKinsey & Co. said in a report released Aug. 15.
Coal producers eye competitors' domestic market share as export market falters
U.S. coal executives are keeping an eye on a turbulent market for seaborne coal as domestic demand continues to retreat, but several publicly traded names in the space reported their organizations are built to handle the stress, according to a review of second-quarter earnings calls.
"Even if investors believe that climate change risks are material to valuation, they may also believe that such risks will not be considered by other investors for some time," researchers with Columbia University's Center on Global Energy Policy said in their report finding that neither equity nor debt markets have strongly reacted to Pacific Gas and Electric Co. and parent company PG&E Corp.'s joint bankruptcy.
* Roughly 5,200 MW of power dropped from the grid operated by the Electric Reliability Council Of Texas because of generator outages on Aug. 15, leading to the second emergency alert in a week calling on consumers to reduce their energy use.
* The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality released the state's clean energy plan, which recommends reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector by 60% to 70% below 2005 levels by 2030.
* PG&E Corp. plans to file its reorganization plan by Sept. 9 after a bankruptcy judge granted it the sole right to submit its proposal, according to Reuters.
* Also in PG&E-related news, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Dennis Montali ruled Aug. 16 that a lawsuit by a group of victims of the 2017 Tubbs wildfire against PG&E Corp. can go to trial, which could lead to additional billions of dollars in liabilities for the utility.
* When analyzing climate change-related risks and opportunities, U.S. electric utilities should look across all of their business units and take a much deeper dive into the ramifications of potential future physical challenges such as extreme temperatures, water availability, sea-level rise, wildfires and hurricanes, according to a report by M.J. Bradley & Associates for environmental group Ceres.
* Hunt Power LP scrapped its planned Verde transmission line in New Mexico due to changing circumstances affecting its long-term viability, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.
* The city council of Farmington, N.M., approved the transfer of a 95% interest in the San Juan Generating Station to Enchant Energy after the city inherits the power plant, the Farmington Daily Times reported. This is intended to keep the power plant running after 2022.
* Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers signed an executive order creating the Office of Sustainability and Clean Energy to support the state's goal of being 100% carbon-free by 2050.
* Grand River Dam Authority voted to decommission its retired Grand River Energy Center coal-fired unit 1 in Mayes County, Okla., Power Engineering reported.
* The Sacramento Municipal Utility District decided to buy the 7-MW Chili Bar hydroelectric project from PG&E Corp. for $10.4 million, the Sacramento Business Journal reported.
* Monterey Bay Community Power and Castle Wind LLC signed an agreement to enter into a future long-term power purchase agreement for about 1,000 MW from a future offshore wind project in California.
* Cheniere Energy Inc. cannot start foreclosure proceedings against the subsidiary of a former business partner that Cheniere accused of failing to pay back a $46 million loan to develop LNG projects, according to an Aug. 13 ruling by a Texas appeals court.
* South Dakota is considering a legislative solution to its abandoned well problem, local newspaper the Sioux Falls Argus Leader reported.
* Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC voluntarily suspended tree clearing and other construction work on its 2-Bcf/d natural gas pipeline project in places where such activities could harm federally protected wildlife or degrade wildlife habitat, after environmental groups sued the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over authorizations for the project.
* Alaska natural gas producer Furie Operating Alaska LLC filed for bankruptcy protection due to lack of production in Cook Inlet and tax credit payments, the Anchorage Daily News reported.
* OPEC once again trimmed its 2019 outlook for global oil demand growth while maintaining its forecast for 1.1% growth in 2020.
* The Standing Rock Sioux tribe is asking a judge to resolve all legal challenges to federal permits for Energy Transfer LP's Dakota Access oil pipeline, according to The Associated Press.
* Houston-based oilfield services major Baker Hughes a GE company saw its stock price tumble by almost 6% on Aug. 15 to its lowest level in almost eight months after majority shareholder General Electric Co. was accused of committing "bigger fraud than Enron" and using Baker Hughes to do it.
* BW Offshore Ltd. received approval from the Brazilian National Agency of Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels to get the participating interests of Chevron Corp. and Petróleo Brasileiro SA - Petrobras in the Maromba field and become an operator in the country.
* Seadrill Ltd. and Gulf Drilling International Ltd. formed a joint venture to initially manage and operate five premium jackups in Qatar under contracts valued at $656 million.
* Navajo Transitional Energy Co. LLC emerged as the winning bidder for substantially all of Cloud Peak Energy's assets following a competitive auction as part of its Chapter 11 process.
* Two major coal producers recently announced plans to shut down one of their Illinois Basin coal mines amid weak market conditions, a move that may signal the start of consolidation in the region.
With oil and gas drillers filing for bankruptcy at a rising clip in 2019, credit rating agencies said the number of companies in distress is marching higher and they are bracing for more credit downgrades and Chapter 11 filings this fall.
New from RRA
* In a recommended decision dated July 30 but made public Aug. 15, the administrative law judge conducting Peoples Natural Gas Co. LLC's pending rate case recommends that the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission adopt a settlement authorizing the company a $59.5 million overall gas rate increase versus the $94.8 million increase proposed by the company.
The day ahead
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