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Energy editors' picks: PJM capacity auction results offer some surprises

SNL Energy editors' picks for the best stories for the week ended May 26.

1. Lower than predicted PJM capacity auction results offer some surprises

Although the rate of new build slowed, a lower demand forecast, robust demand response, a slight uptick in energy efficiency and bidding strategy all contributed to what analysts saw as mixed but overall disappointing results from the PJM Interconnection's 2020/2021 Base Residual Auction, or BRA.

2. The story behind the modern natural gas industry's boldest prediction

Penn State geologist Terry Engelder grew up studying the geology of the black shales of New York and Pennsylvania. His niche research was vaulted to prominence when shale gas drillers began looking outside Texas for fresh shales to frack. His research and mapping of the Marcellus Shale laid the groundwork for a production boom that turned peaceful Pennsylvania farmland into the world's second-largest gas field.

3. Broad synergies a powerful rationale for Vistra as it evaluates M&A

As the latest publicly traded independent power producer, Vistra Energy Corp. joins a sector feeling investor pressure to grow earnings and return value to shareholders, more often through leveraged acquisitions, which it too could soon pursue.

4. PPL shareholders approve climate change analysis as issue gains traction

PPL Corp. shareholders, in what is seen as a landmark vote, recently approved a nonbinding proposal calling on the electric utility to assess the long-term impacts of climate change policies and technological advances on its portfolio.

5. Coal sector talks of 'mixed signals' as Trump budget cuts coal funds

Plenty in the U.S. coal sector are still cheering the optimism they feel from the election of President Donald Trump, but they are contending with some mixed signals from the White House.