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California's local power alternatives multiply; OPEC to ease its ceilings back


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California's local power alternatives multiply; OPEC to ease its ceilings back

Top News

California's local power alternatives multiply as debate over future intensifies

Three new local California power agencies known as community choice aggregators are rolling out retail electric service in June, accelerating an erosion of investor-owned utilities' customer base that the state's top regulator has described as a possible prelude to another energy crisis.

Pa. PUC votes to reopen Mariner East 1 NGL line, keep halting sister projects

Sunoco Pipeline LP can restart flows on its Mariner East 1 NGL pipeline but construction of the larger Mariner East 2 and 2X pipeline projects remains suspended after a series of drilling-fluid spills, the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission ruled.

Rail exec: Coal stable, but new plants unlikely without help of Trump, Congress

Absent orders from the president and his administration or the U.S. Congress, it is unlikely new coal-fired power plants will be built in the United States, a railroad executive said June 13.

OPEC will be easing its ceilings back, Saudi energy minister says

Saudi energy minister Khalid al-Falih on June 14 expressed confidence that OPEC and its non-OPEC partners will reach an agreement on gradually increasing output and loosening quotas when they meet next week in Vienna.


"Consumers deserve more choice through innovative community programs, renewable options and local control, They shouldn't be forced into an antiquated monopoly structure pushed by the investor-owned utilities' self-interest," East Bay Community Energy CEO Nick Chaset said in a June 13 op-ed piece in the San Francisco Chronicle on the growing defections of utility customers to community choice aggregators and other local power suppliers.


* Six years after first proposing the forward capacity market reforms, ISO New England implemented "pay-for-performance" incentives aimed at ensuring energy resources are ready and able to fulfill their obligations to provide electricity or reduce demand during times of stress on the power system.

* Critics argue that shielding investor-owned utilities from wildfires liabilities would put the financial burden on their ratepayers and make the utilities like financial firms that are too big to fail, The New York Times reported.

* Massachusetts electric distribution companies have successfully concluded negotiations for power supply contracts with Hydro-Québec's H Q Energy Services (US) Inc. and Avangrid Inc.'s Central Maine Power Co. to deliver emissions-free Canadian hydropower imports over a proposed Maine power line.

* The Southwest Washington Clean Air Agency imposed a fine of more than $331,000 on TransAlta Corp. over mercury emissions and improper operation of air pollution equipment at a coal plant, The Columbian of Vancouver, Wash., reported.

* Energy storage developer Convergent Energy and Power LP is looking expand its portfolio to about 130 MW by the end of 2019 from 66.5 MW currently, Bloomberg News reported.

* Minnesota regulators updated the state's interconnection standards, streamlining process for most solar projects, Midwest Energy News reported.

Natural gas

* A Republican U.S. senator from North Dakota introduced legislation that would streamline the permitting process for oil and gas pipeline projects and electric transmission line projects by removing the U.S. Department of State from the federal review process and by placing deadlines on the process.

* The U.S. State Department granted Howard Energy Partners a presidential permit for its Borrego pipeline, which will move gasoline and diesel from refineries in Corpus Christi, Texas to Mexico, the San Antonio Business Journal reported.

* National Grid USA agreed to pay $1.98 million to resolve a case with New York state regulators stemming from a 2015 gas explosion that injured two people.

* Interior Gas Utility completed the purchase of Pentex Alaska Natural Gas Co. from the Alaska Industrial Development & Export Authority for $61.3 million, the Anchorage (Alaska) Daily News reported.

* Intermountain Gas Co. is seeking approval from Idaho regulators to speed up replacement of aging plastic natural gas pipes, which are responsible for some fires and explosions across the U.S, the Idaho Statesman reported.


* Chevron Corp. plans to start up its carbon capture and storage project in Australia in 2018, the Financial Times reported.

* The South Dakota Supreme Court dismissed an appeal against TransCanada Corp.'s Keystone XL oil pipeline because the lower court lacked the jurisdiction to weigh the state Public Utilities Commission's decision to approve it, according to The Associated Press.

* Husky Energy Inc. is proposing to build two new oil pipelines in Saskatchewan to replace the one that leaked in 2016, The Canadian Press reported.

* Greenhouse gas emissions from PJSC Gazprom's core businesses in 2017 totaled 112.15 million tons of CO2 equivalent, down about 12.9% from 2013 levels, the company said June 13.

* Polish oil refiner PKN Orlen SA said that it will launch a petrochemical investment program worth 8.3 billion Polish zlotys, according to a June 12 release.


* Oakland, Calif., officials formally appealed a federal court judgment overturning a ban on transporting or storing coal in the city that has halted the development of a proposed export facility.

* Castleton Commodities International is considering the sale of its Cyrus River Coal Terminal load-out and storage facilities in West Virginia to a Turkish buyer, S&P Global Platts reported, citing multiple market sources.

* Total U.S. coal rail traffic for the week ended June 9 dropped less than 1% year over year to 85,160 carloads, according to data from the Association of American Railroads.

* Murray Energy Corp. received commitments from over 95% of lenders of outstanding term loans in connection with refinancing transactions.


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After U.S. President Donald Trump's historic meeting with North Korea's dictator Kim Jong-un in Singapore, some Western companies are preparing for the possibility of one day doing business in the reclusive totalitarian nation. But the country's lack of electricity access concerns companies and human rights organizations alike.

New from RRA

A settlement filed June 13 by OGE Energy Corp. subsidiary Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co., the Oklahoma Corporation Commission Public Utility Division staff, the Oklahoma Attorney General and certain other parties calls for OG&E to be ordered to reduce electric base rates by $64 million, effective July 1.

The day ahead

* The Baker-Hughes rig count is due out today.

* Early morning futures indicators pointed to a lower 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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