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SunEdison said to be preparing for Chapter 11 filing; Blankenship trying to avoid imprisonment

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Essential Energy Insights - September 2021


SunEdison said to be preparing for Chapter 11 filing; Blankenship trying to avoid imprisonment

Top news

is preparing to filefor Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the coming weeks and is in talks withtwo creditor groups for a loan that would fund operations during the process, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing"people familiar with the matter." Separately, SunEdisonis seeking buyers for its 1 GW of assets in India, according to a report from livemint.com.

and FirstEnergy Corp.lobbied for nearly two years for Ohio regulators to approve their incomeguarantees for "vital" power plants that face economic challenges.Wall Street analysts also kept a close eye on the decision and its impact oncompany shares.

Federalenergy regulators on April 1 announced plans to develop new regulations andstronger oversight of the nation's natural gas storage systems. In light ofSouthern California GasCo.'s multimonth Aliso Canyon gas storage leak, the U.S. Departmentof Energy and the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administrationannounced a task force to determine how to improve system safety and preventsimilar incidents.

FormerMassey Energy CEO Don Blankenship is trying to avoid imprisonment with anuncommon request to the judge just days before his sentencing April 6. On March31, Blankenship's attorneys asked the judge to allow Blankenship to remain freeeven if sentenced to jail time until the defense completes a planned of a misdemeanor chargerelated to conspiring to violate mine safety laws.

Power

* added another$18 million to the totalcost of its PlantRatcliffe integrated gasification combined-cycle power project inKemper County, Miss., according to a Form 8-K . The Southern Co. unit also expects further cost overruns anddelays in the expected in-service date of the project. "Any extension ofthe in-service date beyond [Aug. 31] is currently estimated to result inadditional base costs of approximately $25 million to $35 million permonth," the company said.

* Acoalition of environmental and other groups, including the Sierra Club, theNature Conservancy and the Union of Concerned Scientists, is urging Congress toallocate $750 million for the Green Climate Fund in 2016 to help reducegreenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change, TheHill in Washington, D.C., reports.

*Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has signed into law legislation a 33-year-old moratorium onbuilding new nuclear plants in the Midwest state. The Republican governorapproved Assembly Bill 384 on April 1 to repeal a moratorium that preventedstate regulators from approving a nuclear plant if the project was noteconomically advantageous to ratepayers and until a facility to store all thespent fuel from reactors in the state had been built.

*TerraForm Global Inc.lenders have agreed to extend the deadline for the company to file its annualfinancial statements and accompanying report for 2015 to April 30, according toa company filing.

*NorthWestern Corp.d/b/a NorthWestern Energy has identified natural gas-fired generation as thelowest-cost/least-risk approach for addressing customers' peak demand needs.The company also identified the potential to add over 80 MW of zero-carbongeneration at the existing hydro facilities, accordingto NorthWestern's biennial electricity supply resource procurement plan.

*Hawaiian Electric Cos., or HECO, proposeda $340 million project to install smart grid technology for more than 455,000customers on Oahu, Hawaii Island and in Maui County. If approved by Hawaiiregulators, installation of smart meters is expected to begin as early as 2017on Oahu and 2018 on Hawaii Island and in Maui County. Residential customers whochoose not to have a smart meter installed would pay a monthly charge of about$15. Hawaiian Electric Co.Inc., Hawaii ElectricLight Co. Inc. and Maui Electric Co. Ltd. are collectively referred to asHECO.

*SolarCity Corp has closeda solar renewable energy certificate transaction that will provide up to $40million of residential and commercial solar funding. The financing willmonetize the stream of SRECs produced by a portion of SolarCity's underlyingprojects, the company said.

Natural gas/midstream

*PostRock Energy Corp.and certain subsidiaries filed voluntary petitions for relief under Chapter 11 ofthe U.S. Bankruptcy Code in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western Districtof Oklahoma to facilitate an orderly sale of substantially all of their assets,according to a Form 8-K filing.

*Two law firms, RosenLaw Firm and Pomerantz LLP,have filed class-action lawsuits on behalf of investors who purchasedSempra Energysecurities from May 14, 2015, through Nov. 23, 2015. The lawsuits seek torecover damages for Sempra investors under the federal securities laws.

*National Grid LNG LLC askedFERC for a certificate of public convenience for authorization toconstruct, own and operate a project that would add natural gas liquefactionfacilities at the company's LNG storage facility in Providence, R.I.

*CenterPoint EnergyInc. subsidiary has closedits $77.5 millionacquisition of the retail energy services business of ,including its Lakeshore EnergyServices LLC subsidiary. The acquisition also includes the natural gaswholesale assets of Continuum Energy Services.

* is seekingapproval from West Virginia regulators to expand its natural gas distributionline inBerkeley, Jefferson and Morgan counties, TheAssociated Press reports. The expansion project is estimated to cost about$45 million. "[I]f all goes well, we could be hooking up customers by theend of 2017," MosesSkaff, Mountaineer Gas senior vice president, was quoted as saying.

*Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP has fileda class-action lawsuit seeking injunctive relief on behalf of shareholders inconnection with the company's proposed merger agreement with Dominion Resources Inc.

Coal

*Under current marketconditions, closing unit 3 of the Naughton coal-fueled plant in Wyoming at theend of 2017 would be more economical than converting it to natural gas aspreviously planned, PacifiCorp said as it announced the filing of its 2015 integrated resourceplan update with public utility commissions in the six states it serves.

*Coal-fired power plant retirements are growing on a global scale, led by thosein the U.S. and Europe, but the retirements are not happening quickly enough tocounteract the building of coal plants in other parts of the world, fromthe Sierra Club, Greenpeace and CoalSwarm.

*Operations at a section of New Mexico's Navajo coal mine have been nearly a yearafter a court halted development and mining until the U.S. Office of SurfaceMining Reclamation and Enforcement could complete a more thorough environmentalanalysis of the project.

Commodities

*LNG shipments to NewEngland dropped versus the prior winter but still in spite ofa mild winter and low spot natural gas prices as the global market continued todrive cargoes to the region.

* Aftera settle 0.3 cent lower at $1.956/MMBtu ahead of the weekend, May natural gasfutures were higherin overnight trading leading up to the Monday, April 4, open, as supportiveweather forecasts indicating lingering cold and building heat that should driveongoing heating demand and early cooling load once again reflected more onvalues than did pressure from hefty inventories.

*Price activity for day-ahead power delivery could be in the week's openingsession Monday, April 4, as mixed but generally stronger demand outlookscombine with recent volatility in front-month natural gas futures trading.

* during the weekended March 31 as natural gas prices rose toward the $2 mark.

*After recent strength, New Jersey solar renewable energy credit pricesrolled lower duringthe final week of March. Garden State energy year 2016 SRECs posted an index at$285.06/MWh, losing more than $7 on the week.

New from RRA

* Inrecent years, state regulators and others, including many customers, havechallenged the ROEsbeing utilized by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to set transmissionrates. The challenges have frequently cited lower capital costs for utilitiesand the new, two-step DCF methodology adopted by FERC in Opinion 531 in 2014.

*On March 31, filed arequest with the North Carolina Utilities Commission, or NCUC, fora $41.6 million (9.7%) gas rate increase.

Quoted

TheU.S. EPA's Clean Power Plan "carefully respects the independence of statesovereigns and reflects the kind of cooperative federalism [we] sought tochampion," former agency administrators William Ruckelshaus and WilliamReilly said in abrief filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

"Thisisn't the Wild West. This is one of the most regulated industriesanywhere," saidStradley Ronon attorney Andrew Levine, dismissing concerns about theenvironmental effects of building a Philadelphia energy hub.

The day ahead

*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.