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In This List

New NY plant to benefit from Indian Point closure; Trump advances Keystone XL

Essential Energy Insights - September, 2020

Bull market leaves US utilities behind in August

Rate case activity slips, COVID-19 proceedings remain at the forefront in August

Utilities, midstream reckon with energy transformation on the horizon


New NY plant to benefit from Indian Point closure; Trump advances Keystone XL

Top News

Indian Point shutdown 'icing on the cake' for Cricket Valley's global investors

Advanced Power AG has closed financing on its 1,100-MW Cricket Valley Energy Center in New York's lower Hudson Valley, a $1.584 billion new-build gas-fired power project positioned as a likely beneficiary of the planned retirement of the Indian Point nuclear power plant complex outside New York City.

TransCanada to reapply for Keystone XL after Trump clears path

TransCanada Corp. plans to resubmit its application for the Keystone XL oil 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.

CCS proponents optimistic about White House energy plan

Lawmakers and carbon capture and storage advocates are optimistic about the White House's clean coal statements in its energy plan. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., released a comment applauding President Donald Trump's energy agenda, highlighting the clean coal comments and the planned elimination of "devastating policies like the Waters of the U.S. Rule."

Power

* Oklahoma Rep. Pat Ownbey, R-Ardmore and Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow, introduced two bills, H.B. 1891 and S.B. 282, which will prevent regulated utilities in the state from imposing interim rates if their rate cases are not decided by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission within 180 days from the filing date.

* S&P Global Ratings has listed California, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New York and Texas as the six U.S. utility regulatory hotspots to watch. According to analyst Todd Shipman, the six states "have initiatives in various stages along the way from proposal to implementation that could produce a profound shift in a jurisdiction's support for credit quality.

* Starting in March, We Energies plans to implement an "economic reserve" strategy at its 1,190-MW Pleasant Prairie coal plant in Kenosha County, Wis., idling the baseload facility for half the year to save money in a time of flat load growth and low natural gas prices, a company spokeswoman said Jan. 23.

* A magistrate judge has proposed to send back a case involving the ownership of riverbeds beneath NorthWestern Energy's hydroelectric dams in Montana to a state court, The Associated Press reports. The state court had previously ruled in favor of the state over its ownership of the riverbeds. NorthWestern Energy is known legally as NorthWestern Corp.

* U.S. Senate Democrats released a blueprint Jan. 24 for a $1 trillion infrastructure plan that in part would help upgrade the electric power grid, but the proposal needs buy-in from deficit-wary congressional Republicans and President Donald Trump.

* Moody's lowered its rating on Chief Power Finance LLC's senior secured credit facilities to B2 from B1, citing elevated debt refinancing risk due to lower excess cash flow generation than anticipated at the Keystone and Conemaugh coal-fired generating stations in Pennsylvania.

* Indiana state Sen. Brandt Hershman (R) authored a bill that would end the availability of net metering tariff to electric supply customers by June 30, 2027, among others.

* Former Pepco Holdings LLC President and CEO Joe Rigby and current American Water Works Co. Inc. CEO Susan Story are joining the board of directors of Dominion Resources Inc., according to a news release.

Natural gas/midstream

* U.S. President Donald Trump's team released a priority Emergency & National Security Projects list of 50 initial infrastructure developments in the pipeline, with an investment cost of $137.5 billion, according to a report by The Kansas City Star.

* Plains All American Pipeline LP agreed to acquire a large-scale crude oil gathering system in the Permian Basin for $1.22 billion and announced separate asset divestitures worth $380 million. Under the deal, Plains would buy the Concho Resources Inc./Frontier Midstream Solutions LLC joint venture Alpha Holding Co. LLC, which indirectly owns the Alpha Crude Connector gathering system.

* Halcón Resources Corp. is marking its entry into the Delaware Basin with a $705 million purchase of 20,748 net acres in Pecos and Reeves counties, Texas, and an option to buy an additional 15,040 net acres in Ward County, Texas, for $11,000 per acre. The company also reached an agreement to sell its East Texas Eagle Ford assets for $500 million, according to a news release.

* New York's nod to Dominion Transmission Inc.'s New Market project does not mean Northeast pipeline developers will find themselves on smoother terrain with state officials, according to industry observers.

* Piedmont Natural Gas Co. Inc. reached an interconnection contract with Optima KV LLC for the construction of new natural gas distribution lines and facilities that will supply alternative gas supplies to Piedmont. A confidential copy of the contract has been filed with the North Carolina Utilities Commission.

* Southern California Gas Co. said it ceased natural gas withdrawal operations at its Aliso canyon storage facility, and will keep its curtailment watch until further notice "SoCalGas will continue to monitor weather regionally and nationally and its potential impact on system conditions, including any need for additional withdrawals from Aliso to maintain the reliability of natural gas and electricity services," the company said.

* U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge David Jones plans to confirm LINN Energy LLC's proposed restructuring plan with a few changes, Reuters reports. The plan would see the company eliminate $5.5 billion in debt and split into two.

* A University of Alberta study, conducted in collaboration with Encana Corp., found that fluids produced by hydraulic fracturing have significant negative effect on rainbow trout, including oxidative stress, endocrine disruption and biotransformation.

Coal

* A word of advice from former George W. Bush energy advisers to President Donald Trump: put a price on carbon and hope for higher natural gas prices if you want to help save the coal industry. "No one can commit $3 billion to a clean coal plant that you do not know the carbon number on," said Jim Connaughton, former chairman of the White House Council on Environmental Quality and current CEO of Nautilus Data Technologies. "You will not make a venture investment in carbon technology unless you know there is a future for new coal, because who are you going to sell it to?"

* Murray Energy Corp. CEO Robert Murray told Bloomberg News in an interview that he believes President Donald Trump could help revive the coal industry "in three months" by acting upon his proposals. Murray's proposals calls for installing a fossil-fuel friendly Supreme Court justice, cutting U.S. EPA staff, eliminating the U.S. Department of Justice, rolling back the steam protect rule and allowing more natural gas exports to improve coal's competitiveness.

* CNX Coal Resources LP has announced its intention to file a universal shelf registration statement. If the statement is passed by the SEC, CNX will be permitted to offer and sell up to $750 million in debt securities, and common and preferred units representing its limited partnership interests, over a three-year period.

* The University of Denver has decided against divesting its investments in fossil fuel companies, saying "it would not be an effective means of mitigating global warming." However, the university's board of trustees agreed to adopt a formal policy related to climate change and sustainable development, according to a news release.

Commodities

* California carbon allowance prices at the secondary market edged higher during the week ended Jan. 23. The latest broker data showed the spot California carbon allowance contract was pegged in a bid-and-ask spread of $13.24/tonne to $13.33/tonne, up 1 cent week over week.

* Following a finish 3.6 cents higher at $3.279/MMBtu, February natural gas moved on either side of the prior day's settle overnight, searching for direction with changes in weather forecasts providing modest upside support, and with the anticipation of a step down in the rate of storage withdrawals when the EIA releases its next inventory report.

* Day-ahead power markets could see varied activity Wednesday, Jan. 25, as traders look to mixed load outlooks for the tail end of the workweek across the country. Participants will all watch the natural gas markets for pricing direction. Rising 3.6 cents in the prior trading day, front-month natural gas futures were slightly lower early Wednesday ahead of the opening bell.

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New from RRA

* According to Regulatory Research Associates, the D.C. regulatory environment continues to be relatively restrictive from an investor viewpoint, as noted in the Regulatory Review published Jan. 23.

* On Jan. 24, the New York Public Service Commission approved a three-year joint proposal for Consolidated Edison Co. of New York Inc.'s electric and gas operations, covering the Jan. 1, 2017, through Dec. 31, 2019, period. CECONY is a subsidiary of Consolidated Edison Inc.

Quoted

"We intend to fix our country, our bridges, our roadways. We can't be in an environmental process for 15 years if a bridge is going to be falling down or if a highway is crumbling. So we are expediting environmental reviews and approvals," President Donald Trump said in signing executive orders to streamline environmental reviews for infrastructure projects.

The day ahead

* Plains All American Pipeline LP will conduct a conference call at 8 a.m. ET to discuss its $1.22 billion acquisition of a Permian crude gathering system.

* 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.

The Daily Dose is updated as of 7:30 a.m. ET. Some links may require registration or a subscription. S&P Global Ratings and S&P Global Market Intelligence are owned by S&P Global Inc.