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In This List

Seller's market for wind assets persists; coal must 'evolve with the grid'

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


Seller's market for wind assets persists; coal must 'evolve with the grid'

Top News

Seller's market for wind assets persists

The market to acquire wind generation remains robust, whether for development assets or legacy projects, with contracts or without, according to deal-makers at the American Wind Energy Association's annual Wind Energy Finance & Investment conference in New York City on Oct. 1-2.

Army Corps halts work on Mountain Valley gas pipeline at Va. water crossings

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Oct. 5 suspended a key permit for Mountain Valley Pipeline LLC, halting construction on the 2-Bcf/d gas project at 383 stream crossings and 142 wetland crossings in southwest Virginia.

DOE: Coal must 'evolve with the grid,' lower carbon capture costs

A U.S. Department of Energy official called on carbon capture representatives to cut the technology's cost in half to save a struggling coal sector.

US may use strategic reserves to replace Iranian oil, energy researchers say

The Trump administration may feel forced to open the taps on the Strategic Petroleum Reserve after November sanctions on Iranian crude take that oil supply off the market, potentially spiking U.S. gasoline prices, according to a pair of energy policy experts.

Quoted

"Advanced economies currently use up to 20 times more plastic and up to 10 times more fertilizer than developing economies on a per capita basis, underscoring the huge potential for global growth," said a report by the International Energy Agency that found that petrochemicals are set to become the leading driver of global oil demand, ahead of the trucking, aviation and shipping industries.

Power

* The United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said in a report that food shortages and wildfires could worsen as soon as 2040 as a result of climate change, according to The New York Times.

* Public Service Enterprise Group Inc. warned New Jersey utility regulators that its two nuclear plants in the state will shut down in three years without financial support from a new subsidy program for at-risk nuclear generation.

* The Wisconsin Public Service Commission accepted on the third attempt an application for the Cardinal-Hickory Creek transmission line between northeast Iowa and Middleton, the Wisconsin State Journal reported. The $500 million project is owned by American Transmission Co. LLC, ITC Midwest LLC and Dairyland Power Cooperative.

* Despite predicting a strong third quarter for El Paso Electric Co. amid renewed M&A rumors, a Wall Street analyst reduced the utility's earnings estimates and said its stock is still overvalued.

* The expansion of wind energy in the U.S. could result in an increase of the nation's temperature, The Associated Press reported, citing a new Harvard study, due to the way the spinning blades disturb layers of cold and warm air in the atmosphere.

* The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality's tests on water samples on Duke Energy Corp.'s L.V. Sutton facility showed that all metals were below state water quality standards, except for dissolved copper.

* A new Brattle Group study says at least 700 MW of energy storage can be deployed cost effectively in Nevada by 2030.

* Utilities do not see the Trump administration's proposed replacement to the Clean Power Plan slowing the closure of U.S. coal-fired power plants, according to a survey by Reuters.

Natural gas

* Columbia Gas of Massachusetts was not prepared for a disaster on the scale of the explosions and fires that swept through three communities Sept. 13, the state's U.S. senators alleged in an Oct. 4 letter.

* Five Republican senators are calling for new guidance from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over a Clean Water Act statute that was previously used to restrict natural gas pipeline development, The Hill reported.

* The investigative unit of Pennsylvania's utility regulatory body recommended that UGI Utilities Inc. pay a $2.09 million fine for its role in a deadly house explosion in 2017 caused by natural gas.

* Exxon Mobil Corp. announced that it will begin natural gas exploratory drilling off the coast of Cyprus by the end of 2018, despite warnings by Turkey against exploration in those areas, the AP reported.

Oil

* On Nov. 5, the U.S. government is due to reimpose sanctions on Iran's exports of oil; the uncertainty related to the size and timing of the resulting production losses are supporting crude oil prices at their highest levels since 2014, Goldman Sachs analysts said.

* Baker Hughes, a GE company, agreed to acquire a 5% stake in ADNOC Drilling, valuing it at $11 billion. ADNOC Drilling is a subsidiary of United Arab Emirates' Abu Dhabi National Oil Co.

* President Donald Trump could announce by 3 p.m. on Tuesday the lifting of the ban on the summer sales of higher-ethanol blends of gasoline, according to Reuters.

* Saudi Arabia will press ahead with Saudi Arabian Oil Co.'s initial public offering by 2021 after the planned purchase of a stake in petrochemicals maker Saudi Basic Industries Corp. delayed the state oil giant's public listing, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told Bloomberg.

Coal

* U.S. coal exports totaled 9.1 million tonnes in August, up 5.5% from July and up 17.3% from the year-ago month, according to U.S. Census Bureau data released Oct. 5.

* The federal bankruptcy court rejected FirstEnergy Solutions Corp.'s attempt to cancel a "burdensome" 6.5 million-ton annual coal supply contract with Murray Energy Corp.

ChartWatch

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* The combined oil and natural gas rig count in the United States was down two to 1,052 rigs in the week of Oct. 5, according to Baker Hughes' latest North American Rotary Rig Count.

New from RRA

* The Michigan Public Service Commission recently approved a settlement authorizing Consumers Energy Co. a $10.6 million gas base rate increase premised upon a 10% return on equity.

The day ahead

* Early morning futures indicators pointed to a lower opening for 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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Click here to read about today's financial markets, setting out the factors driving stocks, bonds and currencies around the world ahead of the New York open.

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