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Murray Energy blasts FERC; US Senate defeats repeal of new EPA power plant rule

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Murray Energy blasts FERC; US Senate defeats repeal of new EPA power plant rule

Murray blasts 'feckless' FERC, warns against short-sighted US energy policy

Coal magnate Robert Murray took the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to task Oct. 21 for not acting to protect the coal-fired generation fleet from what he said were biased wholesale power market pricing mechanisms. The head of Murray Energy Corp. blamed a "feckless" FERC for playing a significant role in the "destruction of America's coal industry," pointing to the agency's rejection of a U.S. Department of Energy proposal to stem retirements of coal and nuclear power plants (RM18-1) and inaction on a grid resilience review (AD18-7) opened around 20 months ago.

US Senate defeats effort to repeal new EPA power plant carbon rule

The GOP-majority U.S. Senate defeated a resolution to overturn the Trump administration's Affordable Clean Energy, or ACE, rule, which replaced the more stringent Obama-era Clean Power Plan for reducing carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector. Senate Joint Resolution 53 sought to rescind the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's ACE rule finalized in June. The regulation directed states under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act to form their own requirements for improving the efficiency of existing coal-fired power plants.

FERC chairman wants 'consensus' before moving forward on grid resilience docket

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Neil Chatterjee said Oct. 21 that he wants the agency to reach a "consensus" on how grid resilience should be defined before advancing a proceeding that U.S. coal interests are hoping will generate life-extending revenues for struggling plants. FERC launched the proceeding (FERC docket AD18-7) in January 2018 after a full complement of five commissioners unanimously rejected a proposed rulemaking from the U.S. Department of Energy that would have effectively subsidized uneconomic coal- and nuclear-fired units.

Miss. PSC grants Sierra Club's request for hearing on coal plant upgrades

The Mississippi Public Service Commission will hold a special hearing Oct. 24 regarding Mississippi Power Co.'s request to recover costs for upgrades at the Victor J. Daniel Jr. coal plant, after the Sierra Club filed a motion with utility regulators questioning the utility's strategy. On July 9, the Southern Co. subsidiary filed a petition with the PSC to approve its plans to spend about $62.5 million for three coal combustion residual projects at the 1,146-MW coal-fired plant. The coal ash projects include closing an ash pond, building a wastewater facility and converting bottom ash collection facilities.

Mo. commission orders Evergy to defer Sibley retirement cost savings

The Missouri Public Service Commission will require Evergy Inc. subsidiary Evergy Missouri West to defer cost savings tied to the retirement of three coal units. The commission voted 4-1 on Oct. 17 to direct the company, known in the case under its former name, KCP&L Greater Missouri Operations Co., to set up a regulatory liability account for certain revenue and returns associated with Sibley generating units 1, 2 and 3. The decision grants a request made in December 2018 by the Missouri Office of Public Counsel and the Midwest Energy Consumers Group, which wanted to capture cost savings from the retirements and defer them until a future rate case.

FERC allows Dominion to transfer Va. coal plant's power agreement to Con Edison

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved Virginia Electric and Power Co.'s application to transfer its power purchase and operating agreement for the output of the 242.3-MW Birchwood coal plant to power marketer and service company Con Edison Energy Inc. The power plant, in King George County, Va., is interconnected to the PJM Interconnection market.

Ky. utility seeks extension of policy aimed at helping coal suppliers

Kentucky Power Co. is asking regulators to extend a program that gives Kentucky Power some flexibility in three of its tariffs to offer special contracts with coal companies and coal processing businesses. The American Electric Power Co. Inc. subsidiary said Oct. 15 that it plans to file an application with the Kentucky Public Service Commission to extend the Coal Plus Program.