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FERC OKs 2 Eastern gas pipes; SJI to buy 2 Southern Co. Gas utilities

Q3: U.S. Solar and Wind Power by the Numbers

Path to Carbon-Free Power Generation by 2035

The Growing Importance of Data Centers for European & U.S. Renewable Projects

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FERC OKs 2 Eastern gas pipes; SJI to buy 2 Southern Co. Gas utilities

Top News

FERC approves 2 Eastern gas pipelines: Atlantic Coast, Mountain Valley

A divided Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued certificates to the Dominion Energy Inc.-led Atlantic Coast pipeline and the EQT Midstream Partners LP-led Mountain Valley pipeline, both of which would move natural gas from the Appalachian production zone to mid-Atlantic and Southeast markets.

FERC chair: Baseload plants can be compensated without blowing up markets

Speaking to reporters at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's headquarters in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 13, Chairman Neil Chatterjee said he is "sympathetic" to some of the concerns raised by U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Rick Perry about existing power market structures.

South Jersey Industries in $1.7B play to acquire 2 Southern Co. Gas utilities

South Jersey Industries Inc. agreed to acquire the assets of Southern Co. Gas' utility operating divisions, Elizabethtown Gas Co. Inc. and Elkton Gas Co., in an all-cash deal with an enterprise value of $1.7 billion. The transaction is expected to be completed by the third quarter of 2018. Southern Co. Gas is a Southern Co. subsidiary.

FERC will not alter pipe reviews after court, state challenges, chairman says

The chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said his agency will not adjust its reviews of interstate pipelines even after recent court and state decisions introduced uncertainty into the federal process for natural gas infrastructure.

Report: 21% of US coal fleet 'uneconomic,' could face retirements, conversions

A recent energy analysis determined that more than 20% of the nation's coal-generating capacity in 2016 is uneconomic and could face retirement or conversion to other energy sources.

Power

* If PG&E Corp.'s utility infrastructure is found to have played a role in causing some of the massive wildfires sweeping Northern California, the company could face significant liability, especially as the death toll rises.

* Fortis Inc. increased its five-year capital investment plan by C$1.5 billion to approximately C$14.5 billion for the period 2018 through 2022 and raised its fourth-quarter common stock dividend by 6.25% to 42.5 Canadian cents per common share, according to a company statement.

* Do not expect efforts that businesses have taken to become more sustainable to come to a halt, even as the Trump administration takes steps to roll back Obama-era climate and environmental policies, corporate leaders told a New York City audience.

* With Entergy Corp. trading at an approximately 12% discount, Jefferies LLC upgraded its investment opinion on the company to "buy" from "hold" and raised its EPS estimate for 2019 to $5.08 from $5.00. Separately, Jefferies downgraded El Paso Electric Co. to "underperform" from "hold" based on lower estimates due to an update to the forecast model.

* The nuclear energy industry's lobbying arm called on federal regulators to eliminate an "unnecessary and burdensome" layer in certifying applications for new reactor designs.

* Invenergy LLC is set to notify Polish government officials of a $700 million wind farm contract dispute under the U.S.-Poland Bilateral Investment Treaty and the Energy Charter Treaty, The Financial Times reported.

* The Bonneville Power Administration has decided to implement its part of the 230-kV Vantage to Pomona Heights transmission line project in Grant and Yakima counties, Wash., according to a notice published in the Federal Register. Pacific Power will build, operate, and maintain the project, which will extend from PacifiCorp's existing Pomona Heights substation to BPA's existing Vantage substation.

* Robert Kavlock, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's acting science adviser, told CNN that he is retiring from his position, effective Nov. 3. Kavlock was quoted as saying in an email that "the time was right to go for a variety of reasons."

* Williams Capital Group LP initiated coverage on Pattern Energy Group Inc. with a "buy" rating and a $28 target price. "Although we do believe the company has some near-term challenges, such as pre-announcing a weaker than expected [third quarter 2017] and possible [fourth quarter 2017] — and we would always welcome more guidance/communication here — we believe the long-term opportunities available to this more conservative, cerebral yieldco outweigh the negatives," analyst Cynthia Motz wrote in an investor note.

Natural gas/midstream

* The Enbridge Inc.-led Sabal Trail Transmission LLC asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for permission to place another part of its 1.1-Bcf/d natural gas pipeline in service, even as FERC urges a federal court to revisit a ruling that vacated the project's Natural Gas Act certificate.

* The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality issued a notice of violation to Rover Pipeline LLC over a petroleum discharge into wetlands adjacent to the Portage River.

* Enterprise Products Partners LP is slowing its distribution growth and moving toward self-funding of its capital spending to account for wary midstream sector investors.

* The Kansas Corporation Commission is putting the responsibility of fixing a natural gas leak through unplugged abandoned wells to Northern Natural Gas Co., The Associated Press reported. But Northern Natural Gas, which owns the underground storage facility penetrated by the leak, wants the KCC to force the well owners to plug the wells.

* California Attorney General Xavier Becerra is appealing a Sacramento County judge's decision to rewrite an official ballot description of a proposed gas tax repeal, The Associated Press reported. A Republican gubernatorial candidate sued over the language Becerra used, which indicated that it would eliminate transportation funding, AP added.

* ConocoPhillips Alaska wants to see what the North Slope play could offer with a plan to drill five exploration wells in early 2018, the Alaska Dispatch News reported.

Coal

* Vistra Energy Corp. subsidiary Luminant Generation Co. LLC will close the coal-fired Sandow and Big Brown plants, which total about 2,400 MW, in 2018, it said Oct. 13.

Commodities

* Price indications for 2017 Cross-State Air Pollution Rule seasonal nitrogen oxide emissions for 2017 continued to leak lower in value during the middle of October. Prices were assessed in a bid-and-offer spread of $275 to $375 during the week that ended Oct. 13, easing from $300 to $375 the week prior.

* The price of power could favor the downside in the week's opening session Monday, Oct. 16, as predominantly softer demand prospects for Tuesday combine with renewed losses in natural gas markets.

* After advancing 1.1 cents to settle at $3.000/MMBtu ahead of the weekend, NYMEX November gas recoiled overnight leading up to the Monday, Oct. 16, open in renewed selling amid overbought conditions and anticipation of moderating weather that looks to drive down demand.

* Offshore oil and natural gas production in the Gulf of Mexico continues to ramp up after Hurricane Nate forced the evacuation of more than 300 platforms through Oct. 7.

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New from RRA

* The parties to South Jersey Gas Co.'s pending base rate case (Docket No. GR-17010071) filed a settlement Sept. 29, and the administrative law judge recommended adoption of the agreement on Oct. 2; as a result, the case is expected to be included on the agenda for the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities' public meeting of Oct. 20. If the BPU approves the agreement, the new rates would become effective Nov. 1.

Quoted

"We've invested nearly two decades and billions and billions of dollars in our existing market structure, and I don't want to do anything to disrupt that market structure and I want to ensure that whatever step the commission takes withstands legal scrutiny," FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee said in response to U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry's proposal to ensure cost recovery for certain coal and nuclear plants.

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.

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