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FirstEnergy to abandon 856 MW of coal units; North Dakota sues EPA over methane emissions rule

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Essential Energy Insights - October 2021


FirstEnergy to abandon 856 MW of coal units; North Dakota sues EPA over methane emissions rule

FirstEnergy coal retirements likely part of broader merchant shift, potentialsale

FirstEnergy Corp.'sdecision to abandon morethan 850 MW of coal-fired capacity in Ohio, including four units at its 2,210-MWW.H. Sammis coal plant,could be part of a broader strategic shift around its merchant business. "They'relooking to cut costs and they're looking at shutting down assets," GuggenheimSecurities LLC analyst Shahriar Pourreza said in an interview.

SRP proposes seasonal curtailment of unit at Ariz. plant to meet hazerules

The Salt RiverProject could curtail a unit at its coal-fired Coronado power plant for several months of the yearto comply with regional haze requirements. Working with the state of Arizona, thepublic power utility has developed an alternative to installing a selective catalyticreduction system at unit 1 of the plant by December 2017, something favored by theU.S. EPA.

Agreement outlines change in coal ash disposal at Colstrip plant

Coal ash from the largest units at the Colstrip power plant inMontana must be stored differently in the future, according to an agreement reachedbetween the plant's owners and environmental advocates. The agreement, filed July21 with Montana State District Court in Rosebud County, calls for an end to coalash waste being disposed of as wet sludge dumped into waste impoundments.

Environmental report: New pipes in Appalachia incompatible with US climategoals

New pipeline infrastructure being developed to transport Appalachianshale gas will enable production growth that puts the U.S. on track to bust thenation's climate goals, according to a recent report supported by environmentalgroups. The report concluded that no pipelines or other energy projects should beconsidered unless they pass a climate test, and 19 proposed pipelines in the Appalachianbasin are incompatible with U.S. climate goals.

Climate action dominates Democratic energy platform

The Democratic Party's final policy platform for the 2016 electionsincludes plans to slash carbon emissions, phase down fossil fuel production on publiclands and get all U.S. electricity from "clean" sources by 2050. Somesay the platform is the party's most aggressive yet to address climate change, butthe document excludedproposals from more left-leaning Democrats to ban hydraulic fracturing across thecountry and end new leases for oil, gas and coal production on federal lands andwaters.

North Dakota sues EPA to stop oil, gas industry methane emissions rule

North Dakota has sued the U.S. EPA to stop the agency's recentlyfinalized methane emissions regulations on new and modified oil and gas industrysources. The rule limiting the sector's methane emissions goes beyond the EPA'sauthority and is an "abuse of discretion," the North Dakota attorney general'soffice said in a filing with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of ColumbiaCircuit.

MISO releases final version of Clean Power Plan analysis

The MidcontinentIndependent System Operator Inc. issued the final version of its analysisdetailing potential near-term and midterm impacts of the U.S. EPA's Clean PowerPlan. The latest version is similar to a draftthat MISO discussed during a June 15 Policy Advisory Committee meeting but accountedfor comments received through July on the report's executive summary.

EPA-imposed federal haze plan for Texas likely unlawful, appeals courtfinds

In a move heralded as a victory for coal-fired power plants inTexas, a federal appeals court stayed the implementation of the regional haze rulein that state and slammed the U.S. EPA for causing years of delay and failing toconsider the grid reliability impacts of the rule. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton'soffice released a statement applauding the court's decision to stay the rule, insistingthat it would have imposed $2 billion in costs without achieving any visibilityimprovements.

China's 2014 peak in coal use considered milestone in climate changebattle

China's coal consumption has peaked in 2014, The Guardian reportedJuly 25, citing official government statistics. This "turning point" in"the history of the climate and economy of the world" puts the countryon track to start lowering its total carbon emissions before 2025, several yearsahead of 2030, its official target date, according to Lord Nicholas Stern, a renownedclimate economist at the London School of Economics.

Proposed program changes drive up Calif. carbon prices, volume

Over-the-counter prices for California carbon allowances edgedslightly higher heading into the second half of July, extending after the California AirResources Board released a preliminary draft proposal that would allow for changesto the state's cap-and-trade program, including the implementation of new emissionscaps after 2020.