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Gas groups prep fight over DOE proposal; Miners, lawmakers wary of MSHA nominee

Top News

Trade investigators ding Suniva, SolarWorld for not providing competitive plan

SolarWorld Americas Inc. and Suniva Inc. faced tough questions after the companies failed to outline how they would adjust to foreign competition if President Donald Trump sets tariffs or other safeguards on imported solar cells and panels.

Gas groups prep fight over DOE demand for 'de facto subsidy' for coal, nuclear

Behind the scenes, gas industry lobbyists feel betrayed by the Trump administration's attempt to force the power markets to compensate nuclear and coal plants at the expense of gas. On the public stage, those same industry groups plan to get into the regulatory weeds and fight the U.S. Department of Energy on the plan to favor "reliability and resilience" over price before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Miners, coal-state lawmakers wary of MSHA nominee

Lawmakers and miners are looking warily at the Trump administration's nominee to lead the federal mine safety watchdog, a former coal executive whose company racked up a list of health and safety violations that triggered regulatory action.


* Stakeholders have yet to reach a consensus on proposals to adjust PJM Interconnection's capacity market to account for state subsidies to power plants, and a recent survey suggests many favor no change at all.

* A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency document outlines the agency's plan to repeal the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan and solicit input for "developing a rule similarly intended to reduce CO2 emissions from existing fossil fuel electric utility generating units," according to Reuters.

* Toshiba Corp. is moving to become the sole owner of its bankrupt unit Westinghouse Electric Co. LLC by acquiring the 10% stake held by Kazatomprom. Toshiba will pay about US$522 million to purchase the stake by Jan. 1, 2018.

* The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has missed a key deadline for informing states as to which counties and regions are out of attainment with the 2015 National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ozone, a date the agency tried to postpone by a year before backing off on that effort in early August.

* Dynegy Inc. has thrown its support behind the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency's multipollutant standard proposal that would replace two sets of annual emission rate limits with a single set of specific annual tonnage limits. The proposed rule change would affect eight of the company's coal-fired power facilities in downstate Illinois.

* About 76% of North American utility executives believe there is "at least a moderate risk" of electricity supply interruption from a cyberattack on electric distribution grids in the next five years, according to a new report from Accenture.

* The International Energy Agency forecasts global renewable electricity capacity to expand by more than 920 GW through 2022. Renewables accounted for almost two-thirds of net new power capacity around the world in 2016, with nearly 165 GW coming online, the IEA said.

* Watterra Energy LLC is proposing to study the feasibility of a 15.66-MW hydroelectric project at the existing Saylorville Dam on the Des Moines River in Polk County, Iowa, according to a notice published in the Federal Register.

* The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is conducting a special inspection at the Tennessee Valley Authority's Browns Ferry nuclear power facility near Athens, Ala., following a valve failure at unit 3.

* Tokyo Electric Power Co. has secured the first approval from Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority to restart its two nuclear power reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa facility, according to The Associated Press. The reactors were taken offline following the 2011 meltdown of the Fukushima Daiichi plant.

* The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has launched the Smart Sectors, a partnership program between the agency and regulated sectors "focused on achieving better environmental outcomes," according to an EPA release.

Natural gas/midstream

* Two American Petroleum Institute affiliates asked the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to expedite approval of the 1.1-Bcf/d PennEast Pipeline Company LLC natural gas transportation project between Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

* Consolidated Edison Inc. has filed a proposal with the New York State Public Service Commission to advance more natural gas efficiency programs in a bid to reduce gas usage and help meet the growing heating needs of its customers. The company forecasts a shortfall in existing pipeline capacity by 2023 and anticipates a 20% growth in natural gas usage in its service territory in the next 20 years.

* The American Petroleum Institute released a study indicating that increased U.S. natural gas exports could add up to $73 billion to the country’s economy by 2040, according to a press release. The study, conducted by ICF International, estimates current U.S. natural gas resources at about 3,700 Tcf, an increase from 2013 estimates of 3,550 Tcf.

* Ohio's Utica shale permitting data for September show the coming impact of Energy Transfer Partners LP's Rover Pipeline LLC.

* Energy Transfer Equity LP priced a $1.0 billion offering of its 4.25% senior notes due March 15, 2023, at 99.0%. The partnership plans to use net proceeds to repay a portion of outstanding debts under its senior secured term loan facility and for general partnership purposes.

* The U.S. Bureau of Land Management Uncompahgre Field Office approved a development plan for approximately 19,670 acres of federal and private mineral estate in Colorado. The Bull Mountain Unit Master Development Plan will pave the way for the development of up to 146 natural gas wells, four water disposal wells and construction of associated access roads and pipelines for leases operated by SG Interests I Ltd.

* Buckeye Partners has returned to service its oil terminal and storage tanks in Puerto Rico, which were shut down ahead of Hurricane Maria, Reuters reported.

* David Lang has joined law firm Baker McKenzie as a partner and its global head of LNG. Lang was previously with Vinson & Elkins LLP.


* The federal government plans to assess the market for electronic technology for underground coal mining health and safety. The U.S. mining industry faces barriers to the availability and implementation of safety technologies, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wrote in an Oct. 3 Federal Register notice.

* A bipartisan group of lawmakers is sponsoring federal legislation to shore up coal miners' pension funds that could otherwise go bankrupt in the next few years. "The bill we will introduce today, the American Miners Pension Act, protects the pensions of nearly 87,000 current beneficiaries and another 20,000 eligible coal miners with vested pensions," said Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., at a press conference in the Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 3.

* Thailand's Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai has indicated that the Asian country is open to buying 50,000 to 60,000 tonnes of coal from the U.S, The Nation reported. In a joint statement, U.S. President Donald Trump and Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha affirmed the "importance of promoting bilateral trade and creating favorable conditions for the business of both sides."

* Coal India Ltd. recorded year-over-year increases in monthly coal output to 38.8 million metric tons and shipments to 43.6 million tons for September, Bloomberg News reported.


* MDA Information Systems is calling for a "back-loaded winter" as near-normal temperatures this autumn will trend increasingly below normal through March 2018.

* Day-ahead power values could rise Wednesday, Oct. 4, as predominantly stronger demand forecasts for the latter part of the workweek join forces with a renewed uptick in natural gas futures.

* After extending 2.1 cents lower in the prior session to settle at $2.895/MMBtu, NYMEX November natural gas futures revisited the upside overnight ahead of the Wednesday, Oct. 4, open, in technical buying and with lingering weather support.

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New from RRA

* As a result of increasing regulatory and political opposition to South Carolina Electric & Gas Co.'s July 31 decision to abandon construction of the two unit V.C. Summer nuclear expansion project and concerns regarding the related cost recovery, RRA is lowering its rating of the South Carolina Regulatory environment to Average/2 from Average/1.


"It would be premature at this point ... for me to even imagine what the method of approaching the subject is going to be," FERC General Counsel James Danly testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources' energy subcommittee on the U.S. Department of Energy proposal calling on federal regulators to ensure full cost recovery for certain nuclear and coal-fired assets.

The day ahead

* The U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works will hold a full committee hearing at 10 a.m. ET in Room 406 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building to consider nominations of Michael Dourson, Matthew Leopold, David Ross, and William Wehrum to be assistant administrators of the EPA, and Jeffery Baran to be a member of the NRC.

* 8point3 Energy Partners LP will hold its third-quarter 2017 earnings conference call at 4:30 p.m. ET.

* Early morning futures indicators pointed to a lower 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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