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Sept. 19-23: NY corruption inquiry; CO2 shoes


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Sept. 19-23: NY corruption inquiry; CO2 shoes

A brief lookback at successes and setbacks in the energy industry.


8POINT3 — 8point3 EnergyPartners LP updated full-year earnings guidance after fiscalthird-quarter results topped itsfinancial targets. The yieldco, a partnership between and , saw adjusted EBITDAmore than triple to $32.9 million for the quarter ended Aug. 31, compared toEBITDA of $9.7 million for the same quarter of 2015. 8point3 also recorded a$17.3 million year-over-year increase in cash available for distribution to$24.1 million for the most recent quarter.

FORTIS — FERCon Sept. 23 signedoff on the planned $11.3 billion acquisition of by Several parties, mainlythose in Iowa that rely on ITC for transmission service, raised concerns aboutthe proposed acquisition's effect on rates, but FERC said the applicants'pledge that "the ITC Operating Companies will not, at any time, seek torecover transaction-related merger costs in rates" should address thoseissues. Fortis also announced approval by Wisconsin regulators Sept. 23. The deal has receivedapproval in most states where ITC operates, with Kansas still pending.

ENERGYSTOCKS — Energy stocks were last week, alongwith broader markets, by the Federal Open Market Committee's to leave its targetfederal funds rate unchanged at a range of 0.25% to 0.5%."The Committee judges that the case for an increase in the federal fundsrate has strengthened but decided, for the time being, to wait for furtherevidence of continued progress toward its objectives," the FOMC said inits Sept. 21 monetary policy statement.

NRG CO2 SHOE — NRG EnergyInc. was on hand at New York Fashion Week to unveil a capturedfrom one of its plants. Theso-called "shoe without a footprint" was made using carbon foam, andis the initial result of NRG's $20 million research and development partnershipwith the Canada's Oil Sands Innovation Alliance. "The shoe is anexample of hope," said Paul Bunje, principal and senior scientist atXPRIZE. "We have 47 different approaches to turning CO2 into a product."


NEXTERA — NextEra EnergyInc.'s week got off to a good start, with a federal bankruptcyjudge on Sept. 19approving EnergyFuture Holdings Corp.'s request to enter a deal to be acquired byNextEra, along with the Texas company's 80% stake in . Butthree days later, the Public Utility Commission of Texas sent a message thatearning state approval for the deal is not going to be a cakewalk. Commissioner KennethAnderson criticized certain provisions of the merger agreement as an attempt to"force it down ourthroats," and PUCT President Donna Nelson called it "a stepbackwards" with respect to Oncor's ownership.


JOSEPH PERCOCO — U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New YorkPreet Bharara on Sept. 22 announced a federal inquiry against Joseph Percoco, andseven others, related to the alleged exchange of $600,000 in bribes to gainapproval to build a power plant in New York's Hudson Valley. Percoco is aformer top aide to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and a executive. "CPVtakes the charges handed down today very seriously. We are extremelydisappointed in the alleged conduct, which is in direct contradiction to CPV'score values," a CPV spokesman said. Percoco's attorney slammed thecase as "an overreach of classic proportions."

LEON COOPERMAN —The SEC announced Sept.21 that it has charged Omega Advisors Inc. founder Leon Cooperman with insidertrading related to his purchase of shares in a pipeline company ahead of amajor asset sale. Cooperman was among the largest shareholders in AtlasPipeline Partners when the company planned to sell its natural gas processingfacility in Elk City, Okla. The SEC alleges that he used his position to gainconfidential details about the sale and bought shares prior to theannouncement. After the disclosure of the sale, shares of Atlas Pipeline jumped31%, the SEC said. Atlas Pipeline is now part of followinga 2015 merger. The SEC also claimed Cooperman attempted to cover his tracks atthe energy company after learning of the federal investigation. Cooperman hassaid the allegations are without merit.

PUERTO RICO — Amassive blackout inPuerto Rico cut power for almost 1.5 million customers and lasted . "Theentire island is without power," Angel Crespo, director of Puerto Rico'sfire department, said, according to The Associated Press. The said two 230-kV transmission lines failed and a firebroke out in a switchyard of the utility's Central Aguirre power plant. Powerwas beginning to return late Sept. 21.

ATLANTIC COASTPIPELINE — Atlantic Coast Pipeline LLC and Dominion Transmission Inc. have to their natural gas pipeline and header projects back by about a year, to thefourth quarter of 2019. As recently as February, developers still targetedfourth-quarter 2018 to put the up-to-1.5-MMDth/d pipeline in service.Dominion Energy Inc.spokesman Aaron Ruby said the developers had to revise the timetable based onFERC's schedule for environmental review, with approval expected in late summeror fall 2017, adding that the lengthy process has strengthened the project.Dominion ResourcesInc., Duke EnergyCorp., PiedmontNatural Gas Co. Inc. and SouthernCompany Gas are the developers and owners of the proposed AtlanticCoast pipeline.