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Solar industry rues 'lost opportunity'; Goldman sees oil, gas stocks improving


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Solar industry rues 'lost opportunity'; Goldman sees oil, gas stocks improving

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Despite development boom, US solar industry rues 'lost opportunity'

Trade disputes and sunsetting federal subsidies have combined to inflict a year-end malaise on an otherwise booming U.S. solar market.

New Yorkers mull lawsuits over National Grid gas moratorium despite settlement

National Grid USA's settlement with the New York utility regulator may not be sufficient to compensate customers impacted by a 2019 natural gas moratorium, which could lead them to pursue lawsuits against the company, according to consumer and building construction groups.

Goldman Sachs sees oil, gas equity sentiment improving in 2020

Investor sentiment toward energy stocks will improve through 2020 as capital discipline exercised by U.S. producers is set to drive improved performance by sector companies, Goldman Sachs analysts said in a recent research note.

US weekly coal production declines 9% YOY

Total U.S. coal production in the week ended Dec. 28, 2019, dropped 9% year over year to 10.4 million tons from 11.4 million tons, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.


"Based on the evidence, we see no reason to conclude that U.S. LNG exports will increase global [greenhouse gas] emissions in a material or predictable way," the U.S. Department of Energy said in an update to a study on greenhouse gas emissions associated with U.S. LNG exports.


* Two nonprofit wholesale electric utility cooperatives in Kansas — Sunflower Electric Power Corporation Inc. and Mid-Kansas Electric Co. LLC — have merged in a move that is expected to save the companies about $500,000 on an annual basis.

* Ameren Transmission Co. of Illinois completed a 96-mile, 345-kV transmission line and a substation in northeast Missouri. The Mark Twain transmission line project runs west from Palmyra to Kirksville, Mo., then north to the Iowa border.

* Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy SA extended a guarantee line with lender Danske Bank A/S to €150 million from an initial €100 million, and signed a new €140 million guarantee line with Mizuho Bank Europe NV, bringing Siemens Gamesa's total green guarantee lines to €1.72 billion for 2019.

* Pattern Energy Group Inc. closed financing and started construction on the repowering of its Gulf Wind facility in Kenedy County, Texas. The project involves the replacement of the current wind turbines with 118 new Siemens Gamesa SWT-2.3-108 turbines, which will generate 271 MW of capacity.

* Global energy consumption is expected to increase by nearly 50% by 2050, driven mostly by high demand in countries not part of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, according to a report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

* The share of renewable energy in Germany's power mix increased to 46% in 2019, Reuters reported, citing data provided by Fraunhofer.

* Operators of motorway service stations in the U.K. say that their efforts to install electric vehicle charging points have been held up by a lack of sufficient power grid infrastructure at their sites, The Financial Times reported.

Natural gas

* The U.S. Energy Department announced it will invest nearly $25 million in 16 projects designed to improve the safety and efficiency of natural gas production and transportation infrastructure.

* Sempra LNG LLC and Aramco Services Co. Inc. signed an interim project participation agreement for the Port Arthur LNG project in Jefferson County, Texas, setting forth certain mechanisms for the parties to work towards these and other pre-final investment decision activities.

* A subsidiary of midstream developer and operator Energy Transfer LP will pay $30.6 million for failing to promptly correct environmental violations discovered after the Revolution natural gas pipeline exploded in September 2018 after heavy rains and a landslide in Beaver County, Pa.

* Former U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry was reappointed as a director Energy Transfer LP's general partner, according to an SEC filing.

* Storage operators pulled a net 58 Bcf from natural gas inventories in the Lower 48 during the week to Dec. 27, 2019, compared to a five-year-average draw of 89 Bcf, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported.

* Among major midstream players, TC Energy Corp. stock returned 56%, Kinder Morgan Inc. equity returned 44% and Enbridge Inc. shares returned 36% during 2019, Forbes ranked the top performing energy companies.


* Exxon Mobil Corp. could see a $3.4 billion to $3.6 billion gain in its upstream earnings for the fourth quarter of 2019 due to its recent divestiture of nonoperated Norwegian upstream assets, according to a recent filing with the SEC.

* The Trump administration is said to be making changes to the National Environmental Policy Act that would make it easier for projects like pipelines, highways and other major infrastructures to secure approvals, The New York Times reported.

* BP PLC has created Launchpad, a subsidiary to form five $1 billion businesses by 2025, to help cater the "dual challenge" of supplying more energy with fewer emissions, the Financial Times reported.

* The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that U.S. crude oil and petroleum stockpiles moved in opposite directions in the week to Dec. 27, 2019, with crude oil inventories, excluding the strategic petroleum reserve, declining 11.5 million barrels from the week prior to 429.9 million barrels.

* Equinor ASA is aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at its offshore oil fields and onshore facilities by 40% by 2030 and reach near zero emissions by 2050.

* The Mexican government hedged oil exports at $49 per barrel in 2020, Bloomberg News reported.

* The killing of Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani has raised security concerns for oil shipments in the Persian Gulf, The Wall Street Journal reported. Oil companies have increased infrastructure security, while Exxon Mobil may be calling its U.S. staff in Iraq back stateside due to security concerns, the Journal reported separately.

* Brent crude rose 1.5% to $69.67 per barrel, amid simmering tensions in the Middle East, CNBC reported.

* Russia might be in play to sell oil to Belarus on the terms set in 2019, saving the latter $1.6 billion in shipment costs, Bloomberg News reported, citing a person familiar with the matter.


* Total U.S. coal rail traffic for the week ended Dec. 28, 2019, decreased 11.7% year over year to 60,454 carloads, according to data from the Association of American Railroads.

* CEZ Group sold its end-of-life Počerady coal-fired power plant in the Czech Republic to Severní energetická a.s. for 2 billion Czech koruny, effective Jan. 2, 2024.


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Solar capacity is on the rise across Europe as costs fall and subsidies become scarce, leading to utility-scale projects increasingly being realized — a trend set to continue into 2020, investors say.

New from RRA

* PG&E Corp. shares lifted 2.7% for the week through midday on Nov. 3, following two consecutive weeks of under performance to close out the 2019 trading year.

The day ahead

* 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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