55,000 Messages Against FirstEnergy Bailout for Aging Plants

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享From the Associated Press:Two proposed power agreements in Ohio are seeing a pushback campaign organized by alternative energy supporters.The Alliance for Energy Choice says nearly 55,000 emails have been sent to the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, Gov. John Kasich’s office and state legislators over the past two weeks.The messages raise objections to separate proposals by Akron-based FirstEnergy and Columbus-based AEP that ask regulators to permit rate increases to maintain certain aging coal-fired and nuclear plants.Major appliance, steel and chemical companies, consumer groups and many energy-related entities are against one or both deals. The Sierra Club has parted with some other environmental groups and supports AEP’s plan.FirstEnergy, AEP deals in Ohio prompt 55K protest emails 55,000 Messages Against FirstEnergy Bailout for Aging Plantslast_img read more

‘Left Holding the Baby When Bankruptcy Finally Comes’

first_img‘Left Holding the Baby When Bankruptcy Finally Comes’ FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Keith Williams for Seeking Alpha:Summary:Public coal companies have a debt problem through acquisitions at inflated prices.Self-bonding by coal companies for clean-up is being called out as drastically inadequate.New coal plant construction drastically reduced as international agreement in Paris signals the end of the industry.The cost of coal to society from environmental and health damage is being talked about and carbon is getting priced.Renewable energy is winning investment dollars.It has taken a long time, but at last there seems to be acceptance that recovery for the coal industry isn’t going to happen next year, and longer time frames are too long for companies like Peabody Energy (NYSE:BTU) to cope with. In my view, there will be some recovery for the industry as mines close down, but the recovery will only be for an orderly wind up of the industry. There will be no return to the good times.Coal companies can’t downsize their way out of this through asset sales as there are no buyers at realistic prices. BTU is in serious trouble because its recent proposed sales to Bowie Resource Partners (Pending:BRLP) (involving $358 million) have been delayed and time has run out. Worse, BTU has acknowledged going concern issues in its latest 10-K report and it has elected to exercise a 30-day grace period related to interest payments due March 15. The self-bonding issue is starting to bite. Coal imports in key markets of China (imports down 10.2% and coal production down 6.2% in the first 2 months of 2016) and India (coal tax doubled, pollution worse than China) are in dramatic decline; Vietnam is stopping its coal expansion. In this environment, it isn’t surprising that US coal exports are in decline (down 23% in 2015 year on year and the third year of decline), and coal production will decline 3% in the US this year.On the above issues alone, it is hard to see how a brief but dramatic price recovery for BTU was anything other than a mirage based on a short squeeze. Investors can make up their own minds, but care is needed not to be left holding the baby when bankruptcy finally comes.The coal industry is in decline and its demise needs to be managed. Since a major issue is cleanup of shuttered mines, governments will have to manage this. Questions are being raised about how this will be done. I don’t believe that the coal industry will for much longer be able to shrug off responsibilities while making (or losing) money from exploiting coal. That game is just about up. Reports by medical groups are adding to the concern about this issue. And messing with employees’ pensions and health benefits is going to be looked at more closely going forward.Full article: Why Investment in Coal No Longer Makes Senselast_img read more

On the Blogs: Electric Cooperatives in Southern U.S. ‘Frozen in the 1950s’

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享From ChiefOrganizer.org:Looking at all available information on 313 cooperatives and their governance and representation structure in the twelve-state southern region, the Rural Power Project found that time had stopped and the leadership structure of many of rural electric cooperatives seemed “frozen in the fifties.”The report examined available documents revealing governance and representation patterns in 313 cooperatives in the South and found that of the 3051 supposedly democratically elected board members, 2754 are men or 90.3% and 297 members are women or 9.7%. This compares to a South-wide gender distribution of 48.9% men and 51.1% women. Examining available information on the racial and ethnic representation was even more difficult. The project found 1946 of the members are white or 95.3% throughout the South, while only 90 or 4.4% of the members are African-American. Of the more than 2000 governing positions for which information was available, only six (6) members were Hispanic or 0.3% of the total. In the southern states, 69.23% of the population is white, while 22.32% are black, and 10.19% identify as Hispanic.Half of the states (Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee) had three (3) or fewer African-Americans represented in cooperative governance at any level with Louisiana and Kentucky only have one (1) and Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee having only two (2). Despite the fact that Florida counts almost one-quarter (24.1%) of its population as Hispanic and Texas totals more than one-third (38.6%) Hispanic, there is only one (1) Hispanic board member in Florida and only five (5) in the whole state of Texas.As cooperatives have become economic development and social services intermediaries for government and other agencies as key pillars of United States rural policies, such a lack of diversity and equitable representation tend to continue bad historical practices and stand in the way of the future most would like to envision for the South.ACORN and its partners recommend intervention to assure democratic norms, including transparency in election and reporting matters along the lines passed in Colorado in 2010, as well as more aggressive compliance and regulatory action by the states and federal government. Many state utility commissions need to exert authority and federal loans need to be conditioned on democratic procedures.Rural Electric Cooperatives: A Story of Democracy Defeated and Discrimination UncheckedFull report: Democracy Lost and Discrimination Found: The Crisis in Rural Electric Coops in the South On the Blogs: Electric Cooperatives in Southern U.S. ‘Frozen in the 1950s’last_img read more

PJM: FirstEnergy coal plant closures no threat to reliability

first_imgPJM: FirstEnergy coal plant closures no threat to reliability FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Platts:Retirement of FirstEnergy Solutions’ 4,004 MW of coal and diesel generating units in Ohio and Pennsylvania by June 2021 and June 2022 will not adversely impact reliability, PJM Interconnection said Monday in revealing the results of a new study.PJM completed its 30-day reliability analysis of the units Friday, according to an emailed statement. While the report is not public, it will be discussed at an October 11 Transmission Expansion Advisory Committee meeting and the presentation slides will be posted to the grid operator’s website October 8, spokesman Jeff Shields confirmed in an email Monday.“The planned deactivations can proceed as scheduled without compromising reliability in the PJM transmission grid, according to the study,” the statement said. “Any potential reliability impacts will be addressed by a combination of already planned baseline transmission upgrades and the completion of new baseline upgrades.”Akron, Ohio-based FES, formerly a subsidiary of FirstEnergy, has said it will continue normal operations at the facilities until the announced retirement dates. FES announced the power-plant retirements in an August 29 statement.FES plans to close its largest coal-fired facility, Bruce Mansfield Units 1-3, with a combined capacity of 2,490 MW, on June 1, 2021. The largest coal-fired plant in Pennsylvania, the facility is in Shippingport, on the state’s western border with Ohio.The 2,233 MW W.H. Sammis facility, which has seven coal-fired units and five oil-fired peaking units, is 25 miles southwest in Stratton, Ohio, on the Ohio River. It is FES’ largest coal-fired plant in Ohio. FES said it will deactivate Units 5-7, with a combined coal-fired capacity of 1,490 MW, on June 1, 2022, and one 13 MW diesel oil unit on June 1, 2021. In the northern part of Ohio near Cleveland is Eastlake 6, a 24 MW coal-fired unit that FES has said it will deactivate on June 1, 2021.More: FirstEnergy Solutions can retire 4,004 MW of fossil generation without reliability impact: PJMlast_img read more

RWE cancels plans for 1,200MW lignite plant

first_imgRWE had originally started planning for the for the 1,200 megawatts (MW) lignite-fired power station at Niederaussem in 2012 to replace older generation units at the site that uses locally mined brown coal with latest coal-burning technology at that time. But the project was languishing when the wholesale power market slumped between 2012 and 2016 in the wake of the financial crisis and because of overcapacity, which led to major reorganisation in the industry. RWE’s chief financial officer Markus Krebber last week told Reuters the company would spend billions of euros in coming years on green power, alongside storage technologies and gas-fired power. German utility RWE is to cancel future investment in coal-fired power plants, including a large brown coal power plant at Niederaussem near Cologne, to focus on renewables. The company is planning a major reorganisation later this year under which RWE will take over 10,000 MW of renewable power assets from subsidiary Innogy and rival E.ON , making it the world’s number five renewables company. “In the future, RWE will focus on electricity generation from renewable energy sources. Consequently, the company will no longer invest in new coal-fired power stations,” it said in a statement on Friday. Analysts say that global climate goals and the environmental case against carbon emissions from coal burning now make projects such as Niederaussem unrealistic.center_img RWE cancels plans for 1,200MW lignite plant FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters: More: RWE cancels plans for new coal plants, including Niederaussemlast_img read more

Morningstar: Gas generation could top coal in Midcontinent power market this year

first_imgMorningstar: Gas generation could top coal in Midcontinent power market this year FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):Coal generation within the Midcontinent ISO is rapidly losing ground to natural gas power in early 2019, Morningstar Commodities Research power and gas associate Dan Grunwald wrote April 24.In April, coal and natural gas economics inverted in MISO, indicating that gas is set to overcome coal as the No. 1 generation source for the ISO as it did in the PJM Interconnection for the first time in 2018. Meanwhile, as natural gas “is having its moment,” renewables are quickly becoming mainstream, Grunwald wrote.Earlier this month, the U.S. Energy Information Administration again reduced its forecast for future coal production in the U.S. as power plant retirements are expected to continue. If Grunwald is correct that the underlying fuel dynamics are leading to increased natural gas dominance in MISO, the ISO will join much of the rest of the U.S. in ceding coal generation’s lead role to natural gas. Only the Southwest Power Pool would still count coal as its dominant source of power, Grunwald wrote.“Changing dynamics this year as evidenced by April so far are pointing to the region approaching a tipping point in its generation stack,” Grunwald wrote. “If 2019 is not the year of natural gas in MISO, then 2020 surely will be.”For the past several years, coal and gas generation in MISO have risen and fallen together as the generation cycle moves between summer, winter and shoulder seasons. This shoulder season, however, natural gas continued to grow as coal generation dropped to a new low.“Beyond summer, current prices look to show natural gas pulling away further out into the curve,” Grunwald wrote. “This is not good news for coal as the reduced capacity factor from reduced run times has further put pressure on coal plant economics, which may lead them out of the market altogether.”More ($): Morningstar analyst: MISO fuel mix took sharp turn from coal in early 2019last_img read more

Trade association says record 39.2GW of new wind projects is in the development pipeline

first_imgThe U.S. saw the commissioning of 841 MW of wind farms in the first quarter of 2019, bringing the country’s cumulative installed capacity to 97,223 MW. Project developers signed 2,717 MW of power purchase agreements (PPAs), with utilities accounting for almost all of the contracts. “With nearly 40,000 MW in development, America’s largest source of renewable energy generating capacity is on a path to grow by 40 percent in the near term,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA. Those projects have brought the country’s overall construction and advanced development pipeline to a new high of 39,161 MW, representing an increase of 11% in sequential terms. According to AWEA’s US Wind Industry First Quarter 2019 Market Report, some 17,213 MW of the total projects were under construction across 21 states at end-March and 21,949 MW were at an advanced stage of development. The U.S. wind industry hit a new record after announcing 6,146-MW pipeline of projects under construction and development in the first quarter of 2019, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) said on Friday. More: U.S. wind project pipeline hits record 39.2 GW – AWEA FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Renewables Now: Trade association says record 39.2GW of new wind projects is in the development pipelinelast_img read more

Xcel plans to close its last two Midwest coal plants a decade early

first_imgXcel plans to close its last two Midwest coal plants a decade early FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:Xcel Energy Inc. plans to shutter its last two coal-fired power plants in the Upper Midwest a decade ahead of schedule as part of a pledge to phase out carbon-dioxide emissions.The Minneapolis-based company expects to close the Allen S. King power plant in 2028 and its Sherco 3 facility in 2030, according to a statement Monday. Both plants are in Minnesota.The shift comes as Xcel moves to cut carbon-emissions 80% by 2030 and 100% by 2050. In December, the company became the first big U.S. utility to commit to eliminating all its carbon emissions, mainly by using renewable energy. Xcel is accelerating its plan to close the two coal plants by seeking permission to operate its Monticello nuclear plant through at least 2040, instead of retiring it by 2030.“As we transition away from coal, we don’t want to move away from other baseload, carbon-free nuclear power,” Chief Executive Officer Ben Fowke said in an interview.Closing the two coal plants is part of a proposal for its Upper Midwest operations that Xcel will submit to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission in July. Xcel also has operations in Colorado, New Mexico and Texas. Coal currently provides about 37% of its power nationwide, according the company’s website.As part of the transition, Fowke also said he would consider systems to capture and trap carbon dioxide from gas or coal plants, as well as other emerging technologies including energy storage and hydrogen power. Renewables will be largest part of Xcel’s portfolio by next year.More: Two coal plants closing a decade early in the U.S. Midwestlast_img read more

Chinese companies to be major players in offshore wind market—Wood Mackenzie

first_imgChinese companies to be major players in offshore wind market—Wood Mackenzie FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:China’s offshore wind manufacturers could become the world’s leading suppliers, even if they fail to break out of their own domestic market.The potential size of China’s surging offshore wind market means that, despite having less advanced technology than their Western peers, Chinese original equipment manufacturers could lead the global offshore wind order rankings in years to come, said Luke Lewandowski, director at Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables.China is expected to install around 40 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity over the next 10 years, only 11 gigawatts less than the whole of Europe.Still, the prospect of Chinese OEMs overtaking current market leaders MHI Vestas and Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy on the broader global stage look hazy at best. “The Chinese manufacturers will be pretty much restricted to the Chinese market for the foreseeable future,” Lewandowski said.There are two main reasons for this, he said. First, the enormous size of offshore wind turbines increasingly demands localized manufacturing, which Chinese OEMs might find hard to establish outside of China.Second, and more importantly, is technology. Chinese manufacturers have yet to achieve the turbine sizes now offered by European OEMs, such as the 9.5-megawatt machines that MHI Vestas will be supplying to Vineyard Wind’s 800-megawatt project off the southern coast of Massachusetts, or the 8-megawatt turbines Siemens Gamesa is selling into Taiwan.More: Chinese firms could rule offshore wind market without ever leaving homelast_img read more

Blackhawk emerges, precariously, from bankruptcy

first_imgBlackhawk emerges, precariously, from bankruptcy FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享E&E News:Blackhawk had entered bankruptcy in July with a “prepackaged” plan to clean its balance sheets, but a sharp drop in global metallurgical coal prices drove the company back to the negotiating table with its creditors.Blackhawk, like most major American coal producers, has gravitated to steel-making coal, also known as coking coal, as demand has tanked for thermal coal burned at a steadily shrinking number of coal-fired power plants.But volatile export markets forced Blackhawk to shut down four mines and two coal preparation plants in southern West Virginia. The company encouraged 342 laid-off workers to apply for open positions within the company.As part of the reconfigured plan, Blackhawk sold off 20 million tons of coal reserves in Taylor County, W.Va. Arch Coal Inc. will pay $52.5 million under the deal expected to close in November.“Our industry remains challenged on several fronts, but today’s Blackhawk now boasts a resilient capital structure to complement our industry-leading employees and mining operations,” Blackhawk CEO Jesse Parrish said in a statement.More: Ky. company emerges from bankruptcy into harsh marketlast_img read more