Thursday, March 30, 2017

Company Briefs

Westinghouse Files for Bankruptcy

Toshiba subsidiary Westinghouse Electric filed for bankruptcy Wednesday, after suffering billions of dollars in losses related to four nuclear reactors under construction in the Southeast.

Bankruptcy enables Westinghouse to evaluate whether to continue construction of the first new U.S. nuclear projects in decades for SCANA and Southern Co.

SCANA, the majority owner of the V.C. Summer project in South Carolina, said it reached an agreement with Westinghouse to continue the work while it determines the best path forward. Southern Co., which is constructing the Vogtle project in Georgia, said it would hold Westinghouse and Toshiba accountable for its contract.

More: Reuters

Otter Tail Planning 250 MW Natural Gas Plant in SD

Otter Tail Power said Monday it plans to build a $165 million, 250-MW natural gas plant near Astoria, S.D., which will help make up for the planned closure of its Hoot Lake coal-fired plant in Fergus Falls by 2021.

The new plant, expected to go online by 2021, will feature a simple cycle gas combustion turbine.

Otter Tail previously announced plans to build a $250 million, 150-MW wind farm in southeastern North Dakota, which will partially replace power generated at Hoot Lake. The farm will more than double the utility’s wind capacity and is its largest capital project.

More: Star Tribune

Anheuser-Busch Commits to 100% Renewable Energy

Anheuser-Busch InBev announced it will transition to 100% renewable energy by 2025.

The move makes it the largest brewer in the world to commit to procuring all its electricity from renewable sources.

More: Sierra Club

Enbridge Appeals 5 Years of Minnesota Property Taxes

In a move that could cost several northern Minnesota counties millions of dollars, Enbridge Energy has appealed five years of property taxes, claiming the state’s Department of Revenue unfairly valued its pipeline network.

Enbridge’s pipelines run through 13 Minnesota counties. In 2015, the Revenue Department valued the pipeline system at $7.13 billion, while Enbridge valued it at $4.25 billion, Minnesota Tax Court filings show.

Enbridge says a November Minnesota Supreme Court ruling on a tax appeal by Minnesota Energy Resources Corp. buttresses its case. MERC had challenged the Revenue Department’s valuation of its pipelines for 2008 through 2012.

More: Star Tribune

CPS Will Close Coal Plant Despite Trump’s Plans to Undo Regulations

CPS Energy will continue its plan to decommission its coal-fired Deely Power Plant by 2018, regardless of plans by the Trump administration to undo former President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan.

Over the past five years, the San Antonio-owned utility has diversified its generation mix with wind, solar and other clean energy sources. CEO Paula Gold-Williams said the utility has monitored discussions surrounding the Clean Power Plan but is standing by its plan to create a greener and more diverse power portfolio. She noted the plan has been underway for almost a decade.

More: San Antonio Business Journal

Tesla’s New Solar Roof Tiles Hit Marketplace in April

Tesla will begin selling solar roof tiles through its SolarCity division in April, according to CEO Elon Musk.

It isn’t clear when production and deliveries will start. In October, the company projected it could eventually capture 5% of the nation’s roofing business with the new tiles.

More: USA TODAY

Source: Toshiba Wants Westinghouse Bankruptcy Filing by Tues.

Toshiba wants its U.S. nuclear unit Westinghouse to file for Chapter 11 by Tuesday, seeking to ringfence the losses before the parent company’s financial year ends, a source with direct knowledge said.

The source said Toshiba favors Tuesday because it doesn’t want the filing too close to its Thursday shareholders’ meeting that will seek approval for the sale of its memory chip unit.

Toshiba on Monday reiterated its past statement that it is premature to comment on a potential bankruptcy.

More: Reuters

NiSource Announces COO Retirement, Other Promotions

NiSource announced Friday that Jim Stanley, executive vice president and chief operating officer, will retire effective June 1 after more than 40 years in the energy industry.

Vegas

Additionally, Pablo Vegas has been named executive vice president of the company’s gas segment and chief customer officer, effective May 1. His responsibilities will include leading field operations across NiSource’s seven natural gas companies. Vegas joined NiSource in 2016 as president of Columbia Gas Group.

Mike Finissi will become executive vice president of safety, capital execution and technical services. He will be responsible for capital programs, engineering, safety, environmental, technical training and shared services. Finissi previously served as senior vice president of capital execution.

More: NiSource

Peabody Chapter 11 Plan Shifts Mine Cleanup Costs to Government

A Chapter 11 bankruptcy plan and related settlements approved Friday by a federal judge for Peabody Energy will shift cleanup costs for 22 mining sites to the government.

The plan allows Peabody to pay about 2% of as much as $2.7 billion asserted by federal, state and tribal authorities for the sites, which are polluted from lead and zinc mining that ended decades ago. The sites are located primarily in the central U.S.

More: The Wall Street Journal

Del. Supreme Court: ETE Had Right to End Williams Merger

The Delaware Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Energy Transfer Equity had the right last summer to end a 2015 merger agreement with Williams Co. that was then valued at $37.7 billion.

The ruling upholds a prior decision by the state’s Chancery Court rejecting Williams’ suit against ETE alleging it breached the merger agreement by failing to “use commercially reasonable efforts” to obtain a needed tax opinion and “reasonable best efforts” to complete the transaction.

More: Tulsa World

APS Proposed Rate Hike Meets Consumer Pushback

A proposed rate hike by Arizona Public Service that would include increasing monthly service fees, altering the peak usage rate and lowering compensation rates for excess energy produced by solar panels is meeting pushback from consumers.

Initially, APS asked the Arizona Corporation Commission to allow it to raise rates by about $166 million a year, which would have amounted to an $11/month average increase for residential customers. In March, APS and other groups reached a compromise and lowered the requested increase to $6/month.

The commission will vote on the rate increase this summer.

More: Cronkite News; The Arizona Republic

Xcel Plans to Build 2 Wind Farms for $1.6B

Xcel Energy announced Tuesday it has filed proposals with regulators in New Mexico and Texas to construct and operate two wind farms and to purchase wind under a third transaction.

The new wind facilities, a 520-MW farm about 20 miles south of Portales New Mexico and a 478-MW farm in Hale County, Texas, would cost $1.6 billion to build, said David Hudson, president of Xcel Energy of New Mexico and Texas.

The company also plans to purchase an additional 230 MW of wind energy under a long-term power purchase agreement with NextEra Energy resources.

More: The Associated Press

NV Energy Disconnects Last Coal Unit in Southern Nevada

Calling it a big step toward Nevada’s goal of lowering energy emissions, NV Energy last week disconnected its last coal-fired unit. The unit was the last of four units located at the Reid Gardner Generation Station in Moapa. The other units were disconnected in 2014.

The Reid Gardner station is scheduled to be demolished by the end of this year.

More: KSNV

Xcel Looking to Invest Billions in Wind Energy

Xcel Energy is looking to invest between $3.5 billion and $4.4 billion in wind power across seven states, from Minnesota to New Mexico.

Xcel wants to build or buy up to 3,380 MW of power from 11 new wind farms as part of its “steel-to-fuel” strategy, adopted in 2016 to take advantage of low prices for wind farms and turbines because of the federal production tax credit.

If regulators approve all projects, wind would make up 35% of Xcel’s total power portfolio by 2021 — nearly double its 19% share in 2016.

More: Denver Business Journal

Xcel Unveils 3 More Wind Projects for Upper Midwest

xcelXcel Energy last week unveiled details of three new wind projects planned for Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota that will increase its Upper Midwest wind generation capacity by 800 MW.

The 600-MW Crowned Ridge Wind project would span three eastern South Dakota counties, and another 100-MW project would be located in North Dakota’s Mercer and Morton counties. The third project will replace an aging facility near Lake Benton, Minn.

All projects, which are subject to regulatory approval, are expected to produce power by 2020.

More: Star Tribune

Enterprise Buys Bankrupt Azure’s Gas Pipeline Assets for $189M

Enterprise Products Partners announced it had the winning bid of $189 million in an auction to buy the natural gas pipeline assets of the bankrupt Azure Midstream.

The win allows Enterprise to expand its presence in East Texas and northern Louisiana with 960 miles of natural gas gathering pipelines, three processing facilities, and two natural gas liquids pipelines that can each ship 10,000 barrels daily.

The deal could be finalized as soon as April.

More: FuelFix

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