Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Company Briefs

Dominion Planning $1.8B Pumped Hydro Facility

Dominion Energy is planning to invest more than $1.8 billion to build a pumped hydroelectric storage station for Virginia’s coalfield region.

Dominion has not yet decided which county to locate the facility in, but it expects to have the site selection process narrowed down to a handful of sites within a few months, said Greg Edwards, an external affairs representative for the company.

He said the project could take up to seven years to complete.

More: The Register-Herald

Westinghouse Extends Assessment Agreement for V.C.

The co-owners of the two-unit expansion of the V.C. Summer nuclear plant reached an agreement Monday with Westinghouse Electric to extend an interim assessment agreement scheduled to expire that day.

The agreement reached by SCANA subsidiary South Carolina Electric & Gas and Santee Cooper with the bankrupt Toshiba subsidiary provides an extension to Aug. 10, subject to approval by bankruptcy court.

The project owners said their goal is to decide in the third quarter the most prudent path forward for the project.

More: Power

Ralph LaRossa Elected COO of PSEG Power

LaRossa | PSEG Power

Public Service Enterprise Group announced Friday that Ralph LaRossa has been elected president and chief operating officer of PSEG Power, effective Oct. 2, 2017.

LaRossa was elected president and COO of Public Service Electric and Gas in October 2006. He joined PSE&G in 1985 as an associate engineer and advanced through a variety of management positions in the utility’s gas and electric operations. In January 2014, he was appointed chairman of the board of PSEG Long Island.

He succeeds William Levis, who in December announced his plans to retire. David M. Daly, who is currently president and COO of PSEG Long Island, was elected to succeed LaRossa in both his current roles.

More: PSEG

Enel Acquiring EnerNOC for $300M

Energy software firm EnerNOC has agreed to be acquired for $300 million by Enel Green Power North America, an American subsidiary of Enel Group.

Under the deal, which is expected to close in the third quarter of 2017, Enel will pay $7.67/share, which is approximately 42% more than EnerNOC’s share price at the close of the market on Wednesday.

After its stock prices fell in 2015, EnerNOC has been undergoing restructuring that has included multiple rounds of layoffs. At the end of 2016, it had 1,077 employees, down from 1,366 a year earlier, according to regulatory filings.

More: Boston Business Journal

PSC Tells Mississippi Power to Abandon Coal at Kemper

Mississippi regulators voted Wednesday to have Mississippi Power’s $7.5 billion Kemper plant abandon coal and operate as a natural gas facility.

By unanimous vote, the Public Service Commission agreed to instruct its lawyers to prepare a proposal by July 6 that would revise the plant’s operating license, remove responsibility from ratepayers for the plant’s lignite coal technology and related assets, and involve no increase for ratepayers.

The vote came after years of missed deadlines and cost overruns for the facility.

More: The Meridian Star

FirstEnergy EVP James Lash Retiring in Aug.


FirstEnergy has announced that James Lash, president of FirstEnergy Generation, will retire effective Aug. 1, 2017, after 28 years with the company.

Upon Lash’s retirement, Chief Nuclear Officer Samuel Belcher will be the company’s primary contact with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Institute of Nuclear Power Operations, Nuclear Energy Institute and other nuclear industry groups.

More: FirstEnergy

Judge Blocks Merger of Waste Control Specialists, EnergySolutions

A federal judge Wednesday sided with the Justice Department in blocking a $367 million merger between EnergySolutions and Waste Control Specialists.

The department sued in November, claiming the merger would create a monopoly on radioactive waste disposal. WCS characterized the deal as essential to its long-term viability.

WCS has an application pending with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to store nuclear spent fuel from across the country at its Texas facility. In April, it asked regulators to put the review on hold as it continued to lose money to the lawsuit.

More: The Texas Tribune

Dominion Creating Habitats for Birds Bees, Butterflies

Dominion Energy launched an effort Tuesday to create more natural habitats for butterflies, bees, birds and other pollinators in Virginia and North Carolina.

Under its “Wings at Work” initiative, Dominion will plant pollinator-specific plants in appropriate habitats in electric transmission and distribution corridors. The company also will add 60 new acres of habitat to the 43,000 acres it already owns.

Dominion also is working to create sanctuaries for pollinators in the right of way along the Atlantic Coast Pipeline route.

More: Dominion Energy

Cypress Creek Drops Solar Complaints Against Duke

Cypress Creek Renewables notified state regulators that it was dropping complaints alleging Duke Energy violated federal and state regulations by establishing a five-year power purchase agreement for larger utility-scale solar projects that made it impossible to obtain financing.

The complaints, filed with the North Carolina Utilities Commission against Duke Energy Progress and Duke Energy Carolinas, alleged Duke decided projects ranging from 5 to 80 MW would get the five-year PPA. Previously, Duke offered 10- to 15-year PPAs for such projects, according to the filings.

The dismissal notice, as well as a statement put out by Cypress Creek, did not say whether a settlement agreement was reached.

More: Charlotte Business Journal

Duke Withdraws Request to Use Chemicals Risky to Water

Duke Energy withdrew a request to add chemicals to reduce air pollution at several of its North Carolina coal-fired plants amid concerns about an increase in contaminants in drinking water.

After Duke began using calcium bromide in 2013 to wash coal at plants based near Charlotte, trihalomethane levels in drinking water rose close to federal and state limits.

Duke said it can meet air quality standards without adding halides (bromides are a type of halide) in its plant permits.

More: The Charlotte Observer

Clean Coal Technologies Building Wyo. Coal Treatment Plant

Clean Coal Technologies has announced an agreement with Wyoming New Energy to build a 2 million-ton coal treatment facility in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin.

Wyoming New Energy signed an agreement to raise $80 million in debt financing with investment bank Piper Jaffray to build the plant, which will be the first commercial facility employing Clean Coal’s technology.

The technology, which was tested at a site in Oklahoma, allows the coal to be treated and dried without spontaneously combusting or immediately reabsorbing moisture from the air, according to the company.

More: Casper Star-Tribune

Patricia Vincent-Collawn Elected as First Woman Chair of EEI Board


Edison Electric Institute members have elected PNM Resources CEO Patricia Vincent-Collawn as chairman of the board. She is the first woman elected to that post.

The industry group announced the decision at its annual convention in Boston last week. Vincent-Collawn replaces Southern Co. CEO Tom Fanning.

Also elected as vice chairmen were Exelon CEO Chris Crane, Berkshire Hathaway Energy CEO Greg Abel and Duke Energy CEO Lynn Good.

More: Edison Electric Institute

Russell Stokes Named CEO of GE Power


General Electric has named Russell Stokes as president and CEO of GE Power, effective July 3. He will succeed Steve Bolze, who announced his decision to retire.

Stokes, who is presently president and CEO of GE Energy Connections, will lead the integration of the legacy GE Power and Energy Connections businesses into the GE Power unit.

Stokes is a 20-year GE veteran. Prior to his current role, he served as president and CEO of GE Transportation. He has held senior posts in GE Lighting and GE Aviation, and across functions including finance, sourcing, services and operations.

More: Boston Business Journal

Duke Insurers Say Coal Ash Claims not Covered

Former insurers sued by Duke Energy to cover more than $1 billion in coal ash contamination costs say the claims are not covered because the company knowingly risked groundwater contamination.

Duke, which has been self-insured since 1986, contends that 57 policies issued by 30 insurers between 1971 and that time cover current damages from groundwater contamination.

The company is counting on the insurance money to reduce charges to its customers for an anticipated $5.2 billion in costs to clean up its ash ponds in the Carolinas.

More: Triad Business Journal

Norton, AMP Chief of Market Regulatory Affairs, Wins Employee Award

| American Municipal Power, Inc

American Municipal Power named Chris Norton, director of market regulatory affairs, as the recipient of this year’s DNA Award for advancing AMP’s “vision and mission.” Norton, who has been with AMP since 1998, was selected from nominees identified by coworkers.

“Chris is very integral to what we do,” AMP CEO Marc Gerken said in a statement. “He’s very innovative and makes suggestions that save our members a ton of time and money.”

Ed Tatum, AMP’s vice president of transmission, praised Norton’s expertise on PJM and MISO market rules and operational requirements. “Chris is a team player. … He is cooperative, collaborative and an innovative thinker. Once a decision is made, Chris is quick to act and implement,” Tatum said. “We all need a little Norton in our DNA!”

More: American Municipal Power

TransCanada Asks State Dept. to Place Pipeline App on Hold

TransCanada has asked the U.S. State Department to put its permit application for its Upland Pipeline on hold so that it can better align the timing with its proposed Energy East Pipeline System.

The Upland Pipeline, which would originate in North Dakota, would transport Bakken crude to Canadian markets as well as refineries on the U.S. East Coast by connecting with Energy East.

Energy East is under review by Canadian regulators, a TransCanada spokesman said.

More: Bismarck Tribune

6,900 SDG&E Customers Qualify for EV Credit

San Diego Gas & Electric on Friday announced that about 6,900 electric vehicle owners and lessees in its service territory qualified for a $200 credit on their residential bill as part of a greenhouse gas reduction program.

The Electric Vehicle Climate Credit Program is part of a statewide effort administered by the California Air Resources Board. The board will administer the program each year through 2020, with the amount of the credit depending upon the number of people who apply.

SDG&E said there are more than 24,000 EV drivers in the San Diego region and that it mounted a campaign to try to enroll as many of them as possible.

More: Times of San Diego

Goldman Sachs Signs PPA for Wind Energy with NextEra

Goldman Sachs Group has signed a long-term power purchase agreement with a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources that will enable the investment and development of a new 68-MW wind project in Pennsylvania.

The finance company previously set a goal of achieving 100% renewable power for its global electricity needs by 2020.

The agreement is a collaborative effort between Goldman Sachs’ commodities trading group, J. Aron, and its Corporate Services and Real Estate department. J. Aron is providing commodity risk management and commercial expertise for the transaction.

More: Goldman Sachs

First Solar Inks Deal to Develop Projects in Japan

First Solar announced last week it has signed a $63.4 million syndicated development loan facility agreement with Mizuho Bank for utility-scale solar projects in Japan.

The financing is First Solar’s third loan facility with Mizuho, but the first syndicated solar project development loan facility that the bank has arranged.

More: pv magazine

Toshiba Agrees to Pay $3.68B for Vogtle Reactors

Toshiba has agreed to pay $3.68 billion in guarantees to Southern Co. over construction of two unfinished nuclear reactors that its now bankrupt subsidiary Westinghouse Electric was building at the Vogtle plant.

The deal, sealed Friday, calls for Toshiba to pay installments from October this year to January 2021.

The initial 2008 deal for construction of the reactors provided for a parent-company guarantee. This new agreement establishes the maximum payment, according to Toshiba.

More: The Associated Press; The Japan Times

Musk Announces Tesla Gigafactory Increase


Tesla is planning at least 10, and as many as 20, Gigafactories around the world, implying it will own at least 10% of the world’s future energy storage and electric vehicle capacity by its own calculations.

CEO Elon Musk announced the planned Gigafactories last week at a shareholder meeting. Previously, Musk said it would take approximately 100 Gigafactories to produce all the energy storage and electric vehicles the world would need.

More: Clean Technica


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