Wall Street Journal: With Market on Their Side, Electric Utilities Skip Fight Against Carbon Rule
U.S. coal companies and at least 16 state governments are working on challenges to the Obama administration’s new rule limiting carbon emissions from power plants. Most electric utilities have a different strategy: They are embracing it.
From Dominion Resources Inc. in Virginia to Dynegy Inc. in Houston to Ohio’s FirstEnergy Corp., electricity producers say they plan to comply rather than contest the regulation.
The main reason, executives and experts say, is that economic forces are pushing the power industry inexorably toward a lower-carbon future.
Washington Examiner: Climate Change Takes the Stage at Democratic Debate
Climate change was on the tip of the tongues of many of the Democratic presidential candidates during their first debate Tuesday night.
Four of the five candidates on the stage Tuesday mentioned climate change as a major campaign issue unprompted, with only former Virginia Sen. Jim Webb declining to do so. Webb later gave his support for an "all of the above" energy strategy that involves fossil fuels and renewable energy.
New York Times: Renewable Energy Financing Hits a Snag
Only a few months ago, it seemed that the renewable energy sector could do little wrong: Stock prices were soaring and money was pouring in as investors flocked to get in on the action.
That is no longer the case. Low oil and gas prices have roiled the energy markets, and the specter of rising interest rates has rattled investors’ confidence in the industry’s returns. Although energy and financial experts say that the basics of the business remain sound, the lofty stock prices have tumbled, leading renewable energy companies to scramble for new approaches to their businesses.
Bloomberg: Default Looms for Chinese Solar Company
Defaults in China are expanding, with a solar component maker the latest company to miss a bond payment, as the nation’s debt market flashes danger signs like equities did before their tumble began four months ago.
Baoding Tianwei Yingli New Energy Resources Co., whose majority holder was until last year the world’s biggest solar panel company by shipments, failed to make a complete payment on a note due Tuesday, it said in a statement posted to the China Foreign Exchange Trade System website. The firm paid only 643 million yuan ($101.4 million) of 1 billion yuan of principal due, while making full payment on 57 million yuan of interest, it said.
Sacramento Bee: Jerry Brown Rejects Changes to California Public Utilities Commission
A broad legislative effort targeting the California Public Utilities Commission ended in defeat Friday when Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed six bills aimed at increasing transparency and public access to the scandal-ridden agency.
The measures, all of which were unanimously approved by the Legislature, would have appointed an inspector general within the State Auditor’s Office to oversee the commission, limited back-channel communications between commissioners and the utilities they regulate, made it easier to bring open meetings or public record lawsuits against the commission, and required legislative review if they hire outside counsel for a criminal investigation, among other changes.
Cape Cod Times: Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station to Shut Down by June 2019
Entergy Corp. announced this morning that it intends to shut down Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station in Plymouth by June 2019 at the latest, due to poor market conditions, sinking revenue and increasing operational costs.
The plant could close sooner, according to a statement from the company. That decision will be made in the next six months. In the statement, Entergy officials said natural-gas prices factored into the decision and had driven down profits by about $40 million annually.