Energy Efficiency, Energy Procurement, GHG Emissions, Power Prices, Regulation, Finance, Solar - September 30, 2017
Weekend reads: DOE's coal, nuclear bailouts; Puerto Rico's plagued grid; SolarCity's $30M fine & more
Every Saturday, we'll bring you five of the most interesting — or quirky; it is the weekend after all — energy stories from around the web that you may have missed this week. This weekend's reads:
U.S. offers Vogtle nuclear plant $3.7 billion in loan guarantees (Reuters): The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) said on Friday it has offered conditional commitments for up to another $3.7 billion in loan guarantees to companies building two reactors at the Vogtle nuclear plant in Georgia. The nuclear power industry has been struggling in the face of plentiful, low-cost natural gas, which is burned to generate electricity, as well as stagnant demand for power. The Vogtle project is the first new U.S. nuclear power plant to be licensed and begin construction in over three decades.
DOE proposes cost recovery for baseload generators in new FERC rule (Utility Dive): The Department of Energy pushed the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Friday to boost compensation for generators providing baseload power supplies, proposing the most significant overhaul in the nation's competitive power markets in over a decade. DOE filed a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) under the Federal Power Act to enhance grid resilience, directing FERC to "accurately price generation resources necessary to maintain reliability and resiliency." The rule would provide for "recovery of costs of fuel-secure generation units frequently relied upon to make our grid reliable and resilient."
Puerto Rico's debt-plagued power grid was on life support long before hurricanes wiped it out (LA Times): At a public housing complex just outside the tourist district in Old San Juan, residents must make their way beneath a downed electrical pole to get in the front door. Another broken power pole blocks the road outside, and a third is sprawled next to the parking lot out back. "At Fortaleza they have light, but not here," said Rosa Rivera, 53, a retired maintenance worker, referring to the governor's official residence. Rivera was sitting outside in her wheelchair Thursday to avoid the suffocating heat inside with no air conditioning.
Trump Wants to Repeal Obama's Climate Plan. The Next Fight: Its Replacement. (The New York Times): President Trump failed again this week to fulfill his promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama's signature health plan. Now he is taking aim at Mr. Obama's central environmental legacy, the Clean Power Plan. The administration has made clear its desire to repeal the Obama energy plan. But what would take its place remains a mystery.
SolarCity's Battle With the Feds Ends With a $29.5 Million Fine and a Shrug (Greentech Media): Five years ago, when then-startup solar company SolarCity was getting ready to go public, it revealed something quite unusual: It was under investigation by the U.S. government. The Department of Treasury was investigating the solar installer for possibly overstating the claims it had made to a government grant program. Now years later -- after the company has undergone dramatic changes since being acquired by electric-car maker Tesla -- the issue has finally been resolved. Although the solution isn't ideal for the developer.
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