Power Prices, Regulation, Regulation, Solar  -  January 6, 2018

Weekend reads: Nat gas prices surge; Siemens bets on blockchain; a utility megamerger & 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. Here are this weekend's energy reads: 

Deep Freeze in U.S. Creates Heating Squeeze for Homeowners and Utilities (The New York Times): Homeowners, businesses and utilities across much fo the United States were keeping a close watch on fuel supplies Wednesday as a record-setting cold snap caused demand for heating oil and natural gas to soar. With heating units in homes and commercial buildings running furiously to fend off the deep freeze, power companies warned of possible fuel shortages to come. 

Siemens to Invest in Blockchain-Based Smart Grid Builder LO3 (Fortune): Technology conglomerate Siemens has announced it will invest in LO3 Energy, a startup focused on building blockchain-backed "smart grids" for local energy trading. The amount of the investment, and LO3's implied valuation, were not disclosed. LO3 has had a relationship with Siemens since late 2016, when the companies teamed up to build a local smart grid in Brooklyn

Dominion, SCANA agree to $14.6B all-stock merger (Utility Dive): Dominion Energy and SCANA Corp. have agreed to an all-stock merger that company officials say will lower customer rates and help unwind financial obligations related to the abandoned V.C. Summer nuclear project. Dominion says it would write off $1.7 billion in costs related to the Summer plant, allowing it to eliminate customer costs for the project over 20 years, instead of the 50-60 years proposed by SCANA. 

Blizzard Triggers a 60-Fold Surge in Prices for U.S. Natural Gas (Bloomberg): Natural gas surged to 60 times the going rate as howling blizzard conditions stoked demand for the furnace fuel across the U.S. Northeast. Spot prices for the fuel used to heat homes and generate power reached a record $175 per million British thermal units in New York, according to Consolidated Edison Inc. That’s a far cry from the $2.93 that U.S. gas futures have been averaging on the New York Mercantile Exchange this winter.

The ITC's New Solar Report Could Bolster Trump's Broader Trade Agenda (Greentech Media): The U.S. International Trade Commission released a new report on the Section 201 trade case this week that the Trump administration could use to defend new solar tariffs, if challenged at the World Trade Organization. Ambassador Robert Lighthizer, head of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, requested the supplemental report in November "to assist the president in determining the appropriate and feasible action to take."

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