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‘Glimpse Into an Uncertain Future’; Kentucky Senate Rivals Spar Over ‘Dying Industry’; A Drowning Piggy Bank

October 09, 2014

SNL REPORTS TODAY FROM A DATELINE IN WESTERN WYOMING that while the three-year-old Dry Fork Station coal-fired power plant uses some of the best emission-reduction technology in the U.S., it is still not up to proposed regulations under which “another Dry Fork could not be built.”

The article appears under the headline “A Glimpse Into an Uncertain Future for Coal.”

An excerpt from the piece, by Darren Epps: “The EPA’s proposal setting the first-ever national limits on greenhouse gas emissions for new power plants is considered a de facto ban on coal-fired power plants, one of the contributors to the structural decline of the coal industry.”

Epps notes that the plant’s owners expect it to be operational through an anticipated 60 year lifespan that ends in 2071, and concludes that while “the coal industry is expected to survive for decades in Gillette,” Dry Creek by then “may be one of the last coal plants standing.”

Tom Sanzillo, IEEFA’s director of finance offers this takeaway on the story: “‘Carbon capture’ has always been a kind of throwaway line for the coal industry, which has never never made innovation a mainstay and has been content instead with its relative monopoly position.”

SNL HAS A SEPARATE STORY ON HOW TRANS-ALLEGHENY INTERSTATE LINE CO. is asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission whether it would be in violation of the Federal Power Act by paying “periodic dividends out of paid-in capital” to its parent company FirstEnergy Transmission.

That article (subscription required) includes this passage: “Historically, FERC has had a general policy of prohibiting public utilities from paying dividends from capital accounts. When a public utility wished to account for dividends as a charge to capital, it would ask FERC to issue a declaratory order confirming that, based on its individual circumstances, doing so would not harm its financial integrity, its customers or the ability of state commissions to protect those customers.”

‘BITTER RIVALS WOO A DYING INDUSTRY’ is the headline on an piece by Katherine Bagley on the current U.S. Senate race in the Bluegrass State.

The subhead: “Incumbent Sen. Mitch McConnell and challenger Alison Grimes are fighting over an industry that provides just .06 percent of Kentucky’s jobs.”

And the lead: “Coal has been an ever-present part of one of the most expensive and high profile midterm elections this year—the Kentucky Senate race between Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell and Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes—despite its rapidly declining economic significance.”

bakkenarticleSEVERAL NEWS OUTLETS this morning picked up Betty Lin-Fisher’s Akron Beacon Journal article from earlier in the week on IEEFA’s FirstEnergy report, including the energy news site, which illustrated the piece with a picture of a drowning piggy bank.

The financial news site/newsletter notes that IIEFA “is mincing no words when it comes to FirstEnergy Corp.”

THE INDIAN NEWS SITE LIVEMINT.COM has an article about a sharp rise in third-quarter solar-energy investment, but finds “most of these project proposals are from central or state government bodies” rather than from the private sector.

Karl Cates
[email protected]




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