Talen Spinoff Completed; Spence Touts ‘New’ PPL
PPL on Monday completed the spinoff of its competitive energy business, which was combined with the generation assets owned by Riverstone Holdings to form Talen Energy, a new independent power producer.
The merchant generation spinoff leaves PPL with only regulated utility assets in the U.S. and U.K. “Over the past five years, we’ve transformed PPL into one of the top 10 utility companies in the U.S. and reshaped it in ways that have preserved and grown value for our shareowners,” CEO William Spence said.
PPL’s former power plants in Pennsylvania and Montana are now part of Talen Energy. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is requiring the divestiture of power plants within 12 months of today’s announcement to mitigate Talen’s market power in PJM. (See PPL, Riverstone Accept FERC Mitigation Plan on Talen Spinoff.)
“Which plants will be determined by how the market values those assets,” Talen spokesman George Lewis said.
Spence said the new PPL, separated from the uncertainties and challenges in wholesale power markets, will maintain a strong balance sheet, investment-grade credit ratings, strong cash flow and a competitive dividend.
Duke Energy to Build 5-MW Solar Facility to Power Disney
Duke Energy is building a 5-MW solar facility on 20 acres near Walt Disney World’s Epcot. The company has a 15-year power purchase agreement with Disney for the output. The power plant’s 48,000 solar panels will be arranged in the shape of a Mickey Mouse head.
More: Orlando Sentinel
ITC Files with DOE, Canada to Build Tx Link between Ontario and PJM
ITC Holdings on Monday filed an application with the U.S. Department of Energy for an underwater transmission line that will link the Ontario Independent Electricity System Operator and PJM.
The ITC Lake Erie Connector will be a 1,000-MW, bi-directional, high voltage, direct current line that will allow exports of power into Ontario, while providing generators in Ontario access to PJM. ITC filed the application after filing with Canada’s National Energy Board on May 22. It will also have to file with the U.S. State Department. Ontario has seen a large increase in renewable generation over the past few years, especially hydro and wind generation.
Construction of the 73-mile, $1 billion project is expected to start next near and be completed by 2019.
Duke Energy to Install Battery Storage at Retired Ohio Coal Plant
Duke Energy is installing a 2-MW battery storage system at a retired coal-fired plant in Ohio. When it becomes operational, it will be the second battery system at the W.C. Beckjord plant in New Richmond. The lithium-ion battery, controls and a power inverter will allow Duke to use the facility to provide ancillary services for PJM’s frequency regulation market.
Duke, which like other utilities is retiring the bulk of its coal-fired generation, is investing heavily into battery storage. It has a 36-MW system at a Texas wind farm and is developing five smaller projects in North Carolina.
More: Greentech Media
Berkshire Hathaway Subsidiary Buying More Solar
The acquisition includes the 400-MW Grand Prairie wind project in Nebraska, the 140-MW Walnut Ridge wind project in Illinois and a collection of Minnesota solar projects that total about 60 MW. Terms of the transaction were not announced.
More: Recharge News (subscription required)
Farm Owners are Last Holdouts Against Enbridge’s Sandpiper Pipeline
The developers of the Sandpiper pipeline, which would deliver crude oil from North Dakota’s Bakken oil fields to an interconnection in Wisconsin, are suing the last holdout in North Dakota to acquire the right of way for the pipeline.
The North Dakota Pipeline Co., a joint venture between Enbridge Energy and Marathon Petroleum, sued Krista and James Botsford under the state eminent domain law and asked the court to give it an easement across their farm near Grand Forks. The developers approached a total of 799 North Dakota landowners.
Sandpiper is a 610-mile, $2.6 billion project whose supporters say it would provide a safer, cheaper and more efficient alternative for transporting Bakken crude than trains.
More: Star Tribune
Cleanup Crews Still Working at Scene of 2013 Pipeline Spill
Tesoro and federal pipeline safety inspectors believe a lightning strike may have caused the break in the 6-inch pipeline, which spilled 840,000 gallons of crude oil over 7.3 acres of Steve and Patty Jensen’s farm. It was one of the largest on-shore spills in U.S. history.
“It’s now just become part of our lives,” Patty Jensen said. “They are working 24 hours a day, seven days a week. But it’s so big and it’s not as easy to clean up as they thought it would be.”
More: Bismarck Tribune
IPL’s Harding Street Plant Edges Closer to Gas Switch
The fuel switch, which is being financed by ratepayers through a special conversion surcharge, pleased anti-coal activists who have long complained that the plant was a major source of urban pollution.
More: Indianapolis Star
Iowa Utility Pitches Shares in Community Solar Project
Cedar Falls Utilities wants to sell 3,000 shares for $399 each in a community solar generation project, a novel way to raise capital for a new utility generation project.
According to a presentation given by the company’s business development director, share owners would receive a dividend in the form of a deduction of $1 to $2 off their monthly utility bills. The utility is touting the program as a more affordable way to invest in solar than spending $10,000 or more to install a home solar system.
More: KCRG News
TVA Buys 24 Homes, 155 Acres to Expand Coal Ash Landfill
TVA has been talking about the expansion project for several years but is only now seeking public comment on its plan to expand the landfill. The existing landfill could reach capacity in about five years, according to the company.
TVA stopped using wet ash storage after the disastrous 2008 collapse of an ash storage containment that released 5.4 million cubic yards of coal sludge into the Emory River. Dry ash storage is considered safer.
More: Knoxville News Sentinel