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week of Dec. 17, 2018

Welcome to the last EnerKnol Week Ahead of 2018! The EnerKnol team wishes you happy holidays! In this edition, New Jersey implements its zero emission credit program to support nuclear power; Missouri reconsiders the troubled Grain Belt Express transmission project following a court decision; the EPA prepares to cut back on methane emission regulations for the oil and gas industry. All of this and more via the EnerKnol Platform.

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Federal Agencies

January 17
EPA Oil and Gas Emission Standards Deadline

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is scheduled to receive comments on its proposed amendment to the new source performance standards for the oil and gas industry with the aim of reducing regulatory burdens on domestic energy producers. The agency has proposed changes to the standards, which were developed to limit leaks of methane from oil and gas operations including a modification to the frequency for monitoring leaks, called fugitive emissions at well sites and compressor stations and make it easier to use emerging technologies in leaks monitoring surveys. The regulator said the proposal would reduce duplicative requirements between the federal government and states and save up to $484 million in regulatory costs from 2019 to 2025.

January 18
FERC Kinder Morgan Gulf LNG Hearing

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is scheduled to receive comments on the recently published draft environmental assessment for the Gulf LNG liquefaction project. The study found that the proposal would result in some adverse environmental impacts, which would be reduced to less than significant levels. The project, proposed by Gulf LNG Liquefaction Company LLC, Gulf LNG Energy LLC, and Gulf LNG Pipeline LLC, would add natural gas liquefaction and export capabilities to the existing Gulf LNG Terminal in Jackson County, Mississippi. The companies are each owned by Gulf LNG Holdings Group LLC, which is owned 50 percent by Southern Gulf LNG Company LLC, a subsidiary of Kinder Morgan Inc. and operator of the LNG terminal. (CP15-521-000)

January 18
FERC Tallgrass Cheyenne Connector Deadline

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is due to issue an environmental assessment for the Cheyenne Connector Pipeline and Cheyenne Hub Enhancement projects in Colorado. The pipeline, proposed by Cheyenne Connector LLC, comprises a 70-mile interstate line to move about 600 million cubic feet per day of natural gas from supply connections in the Denver-Julesberg Basin in Weld County to Rockies Express Pipeline LLC’s Cheyenne Hub. The Cheyenne Hub Enhancement would improve the firm interconnectivity capability of pipelines and distribution systems in and around the hub. A final decision is due by March 18, 2019. Cheyenne Connector is a subsidiary of Tallgrass Energy LP. (CP18-103)

January 20
FERC Monthly Commission Meeting

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will discuss regulations that govern market-based rate authorizations for wholesale sales of electricity, capacity, and ancillary services by public utilities under the Federal Power Act. The regulator will also review a series of electric rate disputes and pipeline certificates. (Agenda)

January 21
EIA Monthly Energy Report

The U.S. Energy Information Administration will issue its Monthly Energy Review, providing data on energy production, consumption, prices and trade. Among recent trends, total U.S. coal consumption in 2018 is projected to fall by 4 percent from the prior year to 691 million short tons, reaching the lowest since 1979, as cheap power prices drive closure of coal-fired plants. The U.S. power sector saw the retirement of 529 coal-fired generators, with 55 gigawatts of capacity, accounting for 18 percent of the fleet’s supply, since reaching peak demand in 2007. The power sector is the nation’s largest consumer of coal, accounting for 93 percent of total U.S. coal consumption over the last decade, according to the agency. (Previous Report)

Eastern Region

January 19
NJ BPU Nuclear Subsidy Program Deadline

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities is scheduled to receive applications for the state’s zero emission credit program established under legislation enacted in May to compensate the fuel diversity and zero-carbon attributes of nuclear power. Nuclear plant operators applying for the credits must meet specific criteria including their contribution to air quality and anticipated closure within three years due to financial distress. The board recently approved the application process and tariff revisions for electric utilities to implement rates for collection from their retail customers to fund the program. The law established a $300 million annual subsidy and set a rate of $0.004 per kilowatt-hour for qualifying plants. Nuclear power accounts for 39 percent of the state’s electricity generation. A rank-ordered list of selected plants will be presented for approval at the board’s April 19, 2019 meeting.

January 21
Dominion Millstone Nuclear Hearing CT PURA

The Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority will discuss its Dec. 5 interim decision that Dominion Energy Inc.’s 2,100-megawatt Millstone nuclear plant is at risk of retirement, allowing it to compete for long-term contracts with zero-carbon resources such as wind and solar. The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection on July 31 issued a request for proposals for zero carbon resources setting an “at risk” time period of June 1, 2022 to account for capacity obligations for existing resources participating in the ISO New England Inc.’s forward capacity market. Connecticut enacted legislation last year allowing the state’s only nuclear power plant to compete with other zero-carbon electric generators. Regulators concluded that Millstone is critical for the region’s fuel security and emission reduction goals, but said that resources seeking evaluation of attributes other than price should prove that they are at risk of retirement. (18-05-04)

January 21
NY PSC Number Three Wind Farm Hearing

The New York State Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment will receive comments on Invenergy LLC’s 105-megawatt Number Three wind project. The wind farm, consisting of about 40 turbines and an overhead 115-kilovolt interconnection line approximately 4 miles in length, would occupy approximately 8,000 acres of private land leased in the towns of Lowville and Harrisburg in northern New York. The project is planned to begin construction in early 2019.

Western Region

January 18
MO PSC Grain Belt Express Hearing

The Missouri Public Service Commission will consider Clean Line Energy Partners LLC’s $2.3-Billion Grain Belt Express transmission project, after the Supreme Court ruled on July 17 that the commission erroneously concluded it could not approve the project without the utility first receiving consent from the affected counties. The Supreme Court said that, although Clean Line Partners will still need to obtain county approvals, those authorizations are not relevant to the commission’s issuance of a certificate of convenience and necessity. The 780-mile interstate electrical transmission line is designed to deliver about 4,000 megawatts of wind-generated energy from western Kansas to Missouri and other states farther east. The overhead, multi-terminal line would cross 206 miles through eight Missouri counties. In November, Invenergy Transmission LLC applied to buy the project and is waiting for commission approval. (EA-2016-0358)

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