A BPA debt management program that refinances maturing, low-interest Energy Northwest bonds to pay off higher-interest-rate federal obligations is wrapping up with a $356.6 million bond offering this month before transitioning to a second phase in 2021.
President Donald Trump signed an executive order on June 4 directing federal agencies to speed up approvals of pipelines and other infrastructure projects by invoking emergency authority to bypass environmental reviews. Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed a rule to revise cost-benefit analyses for air quality regulations. EPA adopts rule limiting states' water-quality certification authority for infrastructure projects.
BPA has agreed to suspend its Financial Reserves Policy surcharge through the remainder of the 2020-2021 rate period to help financially strapped consumer-owned utilities during the pandemic.
Being Revised: This story incorrectly stated the Montana PSC had delayed the start of a fixed-cost recovery mechanism pilot program. The PSC is considering delaying the start, but has not made a final decision. The article also incorrectly stated that the Human Resource Council and Natural R…
The COVID-19 pandemic had a swift and dramatic effect on California's cap-and-trade auction, stripping the auction of most of the usual revenue it generates for the state as greenhouse gas emissions plummeted during stay-at-home orders.
The Treasury Department on May 27 extended by one year the "safe harbor" for renewable-energy developers, giving projects extra breathing space for claiming production and investment tax credits. Meanwhile, a federal appeals court rejected a stay of a lower-court ruling barring a nationwide U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit for oil and gas pipelines. Twenty-three states, including six in the West, file suit to challenge the Trump administration's rollback of tailpipe greenhouse gas emis-sions and fuel-economy standards.
Oregon's Environmental Quality Commission lacks authority to regulate emissions from power plants located outside of the state, nor can it hold auctions to sell emissions credits that would be needed in the state's proposed cap-and-reduce emissions program.
Northwest Natural Holdings on May 8 reported first-quarter earnings of $48.3 million or $1.58 per share from continuing operations compared to earnings of $43.4 million or $1.50 per share for the same period in 2019.
Seventeen states filed a motion on May 18 for a nationwide preliminary injunction to block the Trump administration's replacement "Waters of the U.S." rule, but the court raised questions May 20 on whether an injunction should be imposed before the rule takes effect June 22. Meanwhile, the Small Business Administration said electric cooperatives are eligible for Paycheck Protection Program loans. Solar industry pushes BLM for lower right-of-way rents.
COVID-19 responses and impacts were prominently featured during BPA's fiscal year 2020 second-quarter business review presentation on May 12, as Administrator Elliot Mainzer said the agency "certainly will not be returning to normal operations for what is likely to be an extended period of time."
The Public Power Council has asked BPA to suspend its Financial Reserves Policy surcharge, as the financial impacts of the economic restrictions due to the pandemic are starting to take a toll on consumer-owned utilities around the region.
The novel coronavirus drove down electric loads slightly in the Northwest in March and April, according to Northwest Power and Conservation Council staff's modeling based on early data.
A significant drop in electricity demand brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, together with significant inflows from a high spring snowmelt, has forced BC Hydro to take immediate action to avoid downstream flooding that could overwhelm fish stocks and damage some of its hydroelectric facilit…
Avista reported unanticipated losses for the first quarter year-over-year, largely from regulatory rulings, and it expects additional downturns later in the year due to COVID-19-related impacts.
The House is poised for a May 15 floor vote on a $3-trillion pandemic relief bill, HR 6800, that would send nearly $1 trillion in aid to state, local, tribal and territorial governments; appropriate $1.5 billion for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program; and condition state aid on policies barring utility energy and water service disconnections. Meanwhile, the American Public Power Association urged the Federal Reserve to give financially stressed public utilities access to a Fed lending facility. Court issues injunction in California's Central Valley water dispute with the Interior Department.
The Treasury Department said May 7 it will modify "safe-harbor" rules for production and investment tax credits, a sign that the Trump administration plans to grant extensions sought by renewable-energy industries. Wind and solar developers have raised concerns that pandemic-related project delays could kill their eligibility for the credits. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump's May 1 order blocking acquisition and installation of bulk-power system equipment based on country of origin shined a spotlight on growing concerns about cybersecurity threats from Russian and Chinese components and software in grid supply chains. Hydropower group sends tax and spending stimulus package to Congress.
Portland General Electric reported on April 24 first-quarter net income of $81 million, or 91 cents per diluted share, outpacing its Q1 2019 net income of $73 million, or 82 cents per diluted share.
The novel coronavirus did not prevent Idaho Power from recording one of its best first quarters financially in the past two decades.
Congressional Republican and Democratic leaders were far apart the week of April 27 on proposals for legislation to give financial relief to state and local governments losing revenues in connection with the coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, a NERC report identified no reliability risks from the pandemic, but called on grid operators to heighten vigilance against cybersecurity threats targeting remote work. Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council calls for phased approach to utility work-place re-openings.
Talen Energy wants a cut of NorthWestern Energy's deal to buy a portion of Puget Sound Energy's share of the Colstrip transmission system, a move the utility vowed to fight in its first-quarter earnings call on April 23.
President Donald Trump on April 24 signed into law the fourth coronavirus pandemic response bill, which appropriates an additional $320 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program. Meanwhile, the Federal Communications Commission opened the 6-GHz band to unlicensed users, drawing fire from utility groups concerned about interference with communications that utilities use for operating the power grid and gas and water systems. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers suspends nationwide permit.
Northwest utilities are working to ease customer financial hardships due to the COVID-19-induced economic lockdown, and are also preparing for a steep decline in revenues.
Across the country, coal-fired power plants are in retreat largely due to cheaper resource alternatives and carbon-reduction initiatives. But for Talen Energy, coal is still a moneymaker, and that's why the company has exercised its option to take a cut of NorthWestern Energy's deal to buy P…
Former Vice President Joe Biden's emergence as the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee has set up a fall contest with President Donald Trump in which U.S. voters will have a clear choice between two sharply different energy and climate policy platforms. Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency finalized a rule dropping the agency's earlier finding that placing mercury controls on coal-fired power plants was "appropriate and necessary." EPA proposes no change in ambient air-quality standards for particulate matter.
The Federal Reserve on April 9 announced $2.3 trillion in credit support for the pandemic-stressed economy, including loans for state and local governments. Meanwhile, FERC and the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners asked the Fed to expand purchases of short-term debt to give a cash infusion to electric, gas and water utilities. Rural co-ops seek federal relief, including repricing of Rural Utilities Service loans.
FERC gave top priority to maintaining reliability in a regulatory guidance policy issued April 2 in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, House Democrats are pressing for inclusion of in-frastructure funds in a fourth pandemic response bill. Litigation likely against Trump administration rollback of tailpipe greenhouse gas and fuel-economy standards.
Renewable energy tax-credit extensions did not make the cut for the $2.2 trillion coronavirus pandemic relief package that President Donald Trump signed into law March 27 but the bill boosts low-income energy assistance by $900 million. The bill was passed by the House on a voice vote earlier in the day, following Senate approval March 25. Meanwhile, EPA said it plans to use “enforcement discretion” for permittees in response to the pandemic, retroactive to March 13. Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council working with feds to ensure control-center continuity.
As the global coronavirus pandemic spreads, Northwest utilities have stepped in to help hard-hit customers, while also stepping back to encourage social distancing.
California is under a stay-at-home order over COVID-19, and state agencies took action to keep essential energy-related businesses operating, such as residential electric and communications services and critical elements of the transportation supply chain.
The new coronavirus brought further disruption across the West this week, shuttering schools and businesses and altering the activity of utilities and regulatory commissions.
FERC will be open to requests for deadline extensions and delays in compliance requirements from utilities and system operators impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, agency Chairman Neil Chatterjee said at a March 19 press conference. Meanwhile, energy groups asked Congress to ensure priority access to coronavirus testing and protective equipment for utility workers. Renewable-energy groups cite pandemic-related supply chain disruptions to press for tax credit extensions.
While Democrats managed to deliver most of Washington Gov. Jay Inslee's carbon agenda before the 2020 session ended March 12, two of his top priorities--a clean fuels bill and an update to the state's Clean Air Act—stalled.
The Senate passed a procedural motion on March 4 clearing the way for a floor vote on the broad energy package that Energy and Natural Resources Committee leaders introduced Feb. 27.
Northwest Natural Holding Co. reported on March 2 earnings per share of $2.19 for 2019 that include a one-time regulatory pension charge of 22 cents per share related to a Oregon PUC order.
A handful of utilities across the Northwest are taking aggressive steps to limit the chances of the new coronavirus disrupting operations, based on responses to Clearing Up's informal survey of regional utilities and industry groups.
The California ISO is moving forward with a series of proposed modifications to its day-ahead market with a goal of accommodating the uncertainty of variable generation such as solar and wind.
With less than a week left in Washington's short legislative session and a deadline for passing bills of day's end on March 6, most energy or climate bills are hanging fire, either queued up for floor votes or stalled in committees.
The Oregon legislative session came to an early close March 5, after Democrats rejected a Republican plea to remove a cap-and-trade bill from consideration.
IDACORP, the parent company of Idaho Power, reported a slight year-over-year boost in earnings for 2019. The company posted net income of $232.9 million, or $4.61 per diluted share, for the year, compared with $226.8 million, or $4.49 per diluted share, in 2018. IDACORP recorded $47.1 millio…
Avista recorded fourth-quarter 2019 earnings of $50.8 million or 76 cents per diluted share compared to $45.8 million or 70 cents per diluted share in 2018. For the full year, consolidated earnings were $197 million or $2.97 per diluted share for 2019, compared to $136.4 million or $2.07 per…
A federal judge on Feb. 27 threw out nearly 1 million acres of oil and gas leases on Western federal lands that affect sage grouse habitat, ruling the Trump administration unlawfully curtailed public comment. Meanwhile, leaders of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee introduced a broad-ranging, bipartisan energy package, including reauthorization of the residential weatherization program; extension of hydropower incentive payments; and provisions to step up research and development of energy storage, carbon sequestration, advanced nuclear reactors and fuels, and renewable resources. The Environmental Protection Agency finalized a rule dropping leak-repair requirements for commercial and industrial refrigeration and cooling equipment using hydrofluorocarbon refrigerants.
More than a dozen energy and climate bills before the Washington Legislature survived a Feb. 19 cutoff requiring measures to be approved by a vote of the entire chamber.
Portland General Electric ended 2019 on a strong note, recording a net income for the fourth quarter of $61 million, or 68 cents per diluted share, up from $49 million, or 55 cents per diluted share, the company logged during Q4 of 2018.
President Donald Trump ordered the Interior and Commerce departments on Feb. 19 to step up water development and deliveries for California's Central Valley, following Bureau of Reclamation finalization of a revised plan for coordinated operation of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project. Meanwhile, business leaders, including Bill Gates, called for tripling federal funding for energy research and development. House panel advances storage, grid-modernization research legislation.
The Trump administration's $4.8-trillion fiscal year 2021 budget request revived for the fourth year in a row a proposal to sell the transmission assets of three power-marketing administrations, an idea denounced by public-power groups and likely again to receive a cold shoulder in Congress. Meanwhile, California Gov. Gavin Newsom welcomed news that the Justice Department had dropped an antitrust probe of automakers that made a tailpipe emissions agreement with the state. Trump picks Danly for FERC, and Menezes and Benevento to be No. 2 executives at DOE and EPA.
BPA's Power Services unit has an 81 percent chance of triggering a Financial Reserves Policy surcharge in fiscal year 2021, according to first quarter results presented Feb. 4 during the Quarterly Business Review presentation.
A pair of companion bills intended to remedy the legal issues with Washington's Gov. Jay Inslee's Clean Air Rule for regulating greenhouse gas emissions have cleared their respective energy committees.