RBN Energy: Challenges for New England, a continuation of the series on the natural gas shortage in New England. It's a very long, complicated post. This is not going to be easy.
This year’s polar vortex winter has once again demonstrated how New England power generators suffer from the region’s shortage of natural gas pipeline capacity during peak demand periods. The Catch-22 to-date has been that new pipelines won’t get built without firm, long-term commitments for pipeline capacity, which the New England power market doesn’t compensate generators for. Faced with rising demand and few alternatives to gas fired generation, the six state governments in the region are now proposing a novel fix: an electric-rate surcharge that would help guarantee pipeline developers the steady revenue they need to justify new projects. Today we examine the states’ plan and its prospects.
As we said in the first part of our recent series, Please Come to Boston—New England Needs More Natural Gas Pipelines, the region needs more gas for power generation, space heating and other uses, but it can’t benefit fully from ample and cheap Marcellus gas until sufficient pipeline capacity is in place to deliver gas when it’s needed—especially on the coldest winter days. The rub is that, as a rule, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) will not allow new pipeline projects to be built unless they demonstrate “market need” by securing binding commitments of 10 or 15 years or more for the capacity the new or expanded pipelines would provide —and of course, project sponsors themselves require similar economic commitments before they will invest. And, as we’ve said, the electricity market structure in New England does not provide sufficient incentives for generators to ante up the higher costs associated with firm contracts for gas delivery. The market does not give enhanced payments to power plants that virtually guarantee power when it’s needed, nor does the market sufficiently penalize generators for promising capacity and then failing to provide it. ISO New England is working on improving things, but it’s a complicated matter, largely because compensating gas-fired power plants for locking in firm pipeline capacity they may only need a few hundred hours a year would raise power prices for everyone. What it comes down to is this: unless New England can find a way to power through FERC’s pipeline-approval process, the region may face gas-delivery shortfalls for years to come.Reminder: RBN links are good for 30 days at most. After 30 days, the link breaks; actually the link works but RBN Energy archives the article; it requires a $75/month subscription to access articles older than 30 days.
Minority shareholders in CLR sue Harold Hamm over conflict of interest. (that's a link)
The Wall Street Journal
The lead story, of course, is the president making executive decisions to delay his health care program. It's kind of ironic: he's doing exactly what he said he would do -- use his pen to go around Congress. He said he needed to do that to move things along. Well, his first major executive decision was to slow things down. As noted from the beginning, this is a president in over his head. A ship without a rudder. A kite without a tail. A trucker without a GPS. A fruit bat without echolocation. An oil company without a CEO. And so it goes. There's not much else to delay, is there? The medical device tax, and that's about it, and that will be simply scaled back.
It gets worse. Remember the Obama plans to withdraw troops from Afghanistan? On hold. New plans give the White House the option of waiting until Karzai leaves office. Hellooooo! Karzai won't leave office. He's simply moving to a new McMansion behind the Afghani statehouse.
Atlanta, Georgia, is bracing for the big one. Another big one.
Now, this is important: to compensate for the introduction of a lower-end version of its big-selling Tide detergent, Procgter & Gamble is raising prices on same fancier Tide varieties by as much as 25%. Wow.
I still get a kick out of taxpayers paying the new Government Motors (GM) CEO 60% more than her predecessor. She's bullet-proof, as we used to say in the military. She's bullet-proof because she's a minority. Not only is she white, she's a female.
The Los Angeles Times
President Obama want to top 'school-to-prison' pipeline for minorities. He could start by showing he's serious about providing jobs, and not job training.
What it means: XOM moving into the Permian.