Saturday, July 30, 2016

NextEra (Florida) Buys Controlling Stake In Biggest Power Provider In Texas -- July 30, 2016

This is a story that perhaps would have meant nothing to me. I'm not sure I would have followed it and I'm pretty sure I would not even have posted it had it not been for the Bakken.

While writing about the Bakken over the past few years, there were stories of a Florida utility buying wind farms in North Dakota. It took awhile to connect the dots.

The utility was Florida Power and Light, and then FPL, and then NextEra. I assume it's the largest utility in Florida.

Well, now it may just become the largest utility in Texas. In today's WSJ:
NextEra outbid rivals for Energy Future Holdings Corp's controlling stake in the biggest power provider in Texas, in an $18.4 billion deal that thrusts the Florida company into the big leagues among US utilities.
Some data points and excerpts from the article:
  • selling Dallas-based Oncor was vital to lifting Energy Future out of bankruptcy that has gone on since 2014
  • Energy Future was the former TXU Corp
  • Oncor: widely regarded as Energy Future's crown jewel
  • NextEra has morphed into a national electric powerhouse by purchasing unregulated renewable-energy projects across the US
  • NextEra also appears eager to expand into regulated utilities
  • NextEra tried, failed to buy Hawaiian Electric Co
  • Oncor: 10 million homes
  • Warren Buffett was the final rival, but he caved after multiple rounds of bidding
  • the deal still requires regulatory approval
I think the bigger story line here is the melding of unregulated unreliable energy with regulated reliable energy and how a utility with a national footprint will manage it. My hunch is that NextEra has a lot of lobbyists in Washington, DC, and probably competing for White House appointment slows with Eric Schmidt. 

From Dallas Morning New:
NextEra has 23 wind farms in Texas with the capacity to generate about 3,100 megawatts of power. Its Lone Star Transmission unit has about 330 miles of power lines from northwest of Abilene to Navarro County.
It has 542 miles of natural gas pipelines in southern Texas. It owns Gexa Energy, an electricity retailer in Houston, and has a fiber-optic network that provides broadband access to business.
Meanwhile, coal is struggling here in Texas. This was back in April:
Until coal plants start shutting down or the state tweaks regulations to artificially inflate prices, power companies will struggle, executives said. A new Moody's Investors Service report concluded that Texas "power prices are unlikely to climb out of their doldrums."
Already, less than a quarter of Texas' coal fleet is operating early this spring, as more generators simply take their coal plants offline until the summer heat brings more demand.
In March, wind added to the grid more than coal power for the first time ever for a full month. Wind contributed 21.4 percent of the grid's overall power, compared with 12.9 percent from coal, which used to be the dominant source of the state's electricity generation, according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages about 90 percent of the state's electricity load.

Failed Turkish Coup

Even after the fact, Turkish government can't find any hints of a coup in millions of encrypted messages prior to the coup.

This whole thing ...

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