Friday, January 21, 2011

Mini-reactors the new “big thing” in nuclear power - Business -

Jeff Wilkinson, The State
"The national laboratory “is taking a leadership role by setting up the demonstration,” said Loewen, who also serves as GE-Hitachi’s chief engineer.
Also, Columbia in April will host an international conference focusing on the development and production of SMRs.
The conference is expected to draw about 120 people from about 60 companies and agencies around the world, such as China National Nuclear Corp., the International Atomic Energy Agency and Iraq Energy Institute. Also, industry heavyweights like Westinghouse, AREVA and GE have signed up, along with the U.S. Department of Energy, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the U.S. Army and utilities across the nation.
The conference, scheduled to be held April 19-20 at the Marriott Hotel along Main Street, is sponsored by SCE&G and organized by the Carolinas’ Nuclear Cluster and Nuclear Energy Insider"

Thursday, January 20, 2011

DPU inks new deal worth $700 million with SCE&G

Tucker Lyon, T&D Government Writer
"After a year of negotiations, Orangeburg City Council on Tuesday passed a resolution executing an agreement between the Department of Public Utilities and South Carolina Electric and Gas Company.
Under the new $700 million contract, SCE&G will furnish electricity to DPU for 10 years, from Jan. 1, 2012, until the end of December 2022."

U.S., China Companies Continuing Collaborations on Cleaner Energy

"'This collaboration is not only a stepping stone for cleaner energy in China and the U.S.,' said ENN Group Chairman Wang Yusuo. 'ENN Group and Duke Energy's cooperation will lead to the development of new, cleaner ways to produce, store, distribute and use energy."

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

.biz - Duke will owe Progress $675 million if it backs out | blogs

"Submitted by AlanMWolf on 01/10/2011 - 17:20

Duke Energy will be required to pay Progress Energy a breakup fee of $675 million if it backs out of its deal to buy the Raleigh-based utility.
Such fees are common with major corporate mergers, and are designed to include a financial incentive to keep the deal on track. The fees help cover legal costs and other expenses if a proposed union is terminated.
Progress will owe Charlotte-based Duke a $400 million fee if it accepts another offer or backs out of the Duke deal.
The companies disclosed the breakup fees in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission."

Ratepayers Slow to See Duke-Progress Merger Benefits -

"In North Carolina, mergers can be approved so long as they do no net harm to ratepayers. In South Carolina, regulators are expected to do what's good for customers, leaving a lot of discretion. Consumer advocates usually seek a share of merger benefits. Deals have failed when utilities were asked to give more to ratepayers than they were willing to offer. That helped doom Exelon Corp.'s intended purchase of Public Service Enterprise Group of New Jersey.

After its 2006 merger with Cinergy Corp., Duke was required to return 42% of estimated five-year merger savings in North Carolina to customers there, some $117 million. Robert Gruber, the utility commission's consumer advocate, said he was 'struck' by how little Duke is now offering and said he plans to 'see if additional savings should be flowed back to ratepayers.'

One reason for the minimal shared savings is that Duke is not now earning its authorized rate of return in any of the five states in which it operates: North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. Thus, it would like to retain as much of the savings as possible to boost earnings. Progress is faring better, earning its return in the Carolinas and Florida, where it operates utilities. Progress hasn't sought a rate hike in the Carolinas since 1988, an unusually long time to go without a rate adjustment."

Progress Energy CEO urges patience in pending merger ::

"RALEIGH, N.C. — After trying for more than a week to quell employee fears over a pending acquisition by Duke Energy, Progress Energy Chief Executive Bill Johnson acknowledged Wednesday that he is a bit anxious about the $26 billion deal himself.

'I understand the anxiety. I have a little anxiety about this myself,' said Johnson, who will become chief executive of the combined utility.

Still, he asked employees to be patient while details are worked out.

'Be patient. When we know something, we'll tell you. But also think about other opportunities in the company. Where can you make the biggest contribution?' he said.

Johnson said it's too early to determine how many jobs the combined company might cut as it moves its headquarters to Charlotte. While production and line crew jobs appear stable, support positions from finance to legal services will be vulnerable for early retirement and layoffs."

Benjamin Stands by Franchise Fee Increase -

"But his remarks about the Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority, the entity that oversees the region’s bus system, made no mention of his controversial plan to increase SCE&G’s franchise fee, and Columbia residents’ power bills, by 2 percent in order to give the bus system $3.6 million each year to operate.
City Council has still not approved that plan. But in an interview with The State newspaper after his speech, Benjamin said the votes are still there to pass the increase, something he expects to happen by mid-February.
“As far as I’m concerned, it’s non-negotiable,” Benjamin said. “I’m going to listen to what the people have to say (at the public hearing in February), and make sure we take that into account, but we must pass the franchise fee." - Fairness Doctrine Finds Scant Support, Even After Tucson

By James Rosen

"Also opposing the regulation is current FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn – the congressman’s daughter. At her confirmation hearing in July 2009, Clyburn told members of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee that the FCC should not be “in the business of censoring speech or content on the basis of political views and opinions.”"

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Giant landfill proposed by SCE&G - Local / Metro -

Sammy Fretwell
"Colleton County residents are livid about plans for a 15-story landfill proposed by SCE&G, which is looking for places to dump toxic coal ash.
The power company wants to build the ash landfill on about 200 acres near the small community of Round O. The company says it needs the landfill to take waste ash from its nearby Canadys coal-fired power plant."

Monday, January 17, 2011

The big chill to hit customers' pocketbooks | The Post and Courier, Charleston SC - News, Sports, Entertainment

"To prepare customers for the higher utility bills on the way, Berkeley Electric Cooperative urges residents to set their thermostats no higher than 68 degrees. Every degree above a 68-degree setting can add 3 percent to 5 percent to the heating bill, according to the Moncks Corner-based utility."

Columbia Regional Business Report | Columbia, SC

"W2E Columbia LLC last week received a solid waste permit from the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, paving the way for the construction of a $12 million anaerobic digestion facility at the corner of Shop and Beltline roads.

Anaerobic digestion is a processes in which microorganisms break down biodegradable material in the absence of oxygen. The process is used for industrial or domestic purposes to manage waste and/or to release energy."

Comcast/NBCU Expected To Gain Approval This Week - 2011-01-17 16:41:11 | Multichannel News

"Look for the Federal Communications Commission to get the Comcast/NBCU deal done by week's end.
That is according to several FCC staffers, one of whom also confirmed reports that Comcast chairman Brian Roberts paid a visit to the agency last week.

It was a busy week as public-interest groups and other deal critics pressed Democratic Commissioners Michael Copps and Mignon Clyburn for help with various conditions. The commissioners have been vetting the chairman's draft approval, which was circulated just before Christmas."

Year of the green megadeal? | Giles Parkinson | Commentary | Business Spectator

"Duke plans to retire 10GW of coal capacity in coming years, and some commentators in the US, such as Foreign Policy’s Steve Levine, say its emergence as the largest utility will allow it greater say in US political debates and would be a further blow, he says, to “Big Coal”."

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