Saturday, February 12, 2011

Scana reports increase in earnings, customers in 2010 | The Post and Courier, Charleston SC - News, Sports, Entertainment

Saturday, February 12, 2011
"The energy giant on Friday reported earnings of $376 million, or $2.99 a share, for 2010 -- up from 2009's earnings of $348 million, or $2.85 a share. Scana's primary subsidiary is South Carolina Electric & Gas.

For the first time, weather swings did not play a significant role in earnings, officials said. The utility had a weather normalization program in place for most of last year that evens out customers' bills during extreme weather and helps the utility better predict its income.

The earnings increase came despite an economically challenging year for South Carolina with its high unemployment and a stalled real estate market.

But utility officials are hopeful the recovery will continue. 'We continue to see customer growth in all areas we serve, and we're more optimistic for a sustained economic recovery,' said Jimmy Addison, senior vice president and chief financial officer.

Scana's projects its profits to grow 3 percent to 5 percent a year over the next three to five years, Addison said."

Friday, February 11, 2011

Public Utilities Commission head Ron Binz resigns - The Denver Post

By Mark Jaffe 
The Denver Post

"In the last two years, Binz, a renewable energy and consumer advocate, has drawn fire from special interests and Republican legislators.

    The Colorado Mining Association made a motion for Binz to recuse himself from ruling on Xcel Energy's plan to close Front Range coal-fired power plants to cut air pollution.
     Binz had been involved in negotiating the law that provide incentives for the closures, emails obtained by the mining association showed.
     The commission rejected the motion and in a separate lawsuit Denver District Court Judge Dennis Martin upheld Binz right to be involved in legislative negotiations."

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Duke signs partner for Lee nuke plant | Charlotte Business Journal

John Downey
Senior Staff Writer
"The municipal utility for Jacksonville, Fla., has bought an option to purchase up to one-fifth of Duke Energy’s proposed Lee Nuclear Station for about $2 billion."

SCE&G supervisor has seen changes in materials, work | The Post and Courier, Charleston SC - News, Sports, Entertainment

Thursday, February 10, 2011
"Last week, SCE&G replaced 12 shorter 70-foot wooden poles with 11 new tubular steel poles that will carry a heavier load of electricity to a substation off Lansing Drive.

This week, crews will string wire on the poles from the safety of a bucket truck.

The poles were designed to withstand 130-mph winds produced by a Category 3 hurricane.

McAnany, who worked to restore power at river crossings after Hurricane Hugo, said it wasn't the wind but debris sent into the lines that caused major outages after the storm.

Poles typically stay put, which means power can be restored more quickly.

It's been eight years since McAnany has scaled a pole."

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

New York City Moves on Using Methane for Power -

"Heating fuel can be extracted from sludge and butanol, an alternative fuel to gasoline, from the algae generated by wastewater. Sewage treatment plants could sell methane gas to provide power to homes. Such projects represent a more sustainable long-term approach to managing a wastewater treatment process that costs the city about $400 million annually, not including capital investments."

Monday, February 7, 2011

EERE News: Salazar, Chu Announce Major Offshore Wind Initiatives

"In support of this Strategic Work Plan, Secretary Chu announced today the release of three solicitations, representing up to $50.5 million over 5 years, to develop breakthrough offshore wind energy technology and to reduce specific market barriers to its deployment:"

Co-ops’ leader: Carolinas should share new reactors

By Mike Fitts
Published Feb. 7, 2011
"Couick believes that broader partnerships would be best for the utilities and for his 1.5 million co-op ratepayers. Under the model that Couick’s organization is advocating, the four new reactors should be brought online one at a time, with the first at Summer, then the second at Lee.

“I think the cooperatives’ preference is that the Carolinas hang together” to make the most cost-effective investment, Couick said."

Orlando nuclear power: Orlando might turn to South Carolina for nuclear power - South Florida

7:40 p.m. EST, January 26, 2011

Though no terms have been set, OUC could be looking at investing $500 million to $1 billion, Ksionek said. That would be one of the more significant expenditures in the history of the city-owned utility, though what it would mean for customers' electric rates is far from clear.

"This is a great opportunity for OUC economically," Ksionek said. "I like the diversification, to have 100, 150, 200 megawatts coming from up there."

One megawatt, by various estimates, can supply power to upward of 1,000 homes. OUC owns 64 megawatts' worth of power generated by existing Progress Energy Inc. and Florida Power & Light Co. nuclear plants.

The plan in South Carolina is to build a pair of 1,100-megawatt reactors at the Virgil C. Summer Nuclear Station in the center of the state, where a single reactor has already been operating for 25 years. The project is backed by investor-owned South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. and the South Carolina Public Service Authority, a state-owned utility commonly known as Santee Cooper.

OUC, an important contributor to the city of Orlando's budget, had been counting on buying a stake in a nuclear plant in Levy County for which Progress Energy Inc. is already billing customers even though the facility is yet to be licensed or built.

Top nuclear official: New reactor approvals possible this year - The Hill's E2-Wire

By Andrew Restuccia - 02/06/11 12:07 PM ET

“Potentially we could be looking at finalizing some of the design reviews in the late summer and after that there’s a few things that would have to happen for the final design approvals or the final license approvals,” Jaczko said in an interview that ran Sunday, but was taped earlier in the week. “And that could happen possibly by the end of this year.”

But Jaczko stressed that the commission will continue to focus on safety. “We can never do enough to make sure we have the right approach to safety,” he said.

House Republicans have said they plan to focus this year on streamlining the regulatory process at the NRC, arguing it is too burdensome. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) criticized the process last month

FCC's Genachowski proposes moving billions in phone fund to Internet - The Hill's Hillicon Valley

By Sara Jerome - 02/06/11 09:04 PM ET
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski will propose on Monday to migrate most government subsidies for traditional telephone service to instead fund high-speed Internet.
Genachowski will lay out his agenda for reforming the nearly $8 billion Universal Service program in a presentation at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.

City hopes to make hydro plant a tourist spot - Business -


The plan was for SCE&G to continue to operate the plant and give the city a $1 million credit on its power bill every year. SCE&G gave the city the power credit, but for many years the plant failed to generate $1 million worth of electricity. The result left the city owing SCE&G $3.2 million, a debt the city will pay back, interest-free, over the next five years.

City officials are negotiating with Lockhart Power, a small public utility company in the Upstate, to take over the plant’s operation. The company has about 13,500 customers and already operates a hydroelectric power plant. An ordinance authorizing the city manager to negotiate a lease with Lockhart has been on the City Council’s agenda twice but has been delayed both times.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Cold squeezes wallets as heating bills rise | The Post and Courier, Charleston SC - News, Sports, Entertainment

By Roddie Burris
Sunday, February 6, 2011
"A brutally cold month resulted in far higher power bills than in December. While the Cayce-based utility says there is no such thing as an average electricity bill, it said the cost of heating an older, large home with a heat pump last month would have been about 40 percent higher than in December."

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