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Daily Energy News

Companies

The North Carolina Utilities Commission (United States) has approved the takeover of SCANA by the US energy utility Dominion Energy, the sixth of the seven required approvals to close the acquisition. So far, the transaction has received approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the Georgia Public Service Commission, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, SCANA shareholders and only remains contingent upon clearance from the Public Service Commission of South Carolina, whose decision is expected by the end of December 2018.

US-based power company Entergy will shut down two large coal-fired power plants totalling 3.6 GW along with one gas-fired facility in Arkansas by 2030, as part of a settlement with environmental groups that sued the utility in federal court for alleged violations of the Clean Air Act (CAA).

Policy & Regulatory

In light of recent market conditions, the United Kingdom Crown Estate has proposed to raise the offshore wind capacity offered under the framework of the upcoming Round 4 offshore wind leasing from 6 GW to 7 GW. It has also unveiled further details on the leasing round, including the possible locations to be offered for new seabed rights in undeveloped areas. The update includes a refinement of the available regions within which interested project developers would have the opportunity to identify and propose sites for future wind parks.

The Slovak government plans to end subsidies for domestic coal mining operations by 2023 and expects to submit an action plan shortly. So far, approximately €100m are spent every year to support ongoing operations at the country's only coal company, privately-owned Hornonitrianske Bane Prievidza (HBP). In 2017, the company produced 1.8 Mt of lignite, most of which were supplying the 266 MW Novaky coal-fired power plant in Zemianske Kostolany.

The German federal energy regulator BNetzA (Bundesnetzagentur) has published the results of the second dual bidding round for onshore wind and solar power projects. Bids were capped at €8.75c/kWh for both technologies (versus €8.84c/kWh in the previous dual auction) and the average bidding price stood at €5.27c/kWh (€4.67c/kWh in the latest auction). The lowest bid was €4.65/kWh and the highest reached €5.79c/kWh. 36 bids were selected for a total available amount of 201 MW and only solar projects eventually qualified.

Energy Markets

Bangladesh expects to resume LNG imports shortly after solving issues with its sole floating storage and regasification (FSRU) unit in Moheshkhali (Cox’s Bazar), in the bay of Bengal in southeast Bangladesh. Several cargoes that were previously cancelled have been scheduled for delivery. The terminal was closed due to problems with a hydraulic line that operates an emergency shutdown valve.

State-held China National Coal Group Corporation (ChinaCoal) has signed medium- to long-term supply agreement with six centrally-administered state-run power utilities, namely: Datang Group, Huadian Group, China Resources Power Holdings, Huaneng Group, State Power Investment Corp and SDIC Power Group. Roughly 500 Mt of coal will be supplied between 2019 and 2023. As per the contract, coal deliveries will amount 97 Mt for 2019 and then gradually increase over the years.

Infrastructure & Investments

Russian state-held oil and gas company Gazprom and its construction operator Allseas Group have completed the construction of the offshore section of the TurkStream gas pipeline project in the Black Sea. The construction of the Turkish-Russian interconnection project is now entering its final stage and the commissioning is currently scheduled for late 2019.

French copper and optical fiber cable manufacturer Nexans will supply over 200 km of the 245 kV high voltage alternating current (HVAC) subsea export cable system for Ørsted's 1.4 GW Hornsea-2 offshore wind power project, located off the Yorkshire coast of the United Kingdom. The circuits will be deployed using a similar route to Hornsea-1, for which Nexans has earlier delivered 139 km of three-phase 36 kV subsea cable connecting a total of 58 wind turbines to the offshore transformer station.

Moroccan and Portuguese authorities will invite bidders for the construction of a 1,000 MW subsea power interconnection project immediately after the completion of the preliminary technical studies in early 2019. The power line will spread across 250 km and will be built to foster the development of renewable energy based power production in the two countries.