Coal Industry’s Difficulties Prove a Windfall for Lawyers and Financial Types

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Taylor Kuykendall for SNL:The prolonged decline in global coal prices has sent a number of major producers into bankruptcy, costing equity investors, lenders and suppliers billions. But for those firms overseeing producers’ reorganization efforts, the fallout has proven lucrative. According to S&P Capital IQ data, the six largest coal company bankruptcies since 2012 have spent at least $117.0 million for legal and financial advice on their reorganizations. That total does not account for the rest of the full list of about 50 coal company bankruptcies filed since 2012.The $117.0 million figure, by comparison, is larger than the market capitalization of coal miner Rhino Resource Partners LP and approaching the approximately $135 million market cap of Westmoreland Coal Co.Once considered a rising star in the U.S. coal industry, Illinois Basin producer Foresight Energy LP’s entire market value is less than two and a half times higher than the amount spent in those bankruptcies. Foresight may have come close to a bankruptcy filing itself recently, even filing a going concern notice during prolonged and frequently delayed negotiations with bondholders.Alpha Natural Resources Inc. appears to be the most expensive bankruptcy so far. The company has reported $28.4 million in bankruptcy adviser fees. Coming in at a very close second is Walter Energy Inc., also reporting bankruptcy professional fees of that magnitude.Peabody Energy Corp., reports it has already been billed for $27.5 million in bankruptcy advisory fees though it has just begun the bankruptcy process.Arch Coal Inc. has reportedly been billed $18.5 million in bankruptcy advisory fees. Patriot Coal Corp. reported it was billed $3.3 million in adviser fees for its first bankruptcy in 2012, only to be forced to spend another $10.9 million on a second bankruptcy just a few months later.Full article ($): Top coal bankruptcies spawn $117M market for financial, legal advisers Coal Industry’s Difficulties Prove a Windfall for Lawyers and Financial Typeslast_img read more

Would-Be New Mining Giant Is in Financial Peril

first_imgWould-Be New Mining Giant Is in Financial Peril FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Guardian:Profits of Adani Enterprises – the company in Adani Group’s complex structure that owns the proposed Carmichael coalmine – have collapsed almost 50% year-on-year, according to a half-yearly report released this week which does not mention the mine.The results further show the company is in financial distress, according to Tim Buckley from the Institute of Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, who says they also reveal the company can’t walk away from the unviable Carmichael project without descending further into financial distress.The Carmichael coalmine, which would be the largest ever built in Australia, has struggled to find financing for either the mine itself or the associated infrastructure such as the rail line that would transport coal to an export terminal on the Great Barrier Reef.Every major Australian bank has said it will not be involved in the project, and the company has been seeking subsidised government finance from the Australian government and possibly also from China.“If they tried to exit the project now, they would either have to write it off or find someone willing to buy it,” said Buckley.If the project was written off or sold for significantly less than its current book value of US$1.15bn, the company would find it increasingly hard to finance its many other projects around the region, said Buckley.Currently, the Adani Enterprises Limited – which is the only publicly listed company in the Adani Group – has a book value of just under US$2.3bn. Meanwhile, its latest report shows its debt has risen by almost US$400m to US$3.83bn.Buckley said if Carmichael were written off or sold for very little, that would remove US$1.15bn from the company’s book value, leaving it with debt worth more than three times the value of the company itself.And without the Carmichael mine, the Abbot point coal terminal’s viability would be threatened, leaving an even bigger hole in the group’s finances, other work by Buckley has suggested.Buckley said the Carmichael mine isn’t specifically discussed in the half-yearly report, despite the project representing about half the company’s value.“It is very telling to us that the 16-page interim report makes absolutely no mention of Carmichael coal proposal, notwithstanding the Australian Adani Mining Pty Ltd management repeatedly claiming the group is just four months from reaching financial close of a much delayed, multi-billion dollar investment program,” Buckley wrote in a briefing note.He said the omission may simply be a way of the company avoiding advertising something that is “embarrassing and financially costly”.Meanwhile, the company reported remarkable achievements in its renewable energy business in India. Within three years, it has built the nation’s second-largest renewable energy business, Buckley said.More: Profits of Adani’s Carmichael mine company tumble, leaving it in financial perillast_img read more

Analysts skeptical of Trump’s latest play to save coal

first_imgAnalysts skeptical of Trump’s latest play to save coal FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Bloomberg:The Trump administration is trying to remove a key barrier to constructing new coal-fired power plants in the U.S. — but don’t expect any utilities to actually build them.The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday proposed easing Obama-era limits on carbon dioxide emissions from new and modified coal power plants, including a change that would remove a de facto requirement to use expensive carbon-capture technology at the sites. The carbon-capture requirement EPA is proposing to eliminate is one obstacle to building coal power plants, though economic and market realities have created much higher hurdles that analysts say will endure no matter what the Trump administration does. “We don’t see the EPA’s rollback of carbon capture technology and storage requirements sparking any new coal plant openings in the foreseeable future,” said Toby Shea, vice president at Moody’s Investors Service. “Existing coal plants are being challenged by low-cost natural gas and renewables, and an easing of regulations won’t change that.”The Trump administration appears to agree. In an economic analysis of its proposal, the EPA asserts that the move isn’t expected to result in significantly more carbon dioxide emissions — largely because it expects “few new” coal-fired electric generating units “due to expected economic conditions. The technology of choice for new generation is not expected to be coal-fired units due to current and projected market conditions,” the analysis said.Under President Donald Trump, the U.S. government has already advanced policy changes designed to make coal cheaper to mine and more attractive to burn for electricity. But coal use has continued to fall as other environmental regulations and economics have encouraged utilities to embrace less expensive natural gas, wind and solar. Since 2010, power plant owners have either closed or announced plans to close at least 630 coal plants in 43 states — nearly 40 percent of the U.S. coal fleet, according to data by the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, a trade group representing utility Southern Co., miner Peabody Energy Corp., and other companies.“It’s doubtful the proposed policy change will make much of a difference to any potential coal power plant developers,” said Rob Barnett, an analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence. “The economics of building a new coal plant just don’t make sense given the availability of abundant and cheap natural gas” that’s helped make new coal plants “among the most expensive electricity options at this point.”More: Trump lifting hurdle to coal plants no one wants to clearlast_img read more

Energy storage set to enter the big time in 2019, analysts say

first_imgEnergy storage set to enter the big time in 2019, analysts say FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):By most measures, 2018 was a long-anticipated breakout year for batteries, with record volumes of investment flowing into research, product development and manufacturing as prices plummeted, governments established new policies supporting energy storage and mass markets emerged for electric vehicles and electrochemical energy storage.That progress, though uneven across U.S. and international markets, sets the stage for a new era for energy storage in 2019 and beyond, industry analysts said.While growth faltered in some regions in 2018, global annual energy storage additions more than doubled, to 9 GWh, and are on pace to surge another 78% in 2019, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. U.S. energy storage deployments, on a rated-power basis, jumped 57% to an estimated 338 MW in 2018 following three years of flat to negative growth, Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables estimates, while order backlogs point to annual additions of roughly 660 MW in 2019, 1,700 MW in 2020 and more than 3,850 MW by 2023.In the United States, the development pipeline for utility-scale projects doubled in 2018 to about 33 GW, according to a recent report from Wood Mackenzie and the Energy Storage Association. Even that estimate may be low. Roughly 25 GW was in the California Independent System Operator Corp.’s interconnection queue as of Dec. 14, including nearly 6,000 MW hybridized with solar, more than twice the amount listed midway through the year. More than 10,000 MW, or 10 GW, are in the interconnection queues of other grid operators around the country.“I can beat a gas peaker anywhere in the country today with a solar-plus-storage power plant,” Tom Buttgenbach, president and CEO of developer 8minutenergy Renewables LLC, said in an interview. “Who in their right mind today would build a new gas peaker? We are a factor of two cheaper.”More ($): Amid global battery boom, 2019 marks new era for energy storagelast_img read more

Financial reports show PRB coal production to fall again this year

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Casper Star Tribune:Wyoming’s largest coal mines are likely to make more cuts to production in 2019, financial reports show.Peabody Energy, which operates the North Antelope Rochelle, Rawhide and Caballo mines in Wyoming, is dropping its midrange production expectations by about 10 million short tons, according to the firms’ most recent earnings report. Arch Coal, the owner of Black Thunder and Coal Creek in Wyoming, is reporting mid-range guidance of about 5 million short tons less than last year, according to financial reports. Arch also cut production at Black Thunder outside Wright last year by 10 million tons.The firms are responding to a tougher market for coal, one that’s narrowed year by year as coal plants that buy the Powder River Basin coal have shuttered. They are also reacting to declining margins – the amount of money they are making for every ton of coal excavated from the Wyoming soil.Peabody’s per ton margin for its Powder River Basin mines went from $2.97 in 2017 to $2.37 last year and a projected $1.70 for 2019, based on midpoint guidance. Arch’s fell as well, from $1.96 in 2017 to $1.10 projected for this year. Cloud Peak’s margins have fallen dramatically in recent years, from $2.30 per short ton in 2017 to just 92 cents last year.Meanwhile, Blackjewel, the firm that acquired the Eagle Butte and Belle Ayr mines from Contura Energy in 2017, failed to make its most recent tax payment to Campbell County. The county reported that the company had approached officials ahead of their delinquencies seeking a payment plan. Currently, the mine’s permits are held by the mines’ former owner, Contura. The company was delayed by more than a year in providing proof of bonding for reclamation. Now the transfer of permits has been protested by environmental groups given the company’s environmental history in other states and the value it’s reported for ranch property held as collateral.More: Wyoming large coal mines likely to drop production this year Financial reports show PRB coal production to fall again this yearlast_img read more

German developer plans to build 800MW of unsubsidized solar in Italy

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享PV Magazine:German solar project developer Solar-Konzept is planning several unsubsidized solar parks with a total generation capacity of 800 MW across the southern Italian regions of Apulia and Basilicata. Managing director Nikolaus von Einem told pv magazine land and grid connection approvals were already secured for all the projects.“All of these projects are currently being reviewed for environmental impact assessment and a final decision should be taken in early 2020,” said Von Einem. “We hope to obtain final authorizations by the end of 2020 and build the power plants between 2021 and 2022.” Total investment for the facilities is estimated at around €180 million.Solar-Konzept has applied for environmental impact assessments related to three 20 MW solar parks near Melfi, in neighboring Basilicata, and a 20 MW facility near Taranto in Apulia plus, by Christmas, “another 140 MW, set to be located between the Apulian provinces of Foggia, Bari and Taranto” added the developer’s MD. On top of that, the company is planning further projects to take its projected pipeline to 800 MW.“All our projects are built without subsidies and we will have to look for a PPA [power purchase agreement],” said Von Einem. “The first indicative talks are under way but the project phase does not allow for more serious talks at the moment.”The executive admitted there is extensive opposition to new solar capacity in Apulia, and particularly in Brindisi. Von Einem said farmers were dealing with the xylella fastidiosa bacterium which has killed more than a million trees in the region but that the regional government also plans to close Apulia’s only coal plant, the 2,640 MW Federico II facility near Brindisi, by 2025.“Apulia actually needs new power generation units,” said Von Einem, adding all of Solar-Konzept’s planned projects intend to host newly planted Mediterranean forest on around 25% of their footprint, in line with guidelines published by the province of Brindisi in August.More: Solar-Konzept planning 800 MW of unsubsidized solar in southern Italy German developer plans to build 800MW of unsubsidized solar in Italylast_img read more

U.S. installed 9.1GW of new wind in 2019, total capacity now tops 105GW—AWEA

first_imgU.S. installed 9.1GW of new wind in 2019, total capacity now tops 105GW—AWEA FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Windpower Engineering & Development:The [U.S.] wind industry experienced its third strongest year on record in 2019 as project developers added 9,143 MW of wind power capacity to the grid. On the heels of this activity, another 44,000 MW of wind projects – representing over $62 billion in investment – are either under construction or in advanced development. Utilities and businesses also set a new record in 2019, announcing 8,726 MW in new PPAs. And East Coast states continue to drive demand for offshore wind energy with 16 GW in new offshore wind targets pledged in 2019 — more than doubling previous state targets. These findings and the latest industry data are highlighted in the newly released U.S. Wind Industry Fourth Quarter 2019 Market Report by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).“The demand and growth of U.S. wind energy can’t be understated,” said AWEA CEO Tom Kiernan. “Today, there are nearly 60,000 wind turbines spinning across 41 states powering the equivalent of over 32 million American homes. Demand for wind energy is greater than ever as evidenced by corporations and utilities signing contracts in record numbers. Nearly 200 projects are underway in 33 states from the wind belt in America’s heartland to the booming offshore wind market, where visionary leaders are leveraging the affordable, clean energy that wind provides.”The fourth quarter of 2019 saw significant growth as developers installed 35 new wind projects totaling 5,476 MW in 16 states. Texas led installations for the quarter with 1,808 MW, followed by Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota and Illinois. In total, the industry commissioned 9,143 MW of wind power capacity in 2019. There are now 105,583 MW of operating wind capacity in the United States, with more than 56,800 wind turbines operating across 41 states. Texas and Iowa set individual records for annual wind power additions, with Texas adding nearly 4 GW of new wind projects and Iowa adding 1.7 GW. These two states led all others in 2019.In the offshore market, East Coast states continued to demonstrate their commitment to offshore wind power. Six states announced 16,300 MW of new offshore wind targets in 2019 alone, more than doubling total state targets to 25,000 MW. The latest announcement came from Governor Murphy of New Jersey increasing the state’s offshore wind target to 7,500 MW by 2035.States also moved forward with offshore wind project selection. In the fourth quarter, Massachusetts selected the 804-MW Mayflower Wind project, while Connecticut selected the 804-MW Park City Wind project. Further South, New York signed contracts with two projects: Ørsted and Eversource’s 880-MW Sunrise Wind project and Equinor’s 816-MW Empire Wind project. With these announcements, states have selected a total of 6,297 MW in offshore wind projects. Offshore wind farms now represent 17% of the overall wind development pipeline.More: 2019 was the U.S. wind industry’s third strongest installation yearlast_img read more

Iberdrola CEO promises sharp increase in renewable investments post-pandemic

first_imgIberdrola CEO promises sharp increase in renewable investments post-pandemic FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:Spanish power group Iberdrola, one of the world’s largest investors in clean-energy projects, pledged to ramp up its investments in spite of the coronavirus pandemic.Iberdrola’s total investments in 2020 will hit €10 billion ($10.7 billion), up from €8.15 billion last year, as it barrels ahead with its 9-gigawatt portfolio of projects under construction, half of that capacity due for completion before the year’s end.Speaking at the company’s annual general meeting on Thursday (held remotely), CEO Ignacio Galán offered a glimpse of Iberdrola’s post-pandemic strategy. “As soon as possible, we will speed up our investments in order to contribute to economic activity and prevent…jobs from being lost,” Galán said. “Speeding up investments, once these exceptional circumstances come to an end, is the best — I would venture to say the only — way to get through this situation of crisis and uncertainty. Therefore, in 2020, it is our intention to surpass last year’s investment record and reach €10 billion.”Globally, Iberdrola is currently building 30 solar plants, 50 onshore wind farms and new offshore wind farms in France (Saint-Brieuc), Germany (Baltic Eagle) and the U.S. (Vineyard). Earlier this week, Iberdrola also committed to building up its floating offshore wind investment program.Iberdrola’s renewables investment drive will help “turbo-charge” economies as countries recover from the coronavirus pandemic, Galán said. “In the last few days, we’ve brought forward over €3.8 billion in orders to thousands of suppliers, with purchases in progress for delivery by 2023 standing at more than €20 billion.”[John Parnell]More: Iberdrola plots post-lockdown renewables investment spreelast_img read more

Minnesota’s Great River Energy to replace 1,151MW Coal Creek plant with wind power

first_imgMinnesota’s Great River Energy to replace 1,151MW Coal Creek plant with wind power FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Minneapolis Star Tribune:Great River Energy now has agreements with five wind farms to provide power to help compensate for the planned closure of its massive coal plant in North Dakota by 2023. Maple Grove-based Great River, the state’s second largest electricity producer, this week announced three new wind power purchase agreements, mostly in Minnesota. A fourth was unveiled last month, and a fifth was signed in 2019.“These projects will produce emission-free energy, lower electric rates and provide a much-needed boost as Minnesota’s economy recovers from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Great River CEO David Saggau said in a press statement.In May, Great River announced it would close its 1,151-megawatt Coal Creek Station near Underwood, N.D., the company’s primary source of electricity for the past 40 years and one of the Upper Midwest’s largest power plants.After Coal Creek closes, Great River expects that two-thirds of its electricity will come from wind turbines.The three projects unveiled this week are the 170-megawatt Dodge County Wind in Dodge and Steele counties; 280-megawatt Three Waters Wind in Jackson County, Minn., and Osceola and Dickinson counties in Iowa; and 150-megawatt Timberwolf Wind in Fillmore County. Last year, Great River signed onto a fourth Minnesota project, the 109-megawatt Buffalo Ridge Wind in Lincoln County.Florida-based NextEra Energy Resources will develop and own those four wind farms, investing $882 million. Great River, a wholesale electricity cooperative, has signed power purchase agreements of at least 25 years for the four projects.[Mike Hughlett]More: Great River announces Minnesota wind farm projects to replace coal plant powerlast_img read more

Hiking Class

first_imgMike Miller’s students hike around the school campus in a simulated cross-country trek.It sounds like a simple thing—put on a backpack and walk once around a track—but Mike Miller’s hiking challenge is an innovative approach to cross-curriculum education that keeps physical education relevant. Students in his P.E. class at Virginia’s Shawsville Middle School strapped on 25-pound backpacks and performed hiking time trials on two 400-meter courses in order to help simulate a hike across America.Over the course of a week, 30 students between the ages of 11 and 14 took turns walking 400 meters around a track, then 400 meters up a steep hill while carrying weighted backpacks. The courses were designed to mimic the flat land of the Midwest and the mountainous terrain of the Appalachians and Rockies. Miller then plotted a route on a map from Virginia to San Francisco and used the time trial data to chart the course of the students on their simulated hike across the country.Teachers of core curriculum subjects like math and science at the school are integrating the hiking project into their lesson plans. In social studies class, students learned about the history of each state they hiked through along the way. In science class, they used a caloric chart and planned a week’s worth of meals based on their speed of travel and calories burned. And in English class, the students wrote essays discussing the various elements of the hike.While the cross-curriculum lessons were a valuable way for the kids to practice elements of core subjects, Miller is most excited about the project’s potential to introduce these kids to the outdoors.“Most of these kids have never been hiking,” says Miller. “A lot of these kids won’t even make it through our regular physical education tests. They just quit. But those same kids did really well in this hiking test, and they seemed to really enjoy it. Outdoor recreation has some excitement factor for these kids.”Miller plans to use this initial hiking project as a springboard for introducing more adventure-based sports into his P.E. curriculum, such as incorporating outdoor recreation into existing fitness stations, bringing orienteering projects onto campus, planning field trips, and working with local landowners and county parks to create small trail systems the kids could use.“Several kids asked if we could keep doing the hiking challenge, and some are asking about where they can go hiking on their own,” Miller says. “I’m hoping this project will spark a brand new outdoor recreation program at our school. Anything I can do to get these kids hooked on outdoor activity, I’m willing to do it.”Did you know? P.E. Makes You SmarterA new Center for Disease Control report shows physical activity in schools has positive effects on grades and test scores.The report analyzed studies over the last 25 years from all 50 states. While states and individual schools are dropping P.E. to concentrate on meeting testing standards, the report concludes schools should actually increase physical education to raise test scores.The majority of studies showed school-based activity programs increased students’ grades, test scores, and academic behavior.last_img read more