Tag Archives: natural gas

Southern Company sells off gas assets second time this year 2018-11-07

For the second time this year, Southern Company sells off gas-fired assets. Could it be to service debt for those way-late and over-budget Plant Vogtle nukes?

Southern Company, PR, 7 November 2018, Southern Power Reaches Agreement to Sell the Mankato Energy Center,

Southern Power, a leading U.S. wholesale energy provider and subsidiary of Southern Company, today announced that it has entered an agreement to sell the Mankato Energy Center to Xcel Energy for $650 million.

Mankato, a natural gas combined-cycle generation facility, will have a maximum capacity of approximately 760 megawatts upon completion of an ongoing expansion project. The completion of the sale, subject to regulatory approval and other closing conditions, is expected to be mid-2019.

“The Mankato Energy Center is a valuable part of the local community and the regional energy infrastructure,” said Southern Power President and CEO Mark Lantrip. “This transaction is a great opportunity to deliver value for the benefit of Southern Company shareholders.”

Proceeds from this transaction will be used to strengthen the balance sheet of Southern Company and position Southern Power to continue providing clean, safe, reliable and affordable wholesale energy to its customers across the U.S, including the expansion of one of the nation’s largest carbon-free renewable energy portfolios.

What does “strengthen the balance sheet” mean? Continue reading

Southern Company Stockholder Meeting 2018-05-23

This year the Southern Company annual report says increased energy revenues were “primarily due to increases in renewable energy sales”, yet Southern Power is selling off a third interest in its solar facilities. Why? To pay off debt from its failed Big Bet on Plant Vogtle nukes, and its new Big Bet on stranded assets in natural gas pipelines. I don’t think the future lies that way, Tom Fanning, abandoning solar power and getting in bed with Sabal Trail.

When: 10AM Wednesday, May 23, 2018
9AM breakfast

Where: The Lodge Conference Center at Callaway Gardens,
4500 Southern Pine Drive, Pine Mountain, Georgia 31822

What: Southern Company Annual Stockholder Meeting

Facilities in Operation or Development as of March 20, 2018, Annual Report
Facilities in Operation or Development as of March 20, 2018, Annual Report

Why would Southern Company sell off the assets that generated the most increase in revenue? On page 46: Continue reading

A Naive Projection of the Growth of the Internet

Just as four years ago I projected solar growth ten years ahead, a quarter century ago I projected Internet growth ten years into the future:

A Naive Projection of the Growth of the Internet
Graph: A Naive Projection of the Growth of the Internet, John S. Quarterman, Matrix News 2.2, MIDS, February 1992.

From 7.7 million Internet users in 1992, I projected the exponential growth of the previous few years ahead a decade, to about 3.8 billion people in 2002.

How close was that estimate? Continue reading

FPL parent NextEra Energy admits solar and wind far better investments than pipelines 2018-01-26

Even Sabal Trail partner NextEra Energy’s earnings call has far more about record solar and wind deployment and earnings (“added $0.67 per share”) than about pipeline declining earnings (“added $0.10 per share”) and misinformation, claiming Sabal Trail is operational and on schedule when it isn’t.

Which is better, NextEra, $0.67 or $0.10 per share? Oh, wait, effectively you answered that: “As the world’s current leader in wind, solar, and storage development….”.

Solar, NextEra Energy
Solar, NextEra Energy

One sentence is NextEra’s only mention of Sabal Trail; nothing about the Sierra Club lawsuit against FERC that less than a week later saw the DC Circuit Court reject all requests for rehearing, meaning as early as next week the court may mandate shutting down Sabal Trail. NextEra company FPL is the sole remaining customer listed in Sabal Trail’s custoner index. Maybe it’s time to bail out and get on with solar power in the Sunshine State.

NextEra Energy, via Motley Fool, 26 January 2018, NEE earnings call for the period ending December 31, 2017,

CEO and Chairman James L. Robo:

Fourth, we’re advancing our renewable product offerings as we prepare for the next phase of renewable development. As a result, our prospects for new renewables growth has never been stronger. As Continue reading

The shift has come: GE, Siemens massive job losses as fossil fuels crash and the sun rises

The carbon bubble is bursting, as jobs fly from some of the biggest companies in the world, because solar and wind power are taking over right now. It’s too late to bet on the wrong nuclear horse or the wrong pipelnie snake. Get out of fossil fuels now: the sun is rising.

Tiffany Hsu and Clifford Krauss, New York Times, 7 December 2017, G.E. Cuts Jobs as It Navigates a Shifting Energy Market,

General Electric, whose new leadership is moving to eliminate bloat and grapple with the fallout from earlier, ill-timed decisions, is taking drastic steps to keep pace with seismic shifts in the global energy industry.

GE ranks first in 2017 downsizing after 12,000 more jobs: Brandon Kochkodin, Bloomberg, 7 December 2017
Brandon Kochkodin, Bloomberg, 7 December 2017, GE Ranks First in 2017 Downsizing After 12,000 More Job Cuts.

The company said on Thursday that it would cut 12,000 jobs in its power division, reducing the size of the unit’s work force by 18 percent as part of a push to compete with international rivals in a saturated natural gas market, adjust to “softening” in the oil and gas sectors and stay abreast of the growing demand for renewable energy.

Solar and wind energy technology is increasingly being deployed Continue reading

Horses to automobiles in NYC: 13 years

This is how fast energy sources can change: from all horses but one automobile in the 1900 New York Easter Parade to all automobiles but one horse in the 1913 Easter Parade.

horses in 1900
Source: U.S. National Archives

The automobile above is easier to spot than the horse below, 13 years later. Continue reading

The real worst and best cases of climate change

What do you want? The planet Venus? The current degraded Earth? Or a better world we know how to create?

What if it's a big hoax and we create a better world for nothing?
Joel Pett, Lexington Herald Leader, 18 March 2012, The cartoon seen ’round the world

Mostly I post about solar and wind power winning, which is what I think is happening. But sometimes it’s worth a reminder of what could happen if we do nothing about climate change, and I posted on my facebook page a story about that. Which actually didn’t go far enough to the real worst case. Nonetheless, that story has been attacked by numerous parties of all political and scientific and unscientific stripes for being too doom and gloom. Yet none of the attackers bothered to mention a best case beyond “the same world we have now”. I have news for you: the world we have now is an ecological catastrophe, and we can do a lot better. So here’s the real worst case, the current case, which is far from the best of all possible worlds, and the real best case, as I see it. Plus what we can do to head for the best case.

grinning fossilized skull

First, the story I posted: David Wallace-Wells, New York Magazine, 9 July 2017, The Uninhabitable Earth: Famine, economic collapse, a sun that cooks us: What climate change could wreak — sooner than you think. Notice that word “could”, which a lot of his critics seem to have ignored. He didn’t say “will”, and he clearly labeled what he was presenting as worst case scenarios.

In case anybody thinks he was making any of that stuff up, Wallace-Wells has also linked to an annotated version with footnotes for every substantial assertion. The annotated version notes at the top: Continue reading

Video: Solar panels, heck yeah! –Tom Fanning, CEO, at SO stockholder meeting 2017-05-24

Tom Fanning, our genial CEO host, said some things I’ve never heard him say before like Southern Company is “pivoting towards wind” and SO’s board soon has to decide whether to go forward with Plant Vogtle “or not” probably by August. Fanning gets the first and last word in this blog post, plus a complete transcript of what I asked and Tom Fanning’s response, along with summaries of the other questions and answers.

Well see how it develops --Tom Fanning
Please hear me! I think renewables are exceedingly important in the future.
— Tom Fanning, CEO, Southern Company

In SO’s own meeting video of the 25 May 2017 Stockholder Meeting, you can see much praise about solar power and wind and R&D and a smart grid, along with stockholders wondering: Continue reading

Southern Company Shareholder meeting: renewables more than doubled in one year 2017-05-24

While its natural gas percentage remained flat, and coal and nuclear decreased, Southern Company (SO) more than doubled its renewable energy generation percentage in one year. Maybe I’ll mention that at the annual shareholder meeting in May.

2017 Mix:
2017 Energy Mix
2016 Mix:
2016 Energy Mix

When: 10:00 a.m., ET
Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Where: The Lodge Conference Center
Callaway Gardens
4500 Southern Pine Drive
Pine Mountain, GA 31822-2593

Event: Annual Southern Company
Shareholder Meeting

Southern Company has all its SEC filings online, including Continue reading

How much solar power could Sabal Trail’s $3.2 billion buy?

The same money would buy a lot more electricity through solar power than that fracked methane pipeline could generate.

Update 2 March 2017: Added tables; fixed some typos.


Ramez Naam, his blog, 21 September 2016, New Record Low Solar Price in Abu Dhabi — Costs Plunging Faster Than Expected

Start with Sabal Trail’s numbers

Continue reading