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U.S. Department of Energy Announces First Awards under Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program

LCG, October 16, 2020--The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) this week announced it has selected two U.S.-based teams to receive $160 million in initial funding under the new Advanced Reactor Demonstration Program (ARDP).

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PSEG Files Application to Extend Zero Emission Certificates (ZECs) for New Jersey's Carbon-Free Nuclear Power Facilities

LCG, October 2, 2020--PSEG yesterday filed applications to extend Zero Emission Certificates (ZECs) for the Salem and Hope Creek nuclear power plants in Salem County in order to preserve New Jersey's largest carbon-free source of electricity and to help New Jersey achieve its clean energy goal of 100 percent carbon-free energy supply by 2050.

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Industry News

Dynegy Settles Case Charging Manipulation of Gas Market

LCG, December, 2002--A $5 million settlement was reached in a case brought by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) against Dynegy Inc. and a joint venture it co-owned with NRG Energy Inc., over what the federal agency said were fabricated natural gas trades.

The fictional trades cited by the CFTC were allegedly submitted to a company or companies compiling natural gas price indexes in order to drive prices up. If the apparent attempt to manipulate the indexes had been successful, it could have led to higher power prices. The trades as reported indicated that West Coast Power, the joint venture, was a counter party. West Coast Power owns three power plants divested by San Diego Gas & Electric Co. and Southern California Edison Co. Gas was supplied to the plants by Dynegy, which also marketed their output. NRG was responsible for their operation.

A spokesman for the CFTC said that the agency's investigation would likely lead to further information that could affect other cases. According to a spokeswoman for NRG, Meredith Moore, Dynegy was making the $5 million payment, and did not communicate with NRG about the fact that a settlement was being approached. The settlement does not include any admission or denial of wrongdoing.

The General Accounting Office, Congress' investigative and research arm, released a report yesterday that concluded that the ability of three federal agencies, including the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the CFTC, and the Energy Information Administration, a unit of the Department of Energy, were not equipped to oversee competitive, open natural gas markets.

The report's authors found that the FERC's legal authority has not been updated in recognition of the deregulation of natural gas markets, and that it "lacks assurances that wholesale natural gas prices are just and reasonable," the report said. The CFTC found that while CFTC is able to investigate trading practices, it lacks oversight of energy derivatives sold over-the-counter. The report noted some initiatives that have been undertaken by the FERC and EIA respectively to bolster their market oversight resources and to determine what information could be made available to encourage an open market.
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