Duke Energy Corp. DUK recently unveiled its long-term investment plan along with increasing its current five-year capital target and clean energy projections at the company’s inaugural environmental, social and governance (ESG) day. This comes at a high time when a handful of Utilities across the board are steadily ramping up their carbon-dioxide (CO2) emission reduction goals.

The company now forecasts that its current five-year capital plan will increase by about $2 billion to approximately $58 billion.

Details of the Long-Term Plan

Duke Energy’s recently-announced plan includes acceleration of coal plant retirements in addition to the 50 coal units with capacity worth more than 6,500 megawatts (MW), which it already retired since 2010. The company aims to retire all coal-only units in the Carolinas and reduce methane emissions in its natural gas business to netzero by 2030.

In terms of promoting clean energy, the company now targets to bring its regulated renewable capacity total to 40 gigawatts (GW) by 2050.It also aims to add more than 11,000 MW of energy storage to its system by 2050.

For such clean energy expansion, Duke Energy aims to spend capital in the range of $65-$75 billion during the 2025-2029 period. Such clean energy transition will enable the company to increase its earnings at the upper end of its current long-term adjusted EPS growth rate of 4-6% through 2024.

Factors Driving Decarbonization

In the United States, most utilities significantly lowered their CO2 emissions since 2005. This was possible owing to sustained low natural gas prices and declining costs for renewable generation alongside technological innovations that promoted energy storage.

Also, improvements in power plant efficiency and shifts in investments towards clean energy within the power sector have been boosting decarbonization for a while now. Further, state energy policies like renewable standard portfolio as well as subsidies

Energy Transfer (ET) units have long been weighed down by several concerns. Now there appears to be a “piling on” by the environmental crowd and other challenges as well as a long overdue transition near the top to accommodate a very different market environment. A quick solution to the company problems is very unlikely because large companies tend to change very slowly. Therefore a model along the lines of Kinder Morgan (KMI) that I have covered in separate articles appears appropriate. That would mean that “righting the ship” would take several years as Kinder Morgan spent several years repaying debt after cutting the dividend while selling some divisions and exiting Canada.

The market appears to be “piling on” concerns while Energy Transfer attempts to find a satisfactory strategy for the future. One of these concerns is the attempted discounting to fill pipelines. Even though the business is based upon long term contracts, the market worries over a temporary lull in demand. Yet that lull would have to exist for a few years to have a material long term effect on the business.

Another worry in the “piling on” would be the attempt by Chesapeake Energy (OTCPK:CHKAQ) to cancel the contract it has with Energy Transfer. Chesapeake has made that request in bankruptcy court. Generally such a legal move begins a series of bargaining sessions that would result in a new contract closer to current market pricing. Nonetheless, should Chesapeake Energy want out of a contract that it can prove is onerous, then bankruptcy court is the place for that proposal. Even should the worst happen, the cost to Energy Transfer appears to be at most $300 million.

Contrarian investing is certainly a possible strategy for this company as Energy Transfer debt is investment grade and the company is unlikely to

(Reuters) – Goldman Sachs said the outcome of U.S. elections would not impact its bullish oil and natural gas outlook and that an overwhelming Democratic victory could be a positive catalyst for these sectors.

Goldman reiterated its bullish 2021 view for both natural gas and oil, saying drivers for higher prices supersede the potential outcomes of the U.S. election.

“The recent gyration in oil prices, rallying on days of higher expected stimulus and weakening dollar, suggest that a Biden election and blue sweep could in fact prove a bullish catalyst for oil,” the bank said, adding that natural gas prices could rally too.

Opinion polls show presidential candidate Joe Biden with a substantial lead over President Donald Trump nationally, although with a narrower advantage in some of the states that may decide the Nov. 3 election.

Headwinds to U.S. oil and gas production would rise further under a Biden administration, with the potential for regulations raising the cost of shale production and reducing recoverable shale resources, Goldman added.

Biden’s climate priorities also point to a faster deployment of renewable sources of energy than currently expected, Goldman said, adding such an agenda would require new infrastructure, which alongside a likely large initial fiscal stimulus, would lead to higher oil demand in coming years.

(Reporting by Nakul Iyer and Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru. Editing by Gerry Doyle)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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(Bloomberg) — EVE Energy Co., a Chinese producer of lithium-ion batteries for electric cars to earphones, is considering plans to step up purchases of key metals amid signs prices could soon rise from recent lows.

Huizhou, Guangdong-based EVE, which has pacts with automakers including Daimler AG, has seen tentative signals of a recovery in lithium and cobalt prices in China, meaning there’d be an advantage to lock in additional supplies now, Chairman Liu Jincheng said in a phone interview.

“We are seriously considering whether we can buy more while they are cheap now,” Liu said, adding that forecasts on the price outlook remain difficult.



chart: Prices of some battery materials are steadying after long declines


© Bloomberg
Prices of some battery materials are steadying after long declines

The producer is weighing its metal purchasing plans as it seeks to expand output and narrow the gap on the world’s top battery makers. EVE Energy is the fifth largest supplier to China’s EV sector, with a 5% market share, trailing behind competitors including Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd. and BYD Co., according to BloombergNEF data.

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Prices of lithium chemicals plunged from mid-2018 as producers rushed to deliver more supply, overwhelming the pace of demand gains. The materials have stabilized in recent months, though remain at about half the level of peak values, BNEF said in a report this month.

“We are expecting both Chinese domestic and seaborne lithium prices to stay flat for the next three months, and pick-up toward the end of Q4,” BNEF’s head of metals and mining Sophie Lu said by phone. Cobalt prices have recovered as Covid-19 disruptions impacted supply, and there’s potential for China’s domestic prices to rise, she said.

Video: Oil Giant’s Plan For Surging Carbon Emissions Revealed (QuickTake)

Oil Giant’s Plan For Surging Carbon Emissions Revealed

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Lithium prices are

By Erwin Seba

HOUSTON (Reuters) – U.S. energy companies were returning workers and restarting operations at storm-swept production facilities along the U.S. Gulf Coast on Sunday, two days after Hurricane Delta barreled through the area.

Chevron Corp, Royal Dutch Shell Plc and BHP Group all said workers were headed back to production platforms in the U.S.-regulated northern Gulf of Mexico.

BHP expects to complete the return of workers to its Shenzi and Neptune production platforms on Sunday, spokeswoman Judy Dane said, adding that resuming flows will depend on how quickly pipelines return to service.

It can take several days after a storm passes for energy producers to evaluate facilities for damage, return workers and restore offshore production. The companies that operate oil and gas pipelines and process the offshore output also shut ahead of the storm.

On Sunday, the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) said 91% of offshore crude oil production remains shut in the U.S.-regulated northern Gulf of Mexico following Hurricane Delta, which made landfall on Friday night.

In addition, 62.2% of natural gas output remains shut in the Gulf following the storm that made landfall near Creole, Louisiana, and weakened into a low-pressure system over Mississippi on Saturday.

Through Sunday, a cumulative total of 8.8 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude oil production and 8.3 billion cubic feet per day of natural gas output from the Gulf has been shut because of Hurricane Delta.

The area produces about 17% of total daily U.S. oil production and 5% of daily natural gas production.

Still remaining shut are the Calcasieu Waterway in Calcasieu and Cameron Parishes in Louisiana and the ports of Lake Charles and Cameron, Louisiana, near where Delta made landfall.

The ports of Beaumont and Port Arthur, Texas, including the Sabine Pass, which serve