Morning Brief: Duke, Dominion abandon pipeline, Berkshire Hathaway buys $10B of gas assets from Dominion


Duke Energy, Dominion abandon the $8 billion Atlantic Coast Pipeline: Dominion Energy and Duke Energy are canceling the project because of continuing court delays likely to drive the price tag higher. And Dominion is getting out of the gas transmission business with a sale of assets to Berkshire Hathway. The two energy companies behind the controversial 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline on Sunday abandoned their six-year bid to build it, saying the project has become too costly and the regulatory environment too uncertain to justify further investment. The natural-gas pipeline would have tunneled under the Appalachian Trail on its way from West Virginia through Virginia and into North Carolina. The abrupt abandonment sparked jubilation among environmental and community groups who had fought the pipeline all along its path, which included some of the most scenic and rugged terrain in Virginia. Source: Charlotte Business Journal, The Washington Post

Berkshire Hathaway said that it’s acquiring nearly $10 billion of natural-gas assets and associated debt from Dominion Energy. This is Berkshire’s biggest acquisition since 2015, yet it’s small by Berkshire standards — a relatively low-risk deal in the midst of a recession that’s set to change the outlook for some industries for good. Even though Buffett recently signaled little appetite to make any big bets so long as the end of Covid-19 remains entirely unknown, energy is one area where he’s been poised to make smaller, opportunistic purchases. The Dominion deal hands Berkshire more than 7,700 miles of gas pipelines and 900 billion cubic feet of gas storage. Source: Bloomberg

Catching the thermal runaway: Testing safety of energy storage systems. Over the course of the last 12 months, more than 20 energy storage systems in Korea have caught fire, and in April last year, a 2 MW battery array in Arizona caught fire and eventually exploded. “Once a Li-ion BESS goes into thermal runaway you cannot stop it [in that cell] –your goal is to try to stop the propagation of heat and thermal runaway to adjoining cells,” explains retired NYC firefighter Paul Rogers. Source: Power Engineering

Tepco to reuse Chinese EV batteries for energy storage: Japanese utility Tokyo Electric Power Holdings will launch a storage battery business utilizing used electric-vehicle batteries from China, Nikkei has learned. The plan is to assemble used batteries into a containerized energy storage system to assist renewable-energy plants.  Source: Nikkei

It’s the beginning of the end for the era of mega-dam building in China. China’s hydro industry is down-shifting toward smaller projects and pumped storage. Engineers have run out of the easiest locations to power massive sets of turbines and the falling cost of rival energy sources such as solar mean it isn’t worth moving on to more challenging locations.  Source: EVWind

Ann Arbor’s new A2Zero plan to confront climate change calls for creating five “resilience hubs” around the city. City officials announced plans to install a 23.53-kW solar array and two lithium-ion storage batteries at the Northside Community Center off Pontiac Trail this summer, laying the foundation for it to become the city’s first resilience hub. “Communities of concern are often the most impacted by the effects of the climate crisis and environmental racism, and we’re thrilled to see Ann Arbor prioritizing this resilience center project and striving for climate justice.”  Source: Mlive

Indiana regulators rule utilities can’t charge consumers for lost revenue during pandemicSource: Indianapolis Business Journal

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